What are Texas’ Cocaine Laws?

Learn about the charges, penalties and possible defense strategies if you’re charged with having or selling cocaine in Texas

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Do you or a family member face a criminal charge for possession or distribution of the controlled substance cocaine? If so, you should know and understand Texas cocaine laws, as well as cocaine charges, penalties and defense strategies.

The experienced Houston drug crime defense lawyers at the Neal Davis Law Firm help you understand everything you need to know about your legal options.

Texas Cocaine Laws

First, you should know that Texas laws banning the use or sale of cocaine are very strict and make the crime an immediate felony. In short, there are no misdemeanor cocaine charges.

Indeed, cocaine is known as a Penalty Group 1 drug in Texas, which means a cocaine charge carries the most severe penalties and punishments for drugs. If you are found guilty of possessing cocaine, you could face a fine of $10,000 - $250,000 and a prison sentence of 2 years to life.

Texas Cocaine Possession Charges & Penalties

Next, you should know that the severity of the cocaine penalties or punishment depends largely on the amount of the drug involved in the crime.

But understand this:

Any amount of cocaine in your possession is a felony.

According to Texas Health and Safety Code 481.115, possessing cocaine means you had “actual care, custody, control or management” of the drug.

Punishments for Cocaine Possession in Texas

Possession Amount

Criminal Penalty

Less than 1 gram

State jail felony. Punishment can range from 6 months to 2 years in prison.

1 - 4 grams

3rd degree felony. Punishments can include a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

4 - 200 grams

2nd degree felony. Punishments can include prison time of up to 20 years.

200 - 400 grams

1st degree felony. Carries punishments of 10 - 99 years in jail, and a fine of $100,000.

More than 400 grams

1st degree felony. Punishable by spending 15 - 99 years in prison and paying a fine of up to $250,000.

Texas Cocaine Distribution Charges & Penalties

If you were arrested for selling cocaine (also known as trafficking, delivering or distributing), penalties can also be quite severe.

Texas laws holds that delivering an illicit drug involves a person transferring to another person a controlled substance such as cocaine.

As with cocaine possession charges, cocaine distribution or delivery penalties vary depending on the amount of the drug being sold.

Punishments for Cocaine Distribution in Texas

Possession Amount

Criminal Penalty

Less than 1 gram

State jail felony. Punishment includes a fine of up to $10,000, and jail time of 180 days to 2 years.

1 - 4 grams

2nd degree felony. Punishments can include prison time of up to 20 years.

4 - 200 grams

1st degree felony. Carries punishments of 10 - 99 years in jail, and a fine of $100,000.

200 - 400 grams

1st degree felony. Carries punishments of 10 - 99 years in jail, and a fine of $100,000.

More than 400 grams

1st degree felony. Punishable by spending 15 - 99 years in prison and paying a fine of up to $250,000.

You can also be charged with creating or manufacturing cocaine, either by chemical or natural means. Punishments for this crime are comparable to those for delivering cocaine.

Also, all cocaine charges — for possession, delivering or manufacturing — can be “enhanced,” or made worse, if the crime was committed on or near school property. This would elevate punishments to the next higher level.

Selling cocaine to a minor (under the age of 17) who is enrolled in school is a 2nd degree felony in Texas.

Cocaine Defense Strategies

Since Texas law holds that a person must possess cocaine intentionally or knowingly to be arrested and charged, a cocaine defense strategy may involve proving that the defendant didn’t know he or she had the drug/s in their possession.

Often, drugs are found in a home or vehicle inhabited by more than one person, and not every person in the home or vehicle was aware of them.

Your attorney can assert that a car or house had multiple occupants other than yourself. Prosecutors would then have to prove that each individual occupant exercised joint care and custody of control of the cocaine.

Another legal protection against a cocaine charge can involve contesting the search or seizure by police which led to the arrest. Americans have constitutional protections against illegal searches and seizures by authorities.

This right to privacy is granted by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thanks to its protections, officers must have a “reasonable suspicion” before pulling your car over. It cannot be a random search. Also, if you were stopped by police for a routine traffic violation, police wouldn’t have the right to search your vehicle for cocaine or anything else.

Such a search and seizure is illegal under Texas law. Either way, evidence seized illegally should not be admissible in court.

As such things show, an experienced defense attorney for Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County can determine if police overstepped their limits in searching you or your property for cocaine.

Deferred Adjudication Option

Also keep in mind that if your cocaine arrest was your first felony arrest, you may be eligible for an option known as deferred adjudication.

Deferred adjudication is a plea deal by which you don’t contest your charge but rather abide by certain rules of the court, such as attending drug counseling programs, performing community service and being on probation, after which your charge is dismissed.

In effect, you plead guilty but aren’t found guilty by the court, as long as you abide by the court orders of your plea deal. Also, this doesn’t count on your record as a conviction.

Contact a Skilled Houston Cocaine Defense Lawyer

To assert your legal rights in a cocaine case, you should quickly contact a skilled drug crime defense lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged. Your attorney can fight for your legal rights by first working to get your charge reduced or even dropped, as the Neal Davis Law Firm has done for many clients in Texas.

And if it’s necessary to go to trial, we can fight for you there as well.

Contact us today to receive a legal review of your case. Then, after we provide you with legal advice, you can decide how you wish to proceed when facing a charge based on Texas’ cocaine laws.

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