Texas Heroin Laws: Everything You Need to Know If You’ve Been Arrested

Do you or a family member face a charge of heroin possession, manufacturing or delivery in Southeast Texas? You should know about Texas heroin charges and the penalties receive, along with the defense strategies which can be used against such crimes.

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First you should know that a heroin drug charge is based on the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Under this law, there are four classes of drugs, with each having its own set of penalties and classifications. (Marijuana is categorized separately.)

Heroin is in Penalty Group 1, along with opiates, fentanyl, methamphetamine (meth or crystal meth), methadone, cocaine, ketamine, GHB and other highly addictive drugs. A derivative of morphine, heroin was once legal but has been banned in the United States since 1924. It’s controlled by federal laws.

Drugs in other penalty groups aren’t considered as addictive. Penalties are more severe for the most addictive drugs because such drugs can lead to the highest levels of abuse and harm.

Besides a drug’s level of addictiveness, penalties also are determined by:

  • the type of drug
  • how much of the drug was involved
  • how the drug was hidden or stored
  • whether drug paraphernalia such as a scale was involved
  • whether the defendant had previous drug convictions

Penalties are also worse under Texas drug laws if the crime involved violence or the presence of a child.

Types of Heroin Charges

The severity of heroin charges depends on whether the defendant possessed, manufactured or delivered the drug.

  • Possession of heroin means the defendant knowingly or intentionally had heroin in their possession.
  • Manufacturing of heroin can involve laboratory equipment and various techniques to create the drug.
  • Delivering or distributing heroin involves giving or selling the drug to someone else, either directly (putting the drugs in someone’s hands) or indirectly (putting the drugs in someone’s car and then notifying them).

When an especially large amount of the drug is involved, that may be known as drug trafficking. A charge may also be based on circumstances which indicate an “intent to distribute,” such as having ledgers or large piles of cash around the drugs.

Penalties for Heroin Possession in Texas

Possession of any amount of heroin is a felony in Texas. Penalties for heroin possession in Texas include:

  • 180 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 for possession of less than one gram of heroin, which is known as a state jail felony.
  • 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for possession of one to less than four grams of heroin, a third-degree felony.
  • 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for possession of four to less than 200 grams of heroin, a second-degree felony.
  • 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for possession of 200 to less than 400 grams of heroin, a first-degree felony.
  • Life in prison, or a term of 10-99 years in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000 for possession of 400 grams or more or heroin, a first-degree felony.

Quantity of Heroin

Felony Classification

Penalty

Less than 1 gram State jail felony Up to 2 years in prison and $10,000 fine
1 - 3.99 grams Third degree 2 - 10 years in prison and $10,000 fine
4 - 199 grams Second degree 2 - 20 years in prison and $10,000 fine
200 - 399 grams First degree 5 - 99 years in prison and $10,000 fine
400+ grams Enhanced first degree 10 - 99 years in prison and $100,000 fine

Penalties for Heroin Manufacturing & Delivery in Texas

As with possession of heroin, penalties for manufacturing or delivery of heroin also vary depending on the amount of the drug seized by authorities. Such penalties include:

  • Up to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 for manufacturing or delivering under 1 gram of heroin, a felony.
  • Up to 20 years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine for manufacturing or delivering between 1 and 4 grams of heroin, a second-degree felony.
  • Up to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine for manufacturing or delivering between 4 and 200 grams of heroin, a first-degree felony.
  • Up to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for manufacturing or delivering between 200 and 400 grams of heroin, a first-degree felony.
  • Between 15 and 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000 for manufacturing or delivering more than 400 grams of heroin, a felony.

Quantity of Heroin

Felony Classification

Penalty

Less than 1 gram State jail felony Up to 2 years in prison and $10,000 fine
1 - 3.99 grams Second degree Up to 20 years in prison and $10,000 fine
4 - 199 grams First degree Up to life in prison and $10,000 fine
200 - 399 grams First degree Up to 99 years in prison and $100,000 fine
400+ grams Enhanced first degree 15 - 99 years in prison and $200,000 fine

Defenses Against Texas Heroin Charges

With all this in mind, you may be wondering how to defend against a drug charge in Texas.

First, you should know that addiction to a drug isn’t considered a valid defense against possession of that drug.

However, your heroin defense lawyer has other strategies which can be applied. These include establishing that you didn’t know that you were in possession of the drug, or perhaps that the drug was found in a space shared by others and thus was there without your knowledge.

Your heroin defense attorney may also be able to establish that there was an illegal search and seizure by police to obtain the drugs and then charge you with possession of them. The drugs in this case wouldn’t be admissible as evidence in court.

Each case is different, and the individual circumstances of your case may provide many means to defend against your heroin charge.

At any rate, you must take a charge of heroin possession, manufacturing or delivery seriously in Texas. That means engaging the best Houston drug crime defense lawyer you can find for cases in Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County.

Contact the Neal Davis Law Firm, and we’ll quickly provide you with a confidential legal review of your case. We may be able to get the charge against you reduced or even dismissed prior to trial, as we have done for many clients before. And if a trial is needed, our skilled and experienced drug defense lawyers can fight for your legal rights.

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