There is a common misconception that those accused of drug crimes in Texas are all hardened criminals. In reality, many people indicted for a drug-related offense either struggle with substance abuse disorders or make seemingly minor mistakes that lead to their prosecution.
For example, there is a surprisingly common assumption that people can do whatever they want after obtaining a prescription medication from a pharmacy. If they don’t use all of their pain pills, they might think it is perfectly reasonable to share them with a neighbor or sell them to a family member or co-worker. However, if they get caught in the act of transferring the medication, they could very well end up arrested for what seems like an act of kindness or frugality. Even if they avoid arrest at the time of the transfer, there is always the possibility that the person who receives their medication will break the law or overdose.
Either of those scenarios could lead to the person who provided the medication facing arrest and prosecution. The state may view their transfer of medication as drug delivery, which could very well lead to felony charges.
How does Texas penalize drug delivery?
State drug laws give judges quite a bit of discretion when responding to allegations of drug delivery or trafficking. There are two factors that will have a very strong influence on someone’s sentence. The first is the classification of the drugs. Controlled narcotics, such as opioid pain medications, often carry very harsh penalties. Other medications, ranging from erectile dysfunction drugs to muscle relaxants could also trigger serious penalties.
The courts will also look at the overall weight of the drugs involved in the transfer. The higher the overall weight, the harsher the possible consequences. The judge will use their discretion during sentencing to impose penalties that they believe are appropriate. However, there is no guarantee of lenience just because someone has no prior record.
Delivery of less than one gram of the highest-risk drugs could lead to up to two years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Between one and four grams could mean up to 20 years in prison. Less than 28 grams of drugs in the lowest category, such as prescription stimulants, could lead to up to two years in prison. Judges sometimes do hand down maximum sentences for first-time offenses related to drug delivery.
It is, therefore, crucial for those accused of violating controlled substances law in Texas to respond appropriately given the severity of the risks at hand. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about Texas state law is the first step toward fighting back against allegations of drug crimes in strategic ways.