There are many different categories of criminal offenses, some of which are far more serious than others. Violent crimes like attempted homicide are obviously a bigger issue for the public than minor issues, like civil infractions. Someone parking on the wrong side of the street might lead to unsafe traffic conditions, but it isn’t anywhere near as serious as an armed robbery.
This idea that crimes are either dangerous to others or not so severe is misleading. Those accused of drug offenses, for example, might assume that they won’t face major consequences, especially if they don’t have any previous criminal charges on their record. When compared with violent offenses, drug crimes don’t seem that serious.
In the grand scheme of drug offenses, possession is the least serious charge someone could face. Does that mean it is a negligible charge that you can plead guilty to and then forget about?
Texas has relatively aggressive possession laws
Possession may be the least severe kind of drug charge, but it is still a drug offense. Texas has very strict drug laws that apply to both prohibited drugs and controlled substances, like narcotic painkillers. In fact, possession can sometimes be a felony offense in Texas.
The exact charges someone will face depends on both the overall weight of the drugs involved and how the state classifieds the drugs. There are six Penalty Groups for drugs, ranging from Penalty Group 1 with methamphetamine and opium to Penalty Group 4, which involves non-narcotic prescription drugs and their active compounds.
For the lower number (and more severe) penalty groups, all forms of possession can be a felony. For Penalty Group 4, you would need to have more than 28 grams or roughly an ounce to face felony charges. These offenses can lead to years of incarceration, massive fines and a lifetime saddled with a drug conviction record.
Fighting drug offenses can take many forms
Those facing drug charges might challenge the evidence against them as inaccurate or the actions of police as illegal. They could also request adjudication in the drug courts to seek treatment instead of incarceration.
Understanding the charges against you, the evidence the state has and the penalties you face will be the first step in making an educated decision about how to handle drug possession charges. Even if you face the lowest possible charges, fighting back is often a good decision.