Types of Drug Charges in Austin, Texas
If you are caught with a controlled substance, you could face different charges based on the circumstances of your case. Some of the most common types of drug charges in Austin, Texas, include:
- Possession – Possession is defined as “actual care, custody, control, or management.” Possession could involve marijuana, a controlled substance in Penalty Groups 1-4, schedule 1 or schedule 2 drugs, or drug paraphernalia, which includes items used to grow, distribute, or ingest drugs. A person commits an offense of possession if they knowingly or willingly possess the substance without a legitimate prescription.
- Distribution – Many situations can lead to a charge of distribution of controlled substances, including simply sharing a legitimately prescribed drug, cannabis, or a controlled substance with a friend.
- Interstate and international drug trafficking – This involves the manufacturing, delivery, distribution, or transportation of illegal drugs across state lines or a national border, such as Texas’s 1,254-mile border with Mexico.
- Cultivation and manufacturing – It is illegal to grow a drug organically or produce it through manufacturing.
- Maintaining a house where drugs are sold or kept – An individual whose home is used for drug possession, manufacturing, sale, or distribution could face a range of drug charges, even if they themselves did not participate or interact with the drugs.
- Illegal internet narcotics sales – An individual who buys, sells, or ships illegal drugs or prescription drugs over the internet could be charged with a wide range of drug trafficking charges, depending on the circumstances.
- Illegal possession of prescription drugs – Simply possessing prescription drugs without a legitimate prescription is a crime in Texas.
- Money laundering – Money laundering is the concealment of the origins of money gained through illegal means, such as selling drugs.
Potential Defenses to a Charge of Drug Law Violations in Texas
To secure a conviction on drug charges, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knowingly or intentionally committed that crime and that the substance was indeed illegal according to Texas drug laws.
For example, suppose you are accused of illegally possessing oxycodone. In that case, the state must prove that you knowingly possessed the drug and did not obtain it through a legal prescription. Depending on the circumstances of the charges against you, your lawyer may be able to deploy one or more of the following defenses:
- You had a valid prescription for the drug – If you had a valid prescription for the drug in question, it cannot be classified as a “controlled substance” under Texas law.
- You didn’t possess the drug – To prove possession, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you knowingly or intentionally carried or had access to the drug. Showing that the drug did not belong to you or that you were unaware of its existence would undermine the state’s case.
- You were the victim of police misconduct – Police misconduct can take many forms, including falsification of evidence, brutality, or coerced confession. Suppose your lawyer can prove that the police acted illegally or abused their power. In that case, they could potentially have the case dismissed on constitutional grounds.
- Probation – Depending on the charges and your criminal history, you may be able to seek probation for a drug crime. Specifically, suppose you are charged with possession of an illegal drug in an amount less than 1 gram (a state jail felony) and have not had any prior felony convictions. In that case, you could be granted probation instead of jail time.
- Drug diversion – Depending on the charge, your criminal history, and the county in which you are charged, you may be able to pursue a drug diversion program. These programs are designed to rehabilitate first-time drug offenders, reduce the likelihood of subsequent offenses, and improve the overall administration of the courts.
- Entrapment – Entrapment is a defense in which you admit to committing the crime only because you were induced or lured by a law enforcement officer.
- Search and seizure violation – The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches or seizures. For police to conduct a legal search of your vehicle, home, or person, the police must have probable cause or a warrant, depending on the circumstances. If the police conducted an illegal search, whatever evidence they found could be suppressed in court, leaving prosecutors without enough evidence to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Other Potential Ways to Secure a More Favorable Outcome
An experienced Austin drug crime lawyer can identify and pursue other approaches, methods, and strategies to reduce or minimize the consequences of a drug charge. For example, the prosecutor and your attorney may negotiate a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge and agrees to a lighter punishment; in exchange, the more serious charges against them are dropped. Because there are advantages and disadvantages to accepting a plea deal, it is important to work with an experienced Austin drug crime attorney.
What Can I Do If I’m Charged with a Drug Law Violation?
Suppose you were charged with violating a drug law in Texas. In that case, the most important thing you can do is to refuse to answer any questions from the police without a lawyer present. Not only is this vital to your defense, but it is also your constitutional right. The sooner you engage the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney, the sooner you gain the legal protections they can provide – and the sooner your lawyer can get to work building a case in your defense.
When your life, livelihood, and future are on the line, you need an attorney. One who understands the state’s drug laws, genuinely cares about you and your situation, aggressively advocates for your rights and interests, and isn’t afraid to fight for you at trial.
How Our Austin, Texas, Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You
For over 50 years, the Austin drug crime lawyers at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., have stood up to prosecutors and protected the rights of clients like you. Contact us today to discuss your case with a compassionate, experienced member of our team.