Texas shares a border with Mexico that’s 1,254 miles long, and it follows the course of the Rio Grande River. A large part of it is open and isn’t capable of being continuously monitored by border enforcement agencies, so it’s used extensively by drug trafficking organizations (DTO’s) to smuggle illegal drugs into the country. Large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are smuggled into Texas from Mexico. In fact, data from the Federal-Wide Drug Seizure System (FDSS) show that the amount of drugs seized by federal law enforcement in the State of Texas (most of which are at or near the US-Mexico border) is more than that of any other state in the country.
If you have been accused of drug trafficking in Texas, you may have a lot of questions. But, here are some that have been frequently asked by clients.
What is the definition of drug trafficking in Texas?
Drug trafficking refers to the transport or distribution of illegal or controlled substances (such as heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine). You can also face drug trafficking charges in Texas if you transport or sell prescription drugs (such as oxycodone). Drug trafficking in Texas also includes the crime of drug possession, because you need to have drugs in your possession to distribute it. Drug trafficking is also considered a felony criminal offense according to Federal Law.
What is the difference between drug trafficking and drug possession?
If the police arrest you and find an illegal substance in your possession, they will most likely charge you with drug possession. But, prosecutors may try to use circumstantial evidence to prove that you were planning to sell or distribute the drugs. They may try to show the courts that a large number of plastic baggies, scales, and other items that would be considered “drug paraphernalia” proves that you were planning to package and distribute a controlled substance. The penalties for drug possession aren’t as harsh as the ones for drug trafficking, which is why you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Corpus Christi to help you with your case.
What is the difference between drug transporting and drug distribution?
Drug transporting is the act of moving a controlled substance in a vehicle from one place to another and would be considered a type of drug trafficking in Texas. Drug distribution is the act of transferring a controlled substance from one person to another. You don’t have to be moving it in a vehicle or go anywhere yourself to be charged. Transferring drugs from one person to another in any way would be considered distribution and is also considered to be a type of drug trafficking in Texas.
What is drug possession with the intent to distribute?
The State of Texas must be able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you intentionally or knowingly had drugs in your possession because you were planning to distribute them to at least one other person. And no matter what kind of drug trafficking charges you’re facing, the penalties will be severe.
What are the penalties for drug trafficking charges in the State of Texas?
The penalties for drug trafficking in Texas will vary according to the amount you had in your possession. Here is a list of the amounts and penalties for drug trafficking in the State of Texas:
- Less than 1 gram: A third-degree felony that carries a penalty of 2-10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
- Between 1 and 3.99 grams: A second-degree felony that carries a penalty of 2-20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
- Between 4 and 199 grams: A first-degree felony that carries a penalty of 5-99 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
- Between 200 and 399 grams: A first-degree felony that carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a fine of $100,000.
- Over 400 grams: A first-degree felony that carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The Texas drug trafficking laws will differ slightly for each type of controlled substance in different schedules, but all of them will be based on the amount of drugs that are in question. Federal charges and penalties may also apply in drug trafficking cases, which are much more severe than state penalties. The prison sentences are longer, and the fines can get into the millions.
What are some of the possible defenses for drug trafficking charges?
You will need to seek the help of a qualified attorney if you want to fight any kind of drug trafficking charges, but here are some possible defenses used in these kinds of cases:
- The arresting officer didn’t follow protocol.
- The evidence is invalid because a warrant wasn’t used.
- The narcotics officer may have violated your rights by delaying you for a drug dog.
- The amount of drug in question is incorrect.
Because of the seriousness of these charges, it’s important to seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer in Corpus Christi. At Gale Law Group, we have a team of people who will fight for you and your rights. Feel free to get in touch with us for more information about how we can help you with your case!