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Tag Archive for drug possession charges

Arrested for Drugs? Here’s What You Need To Know.

Are you facing charges of intent to distribute cocaine? Are you worried about your teenager who was caught using drugs at school? Have you been arrested for possession of marijuana?

We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For aggressive representation from an experienced drug charge defense lawyer, contact our Houston law office to schedule a free initial consultation. At the Charles Johnson Law Firm, you will find a drug crimes defense attorney who has over a decade of experience protecting the rights of people facing state or federal drug charges.

Aggressive Drug Charge Defense Representation

If you are under investigation or have already been arrested for a drug-related crime, criminal defense attorney Charles Johnson can help. Attorney Johnson is proficient at representation in pre-arrest negotiations, in plea bargain settlements, at trial and on appeal in state and federal drug crime cases.

We represent individuals facing state or federal drug crime charges involving the manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession of illegal drugs, controlled substances, chemicals used in the illicit production of controlled substances (running a meth lab), and drug paraphernalia. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana, methaqualone, morphine, phencyclidine (PCP), crack cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine, Anabolic steroids, codeine and/or hydrocodone with aspirin, Valium®, and Xanax® are examples of controlled substances the manufacture, distribution, or possession of which can result in serious state or federal drug crime charges. The Charles Johnson Law Firm strives to ensure that our clients’ rights are protected throughout the entire case.

Drug Possession Charges

At the Charles Johnson Law Firm, we are prepared to defend drug charges in court. Don’t let drug charges ruin your future.

When possible, we work to get drug arrests removed from our client’s criminal record through expunction. For high school students, whether charged as an adult or a juvenile, possession of even a very small amount of a drug such as marijuana can result in lost educational opportunities, including attendance at the student’s college of choice or the ability to go to college at all because of student loan ineligibility based on a drug crime conviction. A teenage drug conviction can also result in lost employment opportunities, including ineligibility for certain jobs or future career advancement. In Texas, possession of an illegal drug or a controlled substance can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the type and amount of drugs involved. If a plea bargain is in our client’s best interests, we will work hard to get the best deal possible.

Motion to Revoke Probation (MTR)

If you are facing a probation revocation because of a probation violation, we can help. We understand that there are often psychological issues, such as bipolar disorder, underlying many drug problems, and we work on getting you the treatment you need and probation, reinstatement or termination instead of prison time.

Houston Drug Charges Defense: The Charles Johnson Law Firm

When you are facing an arrest and possible conviction for a drug crime, your future is on the line. To learn how we can help defend you against drug charges, contact our skilled Houston, Texas criminal defense lawyer today for a free initial consultation.

What Types of Laws Govern Drug Offenses in the State of Texas?

Drug crimes are covered by both federal and state laws in Texas. Federal offenses are regulated by The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, known as the Controlled Substances Act.

The Controlled Substances Act covers nearly all of the drug offenses in Texas and is codified in the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapters 481 through 486. Since Texas is an international border state, drug traffic offenses are a major concern. The state of Texas also has several state drug laws which may not be applicable in other states.

What are the penalties for a drug conviction in Texas?

Drug offenses are among the most serious charges in criminal law. They carry with them severe penalties and can have other consequences in areas of one’s life such as family life and employment. The legal penalties for drug crimes will depend on the nature of the drug offense, and will usually include a fine and/or a lengthy prison sentence.

If you are charged with a drug related crime, you need to contact Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Charles Johnson as soon as possible.   The penalties for committing a drug crime can be quite severe, including actual prison time, sometimes for many years in larger high profile drug cases. A conviction for a drug-related offense could not only damage your personal and professional reputation, but could result in actual termination from employment or the suspension or revocation of your professional licenses. It’s not whether you will acquire a lawyer, rather, it’s who you will get to represent you at your most vulnerable time.

What types of factors are considered in sentences for drug crimes?

In determining the sentence for a drug crime, a Texas court will consider the following factors:
  • The type of drug: The Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs into 5 “Penalty Groups”, with Group 1 being the most serious. For example, cocaine is classified as Penalty Group 1, whereas prescription drugs are Group 3.
  • The amount of drugs in possession: Prison sentences or fines will increase according to the amount of drug possessed. Greater amounts of the same drug will result in higher sentences.
  • The purpose for which the drug is used: Simple possession is usually considered less severe than other crimes, such as possession with intent to distribute, or manufacturing and delivering drugs
  • Location of the violation: Drug offenses are considered more severe if they take place in certain areas, such as near a school or day care center
  • Another important factor that a court will consider is whether the drug offense was combined with another offense. Many drug offenses are related to other crimes such as conspiracy, theft, or assault. If the drug offense is related to another felony, especially a violent crime, the penalties will be more severe.

Do I need a lawyer for a drug offense?

Drug offenses are serious and can lead to felony charges. Therefore, the services of a competent criminal attorney can be crucial when dealing with drug charges. This is especially true if the defendant is involved in multiple or repeat offenses. An experienced lawyer can help explain the various requirements under Texas drug laws.

If you or a family member is charged with a crime in the Houston area, contact Attorney Johnson for a free consultation with a successful criminal defense lawyer. My  practice is limited to criminal law. I can offer compassionate legal counsel, accessibility and personal attention, years of experience, and aggressive protection of your rights.

What Are Some Possible Defenses To Drug Crimes?

If you are charged with possession of drugs, either for personal use or with intent to sell, Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Charles Johnson can determine which defenses might apply to your case should you plead not guilty. Different states approach the problem of illicit drugs in different ways, while the federal government tends to have the toughest drug sentencing guidelines. But drug possession defenses are fairly universal across state lines. Some defenses challenge the stated facts, testimony or evidence in the case, while others target procedural errors, often search and seizure violations.

Here are some defenses to drug possession charges, some more common than others:

Unlawful Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to due process of law, including lawful search and seizure procedures prior to an arrest. Search and seizure issues are quite common in drug possession cases. Illicit drugs found in “plain view,” such as a car’s dashboard after a legal traffic stop, may be seized and used as evidence. But drugs found in the trunk of a car after prying it open with a crowbar, assuming the suspect did not give permission, cannot be entered into evidence. If the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated, then the drugs cannot be used at trial and the charges typically are dismissed.

Drugs Belong to Someone Else

A common defense to any crime charge is to simply say you didn’t do it. The drug possession equivalent is to claim the drugs aren’t yours or that you had no idea they were in your apartment, for example. Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson will pressure prosecutors to prove that the joint found in the car actually belonged to his or her client and not one of the other three passengers.

Crime Lab Analysis

Just because it looks like cocaine or LSD doesn’t mean it necessarily is. The prosecution must prove that a seized substance is indeed the illicit drug it claims it is by sending the evidence to a crime lab for analysis. The crime lab analyst then must testify at trial in order for the prosecution to make its case.

Missing Drugs

Houston Drug Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson will make sure prosecutors are able to produce the actual drugs for which their client is being charged. Similar to the need for crime lab analysis, prosecutors who lose or otherwise lack the actual drugs risk having their case dismissed. Seized drugs often get transferred several times before ending up in the evidence locker, so it should never be assumed that the evidence still exists during trial.

Drugs were Planted

This may be difficult to prove, since a police officer’s sworn testimony carries a lot of weight in the courtroom. Furthermore, other officers may be reluctant to blow the whistle on a fellow officer. But Attorney Johnson can file a motion that, if approved by the judge, requires the department to release the complaint file of the given officer. This file contains the names and contact of information of those who made the complaints, who can then be interviewed by Attorney Johnson or his private investigator.

Entrapment

While law enforcement officials are free to set up sting operations, entrapment occurs when officers or informants induce a suspect to commit a crime he or she otherwise may not have committed. If an informant pressures a suspect into passing drugs to a third party, for example, then this may be considered entrapment. As a rule of thumb, entrapment occurs where the state provides the drugs in question.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are charged with any of these or another drug related crime you need to contact Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson as soon as possible.   The penalties for committing a drug crime can be quite severe, including actual prison time, sometimes for many years in larger high profile drug cases. A conviction for a drug-related offense could not only damage your personal and professional reputation, but could result in actual termination from employment or the suspension or revocation of your professional licenses. It’s not whether you will acquire a lawyer, rather, it’s who you will get to represent you at your most vulnerable time.

What are Texas’ Laws on Marijuana Possession?

Texas has a reputation as being extremely hard on drug use and possession, and it is well earned.  Minor marijuana possession is not decriminalized in Texas, as it is in several states, which means that even a miniscule amount can land you 6 months in jail.

Like many other states, Texas divies up punishments based on the weight of the drug possessed or sold.  The possession of up to a pound of marijuana (this includes very minor amounts) will generally carry a sentence of 6 months to 2 years in a state jail and a $2,000 – $10,000 fine.  However, if you have no prior felony convictions and are arrested with up to a pound, a Texas judge must impose a sentence of probation with drug treatment (for a duration at the judges discretion).  The judge can also waive the fines, in this case.

That is where the leniency ends, however.  For the possession of 1 – 5 lbs, there is no probation, and a minimum sentence of 6 months will be imposed.  This will also be considered a “state jail felony,” (which is a Texan creation meant to help with prison over-crowding). This means it will count as a felony on your record, but you will be sentenced to a minimum security prison with non-violent offenders.

After the five pound limit, the court will assume you are a major trafficker, and the penalties increase rapidly (these felonies are not of the “state-jail” variety):

  • 5 – 50 lbs:           2 – 10 years, $10,000 fine
  • 50 lbs – 1 ton:    2 – 20 years, $10,000 fine
  • 1 ton+ :                5 – 99 years, $50,000 fine

What About Giving a Baggie to a Friend?

Texas law does not recognize little gifts as being the same as possession (like most states do). Therefore a gift of even less than 1/4 of an ounce carries the same 6-month $2,000 fine as simple possession, but without the probation requirements (i.e. you will likely serve time).  If it is a sale of that same amount, the penalty jumps to 1 year.  This applies to even extremely small amoutns, even less than a single joint cigarette.

What About Other Sales?

Penalities for the sale or delivery of marijuana are also assigned by weight in Texas:

  • 1/4 oz  – 5 lbs:   6 months – 2 years, $10,000 fine
  • 5 lbs – 50 lbs:   2 – 20 years, $10,000 fine
  • 50 lbs – 1 ton:   5 – 99 years, $10,000 fine
  • 1 ton or more:   Mandatory minimum of 10 – 99 years, with a $100,000 fine

These are for either the sale OR delivery, meaning it is irrelevant whether or not you are actually paid or just just giving it to someone.   On top of that, if the delivery or sale is to a minor (in ANY amount), that is punishable by an additional 2 – 20 years in prison. Also, sale within 1,000 feet of a school or within 300 feet of a youth center, public pool or video arcade increases the penalty classification to the next highest level (which in some cases is a difference of many  years).

I am a Legal User of Medical Marijuana in my State.  Can I Bring it into Texas?

Absolutely not. Texas does not recognize any form of medical marijuana, so all the same laws above apply to you, and if you are arrested while possessing marijuana, a medical card or doctor’s note will not be a valid defense.  Federal law also does not recognize medical marijuana (even in your home state), so you should contact the Charles Johnson Law Firm before you ever try to carry medical marijuana over state borders.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been arrested in Texas for a marijuana crime, or have a legal prescription to marijuana and are thinking of going in state, it is very important to contact Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Charles Johnson immediately.  The laws in this field are extremely harsh and frequently changing, so having up to date facts and advice can be the difference between a minor hassle and a prison sentence.

When it comes to cases involving drug possession, an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between a prison sentence and reduced or dismissed charges. Houston Drug Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson is dedicated to defending the rights of the accused and is committed to the presumption of innocence. Even in less serious cases, a good criminal defense attorney can make a serious impact on the outcome of the case by ensuring that the rights of the accused are protected throughout the legal process. For these and other reasons, it is vital that those accused of a crime select the most competent, experienced and effective attorney available.

If you have been accused of a crime, please contact us today for a free consultation with an aggressive and resourceful criminal defense attorney. We will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with your criminal legal matter.

We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call us at 713-222-7577 or toll free at 877-308-0100.
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