Penalty Groups for Drug Charges in Texas
Which category does your drug possession or distribution charge fall into?
Law enforcement officers in every state regularly arrest and charge citizens with possession of a controlled substance according to the laws determined by that particular state. In Texas, controlled substance laws encompass 4 different drug categories and 2 subcategories known as “penalty groups.”
Possession of marijuana remains a separate category. Residents may also be prosecuted if found in possession of the chemical compounds used to manufacture controlled substances.
If you’re wondering what penalties you might face for a drug offense in Texas, contact Texas criminal defense attorney Neal Davis as soon as possible. He can better explain the different penalty groups listed below.
Penalty Group 1
This category includes a number of controlled substances, which are prescription narcotics or street drugs. These include:
- Oxycodone and other prescription opiates
- Psilocybin and other hallucinogens
According to the Texas Health & Safety Code statute § 481-115, the penalty for possession starts at a fine of up to $10,000, 180 days to 2 years in jail, or both. The penalties gradually increase to a fine of up to $100,000, 10 to 99 years in federal prison, or both for possession of 400 or more grams of a substance.
Penalty Group 1A
Group 1A includes possession of LSD, isomers, salts and salts of isomers used to manufacture the substance. Rather than being determined by grams, ounces or pounds, this category is described in units, which equates to 1 square of LSD per unit.
According to Texas Health & Safety Code statute § 481-1151, the penalties for possession begin at a $10,000 fine, and 180 days to 2 years in jail for less than 20 units of a substance. The penalties increase to a $250,000 fine, 15 to 99 years in federal prison, or both, for possession of 4,000 or more units.
Penalty Group 2
This group includes ecstasy, mescaline, PCP and any isomers or salts associated with these controlled substances.
According to the Texas Health & Safety Code statute § 481-116, the penalties start at fines of up to $10,000, 180 days to 2 years in federal prison, or both. Penalties of up to $50,000 in fines, 5 to 99 years in prison, or both, are required for someone in possession of 400 grams or more of a Penalty Group 2 substance.
Penalty Group 2A
This group involves possession of substances that replicate cannabinoids, which includes K2 or Spice.
According to the statute that defines possession of a controlled substance Texas, the penalties in this category start with a $2,000 fine, 180 days or 2 years in jail, or both for someone possessing less than 1 gram of the substance. Penalties increase to fines of up to $50,000, 99 years in federal prison, or both, for anyone possessing 50 pounds or more of the substance.
Penalty Group 3
This group involves substances designed to create a stimulant or a depressant effect. Compounds in this category include anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines, Ritalin, Valium and other prescription medications.
According to the Texas Health & Safety Code statute § 481-117, penalties for possession start at a $4,000 fine, 1-year jail term, or both for 28 grams or less. Anyone in possession of 400 grams or more of a substance in this category include fines of up to $50,000, 5 to 99 years in federal prison, or both.
Penalty Group 4
The substances in this category include various prescription opiates and opioids not covered in penalty group 1.
According to the Texas Health & Safety Code § 481-118, penalties in this category begin at fines of up to $2,000, 180 days in jail, or both for possessing 28 grams of a substance or less. Users may incur fines of up to $50,000, 5 to 99 years in prison, or both if found possessing 400 grams or more of a substance.
What about marijuana?
Marijuana used for any purpose in the state of Texas remains illegal. As such, the penalties for possessing less than 2 ounces includes a fine of up to $2,000, 180 days in jail, or both. The penalties progress to fines of up to $100,000 and a 99-year federal prison term for possessing 2,000 pounds or more of marijuana.
The penalties for manufacturing, trafficking or transporting controlled substances involves harsher penalties.
This substance is commonly used to manufacture various substances. If anyone is found having illegal possession of anhydrous ammonia, they may be forced to pay fines of up to $10,000, serve 2 to 10 years in prison, or both.
State vs. federal drug crimes
The majority of drug offenses are considered state crimes. However, prosecution becomes a federal offense if someone is found to be in possession while crossing a state or national border, or if the offense is gang-related.
Learn more about the differences between state vs. federal crimes.
Drug charge defenses
The most effective defense strategy for drug offenders is determined by the individual facts and circumstances surrounding each case. Some defense attorneys use the Fourth Amendment as a defense, which guarantees protection against illegal search and seizures. Certain offenses are covered under the Fifth Amendment, which protects citizens from self-incrimination by speaking to law enforcement officers without the accompaniment of legal counsel.
If arrested for possession, manufacturing, transporting or trafficking any controlled substance in the state of Texas, you need a knowledgeable and trained attorney who has experience with drug criminal defense cases.