When Possession Charges Become Drug Trafficking Charges

handcuffs and a marijuana leaf on top of criminal fingerprints

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Even if you have never transported or dispersed drugs in Texas, you can still find yourself facing drug trafficking charges. Knowing the distinctions between these two charges can be enlightening, but if you find yourself facing either charge, it is time to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

There Are Several Elements Associated with Drug Trafficking Charges

When Texas officers consider drug trafficking charges, they keep the following elements in mind:

  • Possessing a large quantity of a single drug

  • Possessing large quantities of a variety of drugs

  • Not having a prescription for the drug(s) in question

  • Having weighing scales and materials for packaging drugs

  • Having a large amount of cash

  • Having a cache of weapons

The difference between possession and drug trafficking is having an amount that is clearly unreasonable for personal use. There is no set amount for being reasonable across the board. Instead, the type of drug in question dictates how much is considered reasonable.

Charges and Drug Penalty Groups

In the State of Texas, it is unlawful for anyone to knowingly manufacture, deliver, or possess an illegal drug with the intention of distributing that drug. Attendant penalties for so doing are dependent upon the type of drug and its penalty group. Texas law has four distinct penalty groups. The more addictive the drug, the lower the penalty group number, and the harsher the associated penalties. These penalty groups include:

  • Group I – Group I drugs include controlled substances such as opioids, cocaine, oxycodone, methadone, methamphetamines, and (somewhat surprisingly) marijuana, which is – by all accounts – not highly addictive.

  • Group II – Group II drugs include controlled substances such as amphetamines, ecstasy, and methaqualone.

  • Group III – Group III drugs include controlled substances such as LSD, Xanax, and Valium.

  • Group IV – Group IV drugs included controlled substances that come in mixtures or compounds that contain a specific minimum amount of a controlled substance and that have an active medical use.

Associated Penalties

Charges associated with Group III or IV and that involve less than 28 grams are state jail felonies that will earn you up to two years in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines. These charges proceed all the way up to possessing over 400 grams, which is a first-degree felony and comes with from 10 to 99 years behind bars and/or up to $100,000 in fines.

Charges associated with Group I or II and that involve less than 1 gram are state jail felonies that will earn you up to two years in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines. These charges proceed all the way up to over 400 grams of Group I, which is a life felony and comes with between 15 and 99 years behind bars and/or up to $250,000 in fines.

In other words, Texas takes drug charges very seriously, and so should you.

Facing Drug Charges? You Need an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney on Your Side

If you are facing drug charges, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a formidable criminal defense attorney who is committed to fighting for your rights and for your case's best possible resolution. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.

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