The possession, sale, and trafficking of cocaine is illegal in all 50 states. There are even federal laws against it. But, in Texas, the penalties for the possession and sale of cocaine will depend on the amount in question. This can lead to some time in jail along with monetary fines. Possessing even the smallest amount of cocaine (less than 1 gram) can lead to felony charge, which can result in a sentence of up two years in prison. Having more than 200 grams of cocaine in your possession can result in a prison sentence of up to 99 years, but some Texas counties offer diversion programs for first-time cocaine offenders in exchange for having the charges dropped.
Laws Related to Cocaine Possession in Texas
The term “possession” refers to the “actual care, custody, control, or management” of a substance. To be guilty of possession, you must intentionally or knowingly have cocaine on your person. But, if you had no intention of possessing cocaine, you might be able to avoid a conviction. The level of punishment for the possession of cocaine in Texas will depend on the amount of which you were found in possession. Here are some of the punishment ranges for cocaine possession in the State of Texas:
- Having less than 1 gram of cocaine in your possession is considered a state jail felony, which can lead to a prison sentence from six months to two years. You also have the option of getting a deferred adjudication or a regular probation, especially if you haven’t had any prior felony convictions.
- Having 1-4 grams of cocaine in your possession is considered a third-degree felony.
- Having 4-200 grams of cocaine in your possession is considered a second-degree felony.
- Having 200-400 grams of cocaine in your possession is considered a first-degree felony.
If you were found in possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine, it can lead to 10-99 years in prison and a possible fine of up $100,000.
Laws Related to Cocaine Delivery in Texas
According to the Texas Health and Safety Code, delivery means to “transfer, actually of constructively, to another a controlled substance, counterfeit substance, or drug paraphernalia” regardless of whether you have a relationship with an agency. The delivery can be actual (which includes a hand-to-hand exchange) or constructive (which occurs when you have committed an act that helps someone else to be in possession of cocaine). So, if you leave several grams of cocaine at a “drop point” for another person to come and pick it up, it will be considered a constructive delivery of cocaine.
Cocaine delivery charges are punished according to the weight in which you were delivering. For less than one gram, you can face 180 days to 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. If you were found delivering more than 400 grams of cocaine, you can get a prison sentence between 15 and 99 years and a possible fine of up to $250,000. You could even face life imprisonment.
Laws Related to Cocaine Manufacturing in Texas
Like possession and delivery, the term “manufacturing” has a specific definition in Texas Law. It includes the “production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, processing, creating, packaging, or labeling” of cocaine (which can refer to both natural and chemical methods). Offenses related to the manufacturing of cocaine are also punished according to its weight, and they apply to delivery offenses as well. Manufacturing less than one gram of cocaine will result in 180 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000, while manufacturing more than 400 grams of cocaine can lead to-15-99 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000. You could even get life imprisonment.
Enhancements to Cocaine Offenses in Texas
There may be certain enhancements or extra penalties for cocaine-related offenses in Texas, depending on whether the activity was done for money or where it took place. If it happened on school property, on any building that’s leased or owned by centers for higher education, within 1,000 feet of school property, or on a school bus, a felony offense can go up one level (which can lead to longer prison sentences and even higher fines).
Defending Against Cocaine Offenses in Texas
Most of the evidence with regard to cocaine offenses comes from searches and surveillance conducted by law enforcement, which are limited by both the U.S. and Texas State Constitutions. Any law enforcement activities that violate either of these documents or aren’t conducted according to Federal and State Law can result in the exclusion of any evidence that was discovered during these operations.
One of the most important limitations is the protection of individuals from unreasonable searches. They usually have to present evidence to a judge that establishes “probable cause,” so he or she can issue a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment also requires law enforcement officers to have “reasonable suspicion” that you committed or are about to commit a crime before they can pull your car over. So, they must have more to go on than just a “hunch” (unless you consent to the search).
If you’re facing cocaine charges and you need a criminal defense lawyer in Corpus Christi to help you with your case, be sure to get in touch with Gale Law Group.