In the State of Texas, it is a crime to willfully have in your possession controlled substances which have been deemed illegal. This includes marijuana, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, cocaine, and the so-called “club drugs.” It is also illegal to possess the chemicals that are used to cultivate and manufacture these drugs. The drug possession laws also prohibit crack pipes, bongs and syringe possession or so-called drug paraphernalia. Possession of illicit drugs is categorized by the quantity possessed. You can be charged with “simple possession” where the quantity is small, or for large quantities, you could be charged with “possession with intent to distribute.” “Constructive possession” is where a person or persons can be charged when illicit drugs are found in a vehicle or home to which these individuals have keys to access it.
Proof of Drug Possession
In order to convict a defendant who was in possession of illegal drugs, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew that the drug was a controlled substance, and the defendant knew that they had possession of or control over the drug. When a large quantity of a drug is seized, the defendant may be charged with possession with the intent to sell. The evidence presented by the prosecution may include the large amount of the drug, a large amount of cash, baggies, digital scales or witness testimony.
Penalties for Drug Possession
Texas has very harsh penalties for drug possession. If convicted of drug possession in the State of Texas, certain factors are taken into consideration in order to determine the penalty, such as the type of drug possessed and the quantity found, how the drug was concealed or stored, other drug paraphernalia, supplies or cash that the defendant was in possession of, and past convictions, if any.
For marijuana, conviction of a Class B misdemeanor for possession of two ounces or less carries a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of no more than $10,000. Penalties can go higher depending on the quantity possessed up to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 for more than 2,000 pounds.
Possession of the other classes of drugs listed above can be a Class B or Class A offense, at the very minimum. These carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of no more than $4,000, depending on the type of drug. For a felony conviction, depending on the amount of drug possessed, the penalty can range from a 3rd degree up to a 1st degree felony. The most a defendant can be sentenced to is life or 99 years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $250,000.