Texas maintains very strict laws related to drug possession due in large part to the government’s efforts to combat drug trafficking issues. Because of this, drug possession charges in Galveston can carry significant penalties that can severely impact your life if convicted. It is, therefore, vital that you partner with a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney with a proven record of success in drug crime cases to defend your case and uphold your rights.
The lawyers at the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, have long been handling the criminal offense cases that others find intimidating. With a passionate commitment to our clients, we utilize over a decade of experience in the courtroom to fight for the most favorable possible outcome in every case. If you’ve been charged with drug possession or another drug crime, work with a Galveston drug crime lawyer who understands how to build an effective defense and uphold your rights.
Texas law regarding controlled substances defines “possession” as having actual care, control, custody, or management over the drug in question. From a legal standpoint, ownership is not the most important consideration. Rather, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly had control over the substance to do with it what you’d like. Instead, your Galveston drug crime defense attorney will help establish a defense that challenges any proof of possession or will call any search or seizure performed by law enforcement an unconstitutional act.
When you are facing potentially devastating penalties for a criminal charge, your greatest opportunity to find leniency, grace, or a reduction of charges is prior to a conviction. Your Galveston drug crime attorney can listen to the details of your case, examine the evidence, and present the most effective defense strategy for your circumstances.
When it comes to possession of a controlled substance, it is vital to hire an attorney who is experienced in using the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure law to avoid convictions. This defense relies on solid facts and is often the most effective defense in drug crimes involving possession.
The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ rights against unreasonable searches or seizures of their person, homes, and personal property. This means that none of their effects can be searched or taken without probable cause, due process, and, in most cases, a properly issued warrant.
This constitutional right requires police officers to follow proper procedure when searching personal property. If Houston law enforcement failed to use appropriate police procedure in your case, then your charges could ultimately be dismissed for lack of legal evidence. Because the interpretation and application of the Fourth Amendment have been subject to varying legal discussion, challenges, and precedent, it is imperative that your attorney be knowledgeable in both the historical and contemporary application of this law as it is used in drug crime defense.
Texas law classifies controlled substances into four different categories, known as penalty groups. Drugs are categorized into each group based on each substance’s accepted medical uses and the risks of abuse. The groups include:
When determining penalties for a drug crime conviction, the judge will use these groups as a guide, taking the drug volume, mitigating factors, and whether a minor was present into account as well.
For each of the drug group classifications, there is a baseline guide for the penalties associated with their respective convictions. There are as follows:
A: You can get a drug possession charge dropped in Texas by legally challenging the basis for the evidence gathered against you. First, this means arguing that the officer had no probable cause to stop you. Second, it means challenging the officer’s legal right to search your person or your property without cause. Lastly, you could prove that the drugs in question belong to someone else and were not legally in your possession. These defenses could lead to dropped charges.
A: All drug charges carry potential jail time in Texas, even for first-time offenders. Depending on the type of drugs found, the volume possessed, and whether you were found to be in possession near a drug-free zone, such as a school, the courts may or may not elect to require jail time. First-time offenders generally receive lighter penalties. The offense level will have the greatest impact, as the lightest charge carries a maximum of six months of jail time for drug possession.
A: For drug charges in Texas, the statute of limitations will vary depending on whether the crime is victimless or not. If the drug charge involves supplying a minor with controlled substances, for example, the statute of limitations does not apply. Otherwise, if there is no victim associated with the charge, which is the case for most drug possession charges, the statute of limitations is three years. Federally, the statute of limitations for drug crimes is five years.
A: If you are found guilty of drug possession in Texas, the punishment can include fines, probation, and jail or prison time. The least severe charge for illegal drug possession is a Class C misdemeanor carrying a $500 maximum fine. The most serious charge for possession of controlled substances is a first-degree felony charge, which carries a minimum of five years in prison and a $50,000 fine with a maximum lifetime prison sentence and $250,000 in fines.
If you are facing drug crime charges of any kind, it is imperative that you begin working on your defense as soon as possible. Speak with a member of our team at the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, to discuss the details of your case. With a solid grasp of your rights and updated Fourth Amendment law, our attorneys can use whatever means necessary to present your defense and potentially lower your charges. Contact our office today.