Facing drug trafficking charges in Texas can feel very overwhelming as this is a serious offense that can come with prison time and fines. As far as the legal system in Texas goes, this is one of the more severe non-violent felonies you could get. Because of this, it is vital that you understand what these charges mean and the possible defenses you could use to fight them.
If you are facing the possibility of being charged with drug trafficking, you will need to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. At The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing the best criminal defense to protect the rights of our clients.
A Breakdown of Drug Trafficking Charges
Texas law defines drug trafficking as the sale, distribution, or importation of any illegal substance. Different factors will influence whether or not the possession or the sale of the drugs in question falls under the category of drug trafficking. Things like the schedule of the substance, as well as its weight, will be taken into consideration.
Here is an example of the four groups of substances that could fall under drug trafficking:
- Group 1: Cocaine, heroin, opium, methamphetamines, and ketamine.
- Group 2: Amphetamines, synthetic cannabis, and mushrooms.
- Group 3: Barbituric acid, peyote, codeine, hydrocodone, and anabolic steroids.
- Group 4: Narcotic drugs that have one non-narcotic medical ingredient.
Drug Trafficking Penalties
The severity of the penalties you could face for drug trafficking charges will depend on the type of substance, its weight, and the intent. However, drug trafficking charges will always come in the form of a felony, which is why it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you are in possession with intent to deliver less than 1 gram of a penalty group 1 substance, this could result in six months to two years in a state jail, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
Those in possession with intent to deliver between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 substance could face 5 to 99 years in prison along with a fine of up to $10,000. Those possessing with intent to deliver a penalty group 3 or 4 substance weighing 28 to 200 grams could face 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Possible Drug Trafficking Defenses
Those facing drug trafficking charges may hesitate to hire legal representation if they do not believe it will help them. This is because many people automatically assume that there are no possible defenses for these kinds of charges. The reality is that this is not true since an experienced attorney has several defense options.
Here are some examples of defense options your attorney could use to reduce your charges or have them thrown out altogether.
You Aren’t the Owner
Your attorney may be able to provide evidence that you did not intentionally possess the drugs. For example, you may have been in someone else’s vehicle at the time that the drugs were found.
Your Rights Weren’t Upheld
There are many instances with drug-related charges where your attorney could bring your rights up as a defense. For instance, law enforcement may have performed an illegal search and seizure when they located the drugs. Even during an investigation involving illegal substances, law enforcement has to respect your constitutional rights.
If it is found that your rights were violated, this could result in the evidence being deemed unlawful and being thrown out. This could help reduce your charges or avoid charges altogether.
You Weren’t Distributing Drugs
An experienced attorney may be able to prove that even though you were in possession of drugs, you did not plan on selling them. For drug trafficking charges to stick, you have to have the intention of distributing, selling, or importing the illegal substances.
If your lawyer can prove that you were simply in possession, this could reduce the charges to something less significant. Keep in mind that this will depend heavily on the weight of the drugs that were found.
What to Do If You’re Facing Drug Trafficking Charges
If you are facing the possibility of being charged with drug trafficking in the state of Texas, there are certain things you need to do to protect yourself. The first thing you should do is cooperate with the police, but don’t provide law enforcement with more information than necessary. Remember, anything you say or do can be used to further incriminate you.
You also need to make sure you hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. They will help you navigate this complex process and can communicate on your behalf. They can advise you on your rights and create a compelling defense when you go to court.
Recent Changes to the Laws in Texas
Texas experienced quite a few changes in 2023 regarding the laws around certain substances. One house bill that was passed involved the manufacturing or distributing of fentanyl, which resulted in the death of another person.
This bill changed the charge to a first-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison. It also made the manufacturing or distributing of less than 1 gram of fentanyl a third-degree felony.
Manufacturing or delivering 200 to 400 grams of fentanyl could result in 10 years to life in prison. Manufacturing or delivering over 400 grams of fentanyl is punishable by 15 years to life in prison with a fine of up to $250,000.
For the Best Legal Defense, Contact The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen PLLC
If you are up against drug trafficking charges, you may not know what steps to take next. This is a very serious crime, and you want to make sure you understand what this entails and how you can fight these charges.
At The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, we have handled thousands of criminal defense cases and can provide you with experienced and compassionate representation. If you are facing possible drug trafficking charges, contact us today at (832)-230-0075 for a free consultation.