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What are the Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Texas?

By: Mark Diaz June 24, 2020 no comments

What are the Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Texas?

Drug possession is a serious offense in Texas. Under state law (Texas Controlled Substances Act, Health & Safety Code and Texas Penal Code), a conviction, and sometimes even just an arrest, for possession of a controlled substance is subject to strict criminal penalties. So, what exactly are the penalties for drug possession in Texas? The short answer is that they vary widely — with the two most important factors being what the specific substance is classified as and the amount of that substance someone is accused of being in possession of.

Texas law classifies controlled substances in one of four penalty groups. The penalty groups are numbered from 1 to 4. Generally, the severity of the substance and the criminal charge, starts at penalty group 1 and goes all the way up to penalty group 4, decreasing in severity as the penalty group increases. Nonetheless, every charge and case is unique. So, no matter which penalty group the controlled substance falls under, the consequences will be steep.

The next important factor has to do with the weight of the controlled substance. With weight, the issue is the same regardless of which group the controlled substance falls under. Texas law dictates the level of the offense based on how much of the controlled substance is at issue. As you may have guessed, the offense’s severity is dependent on how much the controlled substance weighs.

Here, our Galveston drug possession defense lawyers provide a brief overview of the penalties for possession in Texas.

Drug Possession in Texas: An Overview of the Penalty Groups

Penalty Group 1:

The drugs included in Penalty Group 1 are the most heavily regulated in Texas. Essentially, this group includes substances deemed to be the most dangerous and addictive. Some notable examples of drugs included in Penalty Group 1 are:

  • Opioids (which includes painkillers like codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone);
  • Heroin;
  • Cocaine;
  • Methamphetamine;
  • LSD; and
  • Ketamine
Weight Classification for Possession Penalty for Possession
<1G State Jail Felony 6 months to 2 years in a state jail & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
1-4G 3rd Degree Felony 2 to 10 years in. prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
4-200G 2nd Degree Felony 2 to 20 years in prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
200-400G 1st Degree Felony 5 to 99 years in prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
>400G Enhanced Felony 1 10 to 99 years in prison & fine not to exceed $100,000

Penalty Group 2:

In Texas, Penalty Group 2 drugs are slightly less dangerous than Penalty Group 1 substances. Generally, this grouping is made up of some common hallucinogenic drugs, including:

  • Ecstasy (MDMA);
  • PCP;
  • Psychedelic mushrooms; and
  • Amphetamines
Weight Classification for Possession Penalty for Possession
<1G State Jail Felony 6 months to 2 years in a state jail & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
1-4G 3rd Degree Felony 2 to 10 years in. prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
4-400G 2nd Degree Felony 2 to 20 years in prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
>400G 1st Degree Felony 5 to 99 years in prison & fine not to exceed $50,000

Penalty Group 3:

Penalty Group 3 includes many controlled substances that have a depressive or stimulant effect. For example, this grouping includes:

  • Benzodiazepines;
  • Anabolic steroids;
  • Valium; and
  • Methylphenidate (also known as Ritalin)
Weight Classification for Possession Penalty for Possession
<28G Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in county jail & a fine not to exceed $4,000
28-200G 3rd Degree Felony 2 to 10 years in. prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
200-400G 2nd Degree Felony 2 to 20 years in prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
>400G 1st Degree Felony 5 to 99 years in prison & fine not to exceed $50,000

Penalty Group 4:

Finally, Penalty Group 4 is made up of a wide range of other controlled prescription medications, which carry the potential for abuse. For instance, many opioid derivatives covered by Penalty Group 1 are included in this group.

Weight Classification for Possession Penalty for Possession
<28G Class B Misdemeanor Up to 6 months in county jail & a fine not to exceed $2,000
28-200G 3rd Degree Felony 2 to 10 years in. prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
200-400G 2nd Degree Felony 2 to 20 years in prison & possible fine not to exceed $10,000
>400G 1st Degree Felony 5 to 99 years in prison & fine not to exceed $50,000

Special Category: Marijuana

For several different reasons, marijuana is handled as its own distinct category apart from the above mentioned four penalty groups. Generally, possession of a small amount of marijuana will be charged as a misdemeanor in Texas. Please know that Texas is strict when it comes to marijuana possession. Unlike the trend being set by many other states when it comes to the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, Texas has yet to follow suit. Unlike many other jurisdictions, prosecutors still pursue criminal drug possession charges for marijuana in Texas in many cases.

Call Our Galveston, Texas Drug Possession Defense Lawyer Today

Mark A. Diaz is an experienced Texas drug possession defense attorney. If you or your family member was charged with possessing a drug/controlled substance, we are here to help. For a fully private, no obligation consultation with a top criminal defense attorney, please contact our law firm now. From our location in Galveston, we serve clients all over Southeast Texas, including in Texas City, League City, Santa Fe, Friendswood, Dickinson, Pearland and Webster.

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