San Antonio Drug Crime Lawyers
Caring and Personable Attorneys with Creative Solutions
Being arrested for possession of any controlled substance can be scary. Whether you face a simple misdemeanor possession for marijuana or a first degree felony for a penalty Group One substance, it’s important to understand that drug offenses don’t have to ruin your record or your future. Our firm is led by a team of ethical and compassionate lawyers who start every case with fighting for a dismissal.
What Are the Elements of a Conviction?
The Texas Controlled Substances Act prohibits the possession of illicit controlled substances. However, in order to convict an individual, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed or had control over a controlled drug which they do not have a valid prescription or order for from a doctor for medical purposes.
Most drug cases start with a police stop when the officer has reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed. Most of the time, this involves a traffic offense, which is a permissible stop. Note that in order for an officer to legally conduct a search or any further investigation not directly related to the traffic offense, the officer must have some additional suspicion of another offense. Consent is an easy way for police officers to get around the rule of reasonable suspicion, as if a police officer asks and the individual gives consent to search, the officer can then charge the person with whatever the officer discovers. Allowing a police officer to search does not require them to prove reasonable suspicion and makes their job much easier. With this in mind, if an officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop an individual and the individual did not consent, it is very possible to have the case dismissed due to improper process. In such cases, either a prosecutor will agree and outright dismiss the case, or the case may be pushed to a motion to suppress where a judge may agree that the officer’s conduct was not legal and suppress the evidence, which almost always leads to a dismissal.
Note that an individual must be at least knowingly in possession of an illegal substance to be convicted. If they don’t know that the substance they possess is an illegal substance or if they don’t know they are in possession of it, where possession refers to the care, custody, or control of a substance, knowledge can be another area where the state’s case can fall apart. However, knowledge is typically difficult to prove, and most people are presumed to know what is on their person or in their vehicle. In certain cases, though, this may be a key area to pursue in a person’s defense.
What Are the Penalties and Sentences of a DUI?
Penalties for drug possession in Texas will vary widely based on a few determining factors, such as:
- the type of drug;
- quantity in possession;
- how the drug was stored or concealed;
- possession of drug paraphernalia (a scale, large amounts of money, etc.); and
- past convictions.
The penalty for possession is at the very least a Class B misdemeanor or a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of no more than $4,000, depending on the type of drug. For larger amounts in possession, the penalty can range from a third degree felony to a first degree felony. The highest penalty given in Texas for drug possession is life or 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
Possession of marijuana may be classified as a Class B misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana. However, the penalty can go all the way up to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 for possession of over 2,000 pounds of cannabis.
How Do I Get My Drug Paraphernalia Charges Dropped?
One of the most common ways to dismiss drug paraphernalia charges from a record is to prove that probable cause didn’t exist. If a police officer pulled you over without stop or seizure, the drug charge, in all probability, will be dismissed.
If you have been accused of a drug-related crime in San Antonio, it is critical that you consult an experience lawyer today to defend you against harsh or wrongful charges. Some common defenses against a drug charge you could pursue could be:
- lack of knowledge that the defendant was in possession of the controlled substance;
- the drug was not intended for human consumption;
- the drug was a substance for which there is an approved new drug application under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;
- the drug has been approved for investigational use under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the defendant’s conduct was in accord with that exemption;
- the drug is medical marijuana;
- the drug is a prescribed medication from a medical doctor;
- insufficient quantity.
There are many ways drug offenses can be resolved or combatted, and a knowledgeable attorney in drug offenses and search and seizure law can be the critical difference between a clean record and a conviction. Our attorneys at the Krause Law Firm strive for creative solutions to charges our clients face.