The Basics of Drug Trafficking Laws in Texas
March 8th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime
Drug trafficking is a serious offense in the Lone Star State and is punishable by thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison. While there are several ways in which a person can be charged with drug trafficking, the justice system generally will not charge a person for trafficking unless a large amount of drugs was found on him or her. The distinction in amounts of drugs is paramount, as if the amount is less than “trafficking amounts,” a charge may be reduced to possession, which carries are far less severe punishment than a trafficking conviction. If you were found with large amounts of narcotics on you, and if you were charged with drug trafficking, you stand a lot to lose, including several years of your future. Do not risk getting a trafficking conviction and retain the help of Houston drug crimes lawyer right away.
What is Considered “Drug Trafficking” in Texas?
According to the United Nations Office on Drug Crimes, drug trafficking refers to the “cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws.” Those drugs include:
- Powder or crack cocaine; or
- Prescription drugs such as oxycodone.
The trafficking laws are in place to prevent drug dealers and smugglers from manufacturing and distributing the aforementioned substances, and not necessarily to prosecute “everyday users.” Though drug abuse is also not condoned by state or federal lawmakers, it is not harmful to anyone but the user him or herself and so therefore does not warrant the punishments that come with a trafficking conviction.
Many people assume that drug trafficking charges cannot be applied in situations in which there was not an intent to sell. This is not true. If a person has large amounts of controlled substances on him or her, lawmakers may still assume that the goal is to distribute those substances and so charge the individual with drug trafficking. A person may also be charged with drug trafficking if he or she is caught with:
- Individual plastic bags, such as those used to divide up drugs;
- Large amounts of cash; and/or
- Scales or devices used to weigh drugs.
While several pounds of marijuana may not necessarily amount to drug trafficking charges, several pounds, baggies used to divide, and a scale might indicate the intent to sell and result in a trafficking conviction.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Texas
A person who is charged with drug trafficking in Texas may face state or federal consequences or both. For instance, if a person is caught smuggling drugs over the state border, he or she may face both the state and federal charges. However, a person who was caught selling drugs within the borders of Texas may only face federal charges. While penalties vary depending on the type and amount of drug a person is caught with, a trafficking sentence may carry no less than 180 days in jail but up to 99 years in prison, and a fine of between $2,000 and $250,000. The exact punishments per drug can be found in sections 481.112, 481.1121, 481.113, and 481.114, Texas Health and Safety Code. Each penalty may be enhanced if the defendant is found in possession of a firearm or committed another crime while in the possession of large amounts of the controlled substance.
Your Defense Begins With an Experienced Galveston Drug Crimes Attorney
If you are charged with drug trafficking in Houston, Galveston, or League City, your future may be at risk. In addition to jail time and hefty fines, you may find it difficult to obtain gainful employment, find decent housing, and maintain healthy relationships once you have completed your sentence. Defend your reputation and protect your future by working with an experienced Houston drug crimes lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates now to get started (281) 280-0100.