Possession of a Controlled Substance
Possession of any drug, compound or chemical listed as a scheduled substance or penalty group substance, without a prescription is a criminal offense in Houston. Controlled substances are drugs, plants or chemicals that have been determined to have a high potential for abuse and limited or no accepted medical use.
Having any quantity of illegal drugs can be prosecuted as a criminal offense. Also, possession of a legal pharmaceutical drug without the appropriate prescription is against the law. In most areas, having drugs is itself a crime and can lead to tough legal punishments.
Texas Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance
The most common drug-related offense is simple narcotic possession. Possession simply means having a usable quantity of drugs in an amount commonly associated with personal use. For example, having a small bag of marijuana may be considered possession while having two pounds of marijuana may be a more serious offense.
According to the Texas Penal Code, some common examples of drug possession penalties include:
- Possession of less than one gram of cocaine is a felony offense, punishable by 180 days to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Possession of 1-4 grams of methamphetamine is a felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Possession of less than two ounces of marijuana can be punished with 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine
- Possession of less than one gram of ecstasy is punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine
Legal Defenses for Having Illegal Narcotics
A common method of defending against drug charges is to plead to a lesser offense. Because the law makes no distinction between drug ownership and drug possession, there is no point in arguing that the defendant didn’t purchase or use the drugs.
Instead, the Houston defense attorney could negotiate for the defendant to plead down to possession of paraphernalia rather than possession of a controlled substance. Also, the defense attorney could have the defendant agree to enroll in a drug treatment program in exchange for probation instead of jail time.