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Understanding Texas Controlled Substance Laws

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

Controlled substances are much more than the street drugs many people assume. Most Texans have trouble keeping up with the growing list of controlled substances and the risk of unknowingly breaking the law. Are you up to date on Texas controlled substance laws?

It’s a common mistake to believe you understand what constitutes a controlled substance. However, Texas courts and prisons are filled with people who were caught off guard and faced devastating consequences. Ignorance of the law is no defense in Texas courts.

It’s best to understand exactly how the law views the substances or medications you or a family member may have in their possession. Knowledge is power, and knowing what may or may not land you in trouble if Texas law enforcement were to go through your pockets is useful information.

Read on and we’ll explore the laws surrounding the different types of chemicals and their severity of control.

Texas Controlled Substance Laws

When it comes to drug laws, the saying “Don’t Mess With Texas” is all too true. Texas has the highest incarceration rate in the US and the entire legal system is designed to prosecute anyone who violates the law. It’s incredibly rare to avoid conviction without experienced legal help. However, the punishments for possessing or distributing controlled substances in Texas can vary widely. It can depend on the type and amount of the substance, as well as the intent of the individual.

Texas takes a particularly strong stance on the war on drugs. There’s a no-nonsense approach to applying laws developed to impose justice on the use and sale of controlled substances.

The state has little tolerance for people who run afoul of Texas drug laws. As such, Texas lawmakers have outlined in great detail how to prosecute the possession and use of the types of controlled substances they deem unlawful.

Schedules are in place to combat the complex nature of dangerous, harmful, or addiction-forming substances. Responses are commonly based upon the substance itself, the intent behind its use and the amount of the substance in question.

There is a system of categorization, the three most common schedules cited are as follows.

Schedule 1

This category generally concerns itself with the substances you’ll be familiar with as illegal. These are the type of “hard” street drugs we’ve all heard about over the years.

Some examples of Schedule 1 drugs include LSD, PCP, and crack cocaine. If you’re found in possession of any of these drugs, you’re in serious trouble. These are typically at the top of law enforcement’s list of targeted substances and will use every tactic to get a conviction.

According to the law, each substance found in this category has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. They have no merit other than to cause addiction and destruction and are dealt with severely.

Schedule 2

These substances have accepted use in medical situations. Although they still have a high likelihood of leading to severe psychological and physical addiction.

Some examples of these include cocaine, oxycodone, morphine, and dextroamphetamine.

These substances generally fall into Penalty Group 1. Punishments for possessing these substances outside of a medical environment start at two years jail time. This can extend to a $10,000 dollar fine, growing to a life sentence if you’re caught with upwards of 400 grams.

Schedule 3

Substances falling into this category have a lower potential for abuse but still are deemed illegal for their potential to cause dependence and addiction to varying degrees. They are also considered to be safe and to have accepted use as medicine.

Some common examples are Vicodin, Demerol, oxycontin, and fentanyl.

Because of the recent opioid epidemic, many legally prescribed medications in this category were distributed widely for years to an unknowing population of patients. This disaster has created a massive increase in people addicted to these once legal medications who now find themselves trapped in a difficult situation. Virtually overnight these medications became targets of law enforcement with patients unable to find proper treatment for winding down or quitting their use. The numbers of people arrested for these substances has skyrocketed in recent years.

These prescription drugs have just as much potential for abuse and dependency as substances only available on the black market. Beyond the opioids, many are surprised to hear that possession of Viagra and Cialis can land you in trouble, too. These are prescription only, and as such are controlled substances. Without proof you obtained them lawfully, you might find yourself in serious trouble ranging from a fine of up to $50,000 and two years in jail.

Prescription limits are the amount prescribed by a doctor that covers 100 days of medication. This was recently raised from 30 due to complications from the coronavirus epidemic.

As for marijuana, Texas lags the rest of the country in legalization. Marijuana is still illegal in Texas and shows no signs of changing any time soon. Thus, growing and buying are both completely illegal in Texas for the individual. The only way consumption can be plausibly allowed within the confines of the law is through the ownership of a medical registry card. These are incredibly rare and difficult to obtain in Texas. Without one, possession is a Class B misdemeanor and anyone caught carrying marijuana faces fines and potential imprisonment for up to 180 days.

Get An Experienced Drug Defense Attorney

Obviously, a lot of this is incredibly hard to navigate without the help of someone who knows the laws of the state inside and out. Laws are complex and dealing with their minutia can be a daunting and anxiety-inducing prospect to the layman.

Thankfully, there are professionals who have devoted their lives to understanding these complexities, and even understanding exactly how these laws operate within specific areas.

Better still if you can find a local defense attorney who has significant first-hand experience of a courtroom and its proceedings. These people are hardened to the necessities of navigating the law and guiding you along with them.

Driving While Intoxicated

Texas differentiates between driving while under the influence of alcohol and while intoxicated with controlled substances. A DWI is significantly more serious as they’re charged directly under the Texas Penal Code.

Being caught driving while intoxicated is a serious offense. The first time you’re caught it’s considered a Class B misdemeanor which could include a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail.

The driver must also install and use an interlock device each time they use their car, this is a machine that ensures the car won’t start unless the driver is sober. This is mandatory for six months.

Even if a fine and jail time is somehow avoided, the punishment is more severe than it looks on paper. You have to buy the expensive monitoring equipment yourself. If you choose to give up your vehicle the costs of using taxis or UBER, for example, soon add up. Not to mention the loss of time spent in court and the potential friction from your job after being charged with a DWI.

Don’t Let Drug Charges Ruin Your Life

Texas controlled substance laws catch unknowing people by surprise everyday. Innocent people find themselves facing serious charges and fines without fully understanding what’s at stake. It’s the nature of laws that they apply whether you’re aware of them or not.

It’s important to get an experienced drug lawyer on your side as soon as possible if you’re facing charges. Regardless of the type of substance or the potential weakness of the case against you, it’s not worth risking the damage to your life. Texas courts are no place to gamble with your future when facing charges for controlled substances.

If you or a loved one are facing charges for controlled substances, talk to an experienced drug lawyer ASAP. Montgomery county drug lawyer Andrea M. Kolski has over 20 years of success fighting for the accused in Texas courts. Her record with those facing drug charges is second to none. Contact us today to discuss your situation.

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