Dedicated Kerrville Attorney Successfully Challenges Drug Charges
Texas state-certified criminal defense lawyer offers powerful advocacy
Texas law is harsh on illegal drug possession, manufacture, sale and trafficking. Even a violation involving a prescription drug can be the cause of a significant jail sentence. If you’ve been charged with a controlled-substance offense, it is critical to establish a defense immediately. At the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C., I understand what is in jeopardy and am ready to come to your aid. I have nearly 40 years of practice experience and am certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in criminal law, a designation indicating advanced knowledge and ability.
Protecting your rights in state or federal drug cases
State and federal law punish a wide range of drug-related offenses that include:
- Drug possession — This means holding a drug that you know to be illegal.
- Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance — One of the most serious drug offenses, commonly referred to as dealing or trafficking, includes possession with intent to deliver a drug.
- Prescription drug charges — Selling, dealing, manufacturing or prescribing controlled prescription drugs without a valid prescription is a crime. This includes prescription forgery and fraud.
- Possession or transport of precursor chemicals — It is illegal to possess a chemical intended for use in manufacturing an illegal drug.
- Possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia — This includes a device or object that is used to grow, produce, store or package a controlled substance, test or enhance its strength or introduce it into the body.
Drug charges may be enhanced by aggravating factors, such as if you sell to or in front of a minor or in a school zone.
Drug classifications in Texas
Texas and federal law divide controlled substances into categories known as schedules, based on their accepted medical uses, if any, and their potential for addiction or abuse. They are as follows:
- Schedule I — These drugs have a high risk of abuse and with no safe, accepted medical purpose. They include LSD, cocaine, heroin and PCP.
- Schedule II — Narcotic, stimulant, and depressant drugs such as oxycodone, morphine, methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine have a high abuse and dependency risk.
- Schedule III — Drugs like Vicodin, Tylenol with codeine and anabolic steroids have accepted medical applications but a potential for abuse.
- Schedule IV — Drugs that are less dangerous and have less potential for abuse include Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Ativan, and Darvocet.
- Schedule V — Drugs with a very low abuse risk fall into this category. Examples include cough suppressants with very low concentrations of codeine.
No matter which level of drug or specific drug crime you face, you need a criminal defense attorney who understands and focuses on defending these types of crimes.
Penalties for drug crimes in Texas
Texas drug crimes are categorized in penalty groups that generally follow the five schedules, imposing the stiffest penalties for Schedule I and in descending order to Schedule V. The penalties also depend on the amount of the drug and whether the charge is for possession, manufacture or delivery. The range of penalties is:
- Class C misdemeanor — Fine up to $500.
- Class B misdemeanor —Fine up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.
- Class A misdemeanor — Fine up to $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
- State jail felony —180 days to two years in prison and fine up to $10,000.
- 3rd-degree felony —Two to 10 years in prison and fine up to $10,000.
- 2nd-degree felony —Two to 20 years in prison and fine up to $10,000.
- 1st-degree felony — Five years to life in prison and fine up to $10,000.
Alleged possession of a weapon during the course of the crime can further enhance the charge. The level of penalty also depends on whether a defendant has a prior conviction.
Defenses to drug crime prosecutions
A vigorous legal defense in a drug case can mean the difference between a favorable disposition and years in prison. I can challenge drug prosecutions in a number of ways, investigating these potential flaws:
- Police lacked probable cause to stop or search you or your property
- Authorities entrapped you or planted drugs
- Police failed to follow proper procedure during arrest and interrogation
- Lab testing procedures were improper
- Possession was for personal use
- Chain of custody rules were not followed
In all drug cases, there is a need to prove that the violation was intentional, whether the charge is for possession, manufacture or distribution. That includes knowledge that the drug is a controlled substance. As a seasoned attorney in this field, I know how to find the holes in the prosecution’s case and mount a zealous and well-grounded defense.
Contact a board-certified criminal defense lawyer who focuses on drug crimes in Texas
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for any drug-related crime, rely on an experienced attorney with a solid track record in drug case defense. Call the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C. at 830-955-8168 for an appointment, or contact my Kerrville office online.