Were you or a loved one charged with cocaine possession or distribution in Texas?
If you’re facing criminal charges for cocaine possession or distribution in Texas, then it’s vital that you understand just how serious and precarious your situation is.
Texas penalties for cocaine possession and distribution are harsh. In fact, Texas cocaine laws are so strict that all criminal cases involving cocaine are charged at the felony level.
If you possess even 1 gram of cocaine, you could be looking at a multiple years’ prison sentence and a substantial fine.
It’s important not to bury your head in the sand or hope that the charges against you will simply go away. The best thing that you can do right now to help your situation is to contact an experienced Texas drug defense attorney to start working on your defense.
What are Texas’ cocaine possession laws and penalties?
In Texas, there are no misdemeanor cocaine charges. This means that any amount of cocaine in your possession means you will face felony charges under Texas Health and Safety Code 481.115. Under this law, you can be charged if you had “actual care, custody, control or management” of cocaine.
While any amount of possession of cocaine is charged as a felony, the potential punishments for cocaine possession in Texas vary depending upon the amount you were allegedly carrying.
- Less than 1 gram. If an individual is caught with less than 1 gram of cocaine, then they can be charged with a state jail felony that has a prison sentence of 6 months to 2 years.
- 1 gram to less than 4 grams. Possession of 1 gram or up to 4 grams of cocaine is a third-degree felony. If you are found guilty, you could be fined as much as $10,000 and be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.
- 4 grams to less than 200 grams. Second-degree felony charges may be lodged against you if you are found in possession of between 4 grams and up to 200 grams of cocaine, which could lead to spending 20 years in prison.
- 200 grams to less than 400 grams. People who are caught with between 200 and 400 grams of cocaine can be charged with a first-degree felony. A fine of $100,000 and a prison sentence ranging from 10 to 99 years are common in these cases.
- 400 grams or more. The stiffest penalties are reserved for people who are caught with at least 400 grams of cocaine in their possession. The penalties for this offense include a $250,000 fine and between 15-99 years in prison.
Whichever charges you face, you should have an experienced drug defense attorney by your side to fight to have the charges dropped, dismissed or reduced.
What are the penalties for cocaine distribution in Texas?
Whether it’s called distribution, delivering, trafficking or selling, offenders face extremely severe penalties for violating Texas’ cocaine trafficking laws. Once again, the punishments are classified according to the amount of cocaine that was being distributed or trafficked; however, the consequences are even more severe.
For instance, selling less than 1 gram of cocaine may involve a prison sentence of 180 days to 2 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. If you are charged at the second-degree felony level, then you may be looking at up to 20 years in prison. At the first-degree felony level, the penalties range from 10 to 99 years in prison, as well as fines of up to $100,000.
An individual who is caught distributing more than 400 grams of cocaine may be fined as much as $250,000 and receive a prison sentence between 15 and 99 years.
Defense strategies against Texas cocaine charges
Clearly, Texas penalties for cocaine are incredibly serious, so you may be asking:
What can I do if I’ve been charged with cocaine possession or distribution?
Most people who face cocaine charges in Texas feel scared, confused and hopeless. They worry that their life is over, and they feel certain that they have no options. This is why it’s critical to engage a defense attorney as soon as possible. Experienced drug crime attorney Matt Sharp can utilize several strategies to help his clients.
For example, he may be able to argue that you didn’t know that you had cocaine in your possession. This defense strategy is frequently used when drugs are found in a car or home that is occupied by more than 1 individual. In such cases, we can force prosecutors to provide evidence that each occupant of the car or home had joint custody or control over the cocaine, which can be extraordinarily difficult.
Another possible defense is that the police used an illegal search and seizure to find the drugs. All Americans enjoy constitutional protections against such actions by authorities. One of the most important of these is the Fourth Amendment, which grants Americans the right to privacy. This means that a police officer must have reasonable suspicion or a search warrant in order to search you, your car or your premises for drugs. Evidence that is obtained illegally is not admissible in court, and this may be critical to having the charges against you reduced or dropped.
If this is your first felony arrest, you also may be eligible for deferred adjudication. This is a plea deal in which you don’t contest the charges against you in exchange for agreeing to perform community service, attending a drug counseling program and spending some time on probation.
When to hire an experienced Texas cocaine defense attorney
If you are facing felony cocaine charges in Texas, then contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp. With his experience, knowledge and skill at defending people against serious drug charges, Matt Sharp is prepared to vigorously defend your rights before the court to secure the best possible outcome.