Texas Drug Charges Lawyer
Felony Drug Charge Defense — Houston, Clear Lake, Galveston, League City, Texas
Clear Lake, Texas, criminal defense attorney, Tad Nelson, has successfully defended individuals charged with state and federal drug crimes. If you have been arrested on any drug charge, the consequences can be serious, ranging from significant fines and mandatory treatment to lengthy terms in either the state penitentiary or federal prison. The charges and penalties vary according to the amount and type of drug. It is critical that you have an experienced drug crimes attorney to defend you, protect your rights, and ensure the best possible outcome in a drug crime case. Tad Nelson has many years of experience defending people against all types of drug charges. Contact the Clear Lake drug charge attorney. Call (281) 280-0100.
Texas Felony Drug Charge Attorney
Tad Nelson has defended individuals charged with a wide range of drug offenses, some of which are listed here.
- Drug possession
- Drug possession with intent to deliver
- Drug cultivation
- Using the telephone to facilitate a drug sale
- Using a weapon during a trafficking offense
- Illegal sale of a controlled substance
- Drug manufacture
- Trafficking or sale
What Are Possible Defenses to Drug Crimes in Texas?
Anyone who has been arrested for drug crimes in Texas needs to seek help from our experienced Houston drug crimes defense lawyer. Depending upon the specific offense, and whether this is your first time facing criminal charges or you already have a criminal record, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony charges. Under the Texas Penal Code, both misdemeanors and felonies can result in jail time or imprisonment and substantial fines. Even possession of a small amount of marijuana can result in Class B misdemeanor charges and possession of a larger quantity or different type of drug in more serious charges. Even a Class B misdemeanor conviction can result in up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. For possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana and other drug offenses, you could be facing a second-degree felony offense that could result in up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Your defense strategy will depend upon a number of issues that are particular to your cases, such as the type of drug and its penalty group under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, the amount of the drug in question, and the specific crime you are being accused of committing. The following are defenses that may be applicable to your case, but you should always discuss the specifics with an experienced attorney.
1. Fourth Amendment Violation
You have protections against unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If a law enforcement officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you or did not have probable cause to search you, then any drugs that may have been discovered could have been found through an unlawful violation of the Fourth Amendment.
2. Drugs Were Not Yours or You Did Not Know the Drugs Were in Your Possession
If the drug was found in the car you were driving or the residence you were staying in, you may be able to prove that the drugs were not yours and that you had no knowledge of their presence in the vehicle or home.
Sometimes drug arrests happen because one person is driving another person’s vehicle without knowledge that drugs are in the glove box, for example. If you did not know that the drugs were in the vehicle you were driving or otherwise in your possession, you may have a good defense.
3. You Had a Valid Prescription for the Drug or Were Lawfully in Possession
Certain drugs are unlawful to possess without a prescription but can be possessed legally with a valid prescription. While you may be accused of unlawful possession of a specific drug because you do not have proof that you were lawfully in possession of it, you may be able to provide proof that you had a prescription or a medical condition that allowed you to use the substance.
Some drug crimes involve possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, especially drugs that fall into Penalty Group I (like Vicodin or OxyContin), Penalty Group III (such as Xanax or Klonopin), and Penalty Group IV (such as morphine or codeine). If you can prove that you had a valid prescription for the drug at the time of your arrest, you may be able to beat the charges.
4. Alleged Drug is Not Actually a Controlled Substance
In order to be arrested for, charged with, and convicted of a drug crime, the prosecution will need to be able to prove that the alleged drug in question is actually an unlawful substance under the Texas Controlled Substances Act. In some cases, you may be able to argue that the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence, especially if the confiscated substance was tainted in the course of your arrest. Or, you may be able to present evidence to prove that the alleged drug is in fact something other than an unlawful controlled substance.
Entrapment is a common defense for drug crimes. If the police or another law enforcement officer or member of a government agency convinced you to purchase drugs or engage in any other drug offense, you may be able to beat the charges by raising the affirmative defense of entrapment.
What Ultimately Happens to the Drugs Confiscated by Police?
Every day there are dozens of people arrested for drug crimes in Houston and throughout Texas. Most of these charges relate to simple possession of illegal drugs allegedly found on the defendant. So what happens when the police actually confiscate something they believe to be illegal narcotics?
Using Drugs as Evidence
First and foremost, the seized drugs are evidence and must be handled in a certain manner. Local police will generally take suspected drugs to a crime laboratory. There the substance can be weighed and tested to confirm it is in fact an illegal drug.
Weighing is important because the nature of a drug charge often depends on the amount. For example, in Texas a person caught possessing two ounces or less of marijuana faces a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. But if she is caught with three ounces, as opposed to two, those maximum penalties are doubled.
After weighing and testing, the drugs must be kept in a secure lockup facility. It is critical that police restrict access and keep a detailed log of who has handled the drugs at all times. If there is any gap in the “chain of custody,” a defense lawyer may cite that as grounds to exclude the drugs as evidence at the defendant’s trial.
Incinerating Drugs After Trial
But what about once the trial is over and the defendant has either been acquitted or convicted? Obviously the defendant will not get the drugs back even if he is found not guilty. Depending on the case, Texas law enforcement agencies will generally keep any illegal drugs in storage for 2 to 3 years or until a judge orders their destruction.
Drugs are typically destroyed by incineration. The actual process takes place once or twice a year depending on local policy. Special incinerators must be used to ensure compliance with federal and state environmental laws. For this and other reasons, many Texas police departments use outside contractors who are licensed to handle hazardous materials.
Contact a Texas Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing drug charges, you need an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer on your side. Our firm can tailor a defense strategy to fit the specific facts of your case, and we will do everything in our power to help you avoid criminal penalties and to avoid the long-term consequences of having a criminal record for drug-related offenses in the state of Texas. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today to begin working on your defense with one of our aggressive Texas drug crimes defense attorneys.
Tad Nelson defends people against these charges involving heroin, marijuana, cocaine, crack, meth, ecstasy, and other drugs and controlled substances. If you have been charged with any level of drug crime, contact a knowledgeable drug crimes defense lawyer. Call Tad Nelson at (281) 280-0100.
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*The Texas Board of Legal Specialization certifies attorneys in 20 specific areas of law; certification in any of these areas requires substantial demonstrated experience and skill, positive peer evaluations, ongoing legal education commitments, and the passage of a rigorous test.