There are three key types of criminal charges for drug dealing in Texas. All three of these drug-dealing charges are considered felonies, meaning they carry a prison sentence of at least one year. All drug dealing charges involve some type of controlled substance in Texas, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and morphine. If you knowingly distribute, transport, or possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute them, you can be convicted of drug-dealing in Texas. We will discuss the three different types of drug charges in Texas below.
The first type of drug dealing charge in Texas is transporting drugs. Knowingly transporting drugs in a vehicle from one location to another is illegal in Texas. When police officers find you physically moving a significant amount of illegal controlled substances from one place to another, they will arrest you for transporting drugs, which is a type of drug trafficking. Some of the best defenses to make in drug transport in cases involve constitutional challenges.
Perhaps the law enforcement officer arrested you without probable cause or searched your home without a warrant. Or, the law enforcement officer may have been mistaken about you transporting drugs from one place to another. Your criminal defense lawyer will be able to look at your case and help you build the best legal defense against transporting drug charges.
Distribution of Drugs
Another type of dealing drug charge involves drug distribution or knowingly distributing drugs between one person to another. It is a common misconception that you need to be moving the drugs in a vehicle or taking them someplace yourself to be charged with drug distribution. On the contrary, even if you simply transfer the drugs from yourself to another person in any way, you can face drug trafficking charges. Suppose you cache the drugs in your apartment and hand them to your roommate in your apartment, knowing that your roommate would sell the drugs. In that case, you will face drug distribution charges.
Drug Possession With the Intent to Distribute
Finally, knowingly possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute them to at least one other person is an illegal form of drug dealing in Texas. Suppose you are storing drugs in your apartment and you are not moving them. Nobody has come to your apartment to pick them up and sell them. Even though you are not moving the drugs anywhere, you can still face a drug dealing charge if you have a large enough amount of the controlled substance.
Penalties for Drug Dealing Felony Charges in Texas
Penalties for drug trafficking charges are based on the amount and type of drugs in your possession. Category one controlled substances are deemed to be the most dangerous types of substances. Category one drugs include:
Defendants face the following penalties for possession of category one drugs in Texas:
- Less than 1 gram – This is a felony punishable by up to 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000
- Between 1 and 3.99 grams – This is a second-degree felony punishable between two and 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000
- Between 4 and 199 grams – This is a first-degree felony charge punishable by a jail sentence between five and 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000
- Between 200 and 399 – This is a first-degree felony charge punishable between 10 years in prison and life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
- Over 400 grams – This is a first-degree felony charge punishable by 15 years to life in prison with fines of up to $250,000
The penalties for drug dealing depend on the controlled substance’s category and the amount of the controlled substance. For example, the penalties for marijuana are less severe than the penalties for cocaine because marijuana is in a different category. Additionally, defendants could face federal charges in drug trafficking cases. Federal penalties are much more serious than penalties imposed by the state of Texas. Prison sentences are higher, and fines can reach up to a million dollars.
Defenses to Drug Dealing Charges in Texas
If you have been charged with drug dealing in Texas, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer to fight your charges. The legal defense that your lawyer will use depends on the specific facts in your case. However, several legal defenses are common in drug dealing cases, including the following:
- The evidence is invalid because the police officer did not use a warrant
- The arresting officer did not follow the proper protocol
- The evidence is not relevant in your case
- The police officers incorrectly measured the amount of drugs in question
- You did not intentionally or knowingly possess, transport, or distribute the drug
- The arresting officer lacked the necessary probable cause to pull your vehicle over
Your attorney will consider all the ways to reduce your charges or get them dismissed entirely. When the prosecution builds its entire case on unconstitutionally-obtained evidence, your lawyer can ask the court to dismiss the charges against you. Being convicted of a drug-dealing charge has life-altering consequences, including jail time, fines, and community service. You could have difficulty finding housing, a job, getting a credit card, or obtaining a driver’s license. You may even lose custody of your children, and your right to possess a firearm.
Contact a Texas Drug Dealing Lawyer Today
Regardless of what happens in your case, having an attorney on your side with experience is essential. Whether you are negotiating a plea bargain or seeking to have your charges dismissed, your lawyer will advocate for the best outcome possible. If you or your loved one has been charged with drug dealing, Kenneth N. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.