We provide Excellent Service and Strategic Defense.

How do drug conspiracy charges work in Texas?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Drug Crimes

Texas, with its strong stance on crime, treats drug offenses seriously. Drug conspiracy charges add another layer of complexity to a more “traditional” drug case; they allege an agreement between two or more people to commit a drug-related crime. Understanding how these charges work in the Lone Star State can be crucial for individuals facing such accusations.

Texas Penal Code § 15.02 defines criminal conspiracy. It occurs when someone agrees with one or more others to engage in conduct that constitutes a criminal offense. This agreement can be explicit (spoken words) or implicit (actions that imply an understanding).

What the prosecution must prove

Three key elements have to be established for a drug conspiracy conviction: Agreement, knowledge and intent. First, the evidence must show a meeting of the minds between the accused and others to commit a drug crime. Casual conversations or simply being present where drugs are discussed are unlikely to suffice. Secondly, the prosecution needs to demonstrate that the accused knew about the agreement and intended to participate in the planned drug crime.

The underlying drug offense and penalties

Drug conspiracy is a separate charge from the actual drug crime planned or committed. However, the severity of the conspiracy charge is often linked to the underlying drug offense.

State law classifies conspiracy charges one level below the most serious felony involved in the planned crime. For example, if the conspiracy involved trafficking large quantities of cocaine (a first-degree felony), the conspiracy charge would be a second-degree felony.

An introductory breakdown of potential penalties is as follows:

  • State jail felony conspiracy: Punishable by up to 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Third-degree felony conspiracy: Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Second-degree felony conspiracy: Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • First-degree felony conspiracy: Up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000

The specific quantities and types of drugs involved can further impact sentencing.

Facing drug conspiracy charges requires a strong defense strategy. A potential defense avenue can be demonstrating a lack of agreement to commit a crime by challenging the prosecution’s evidence. Defendants can also argue entrapment by law enforcement.

Drug conspiracy charges in the Lone Star State can result in serious consequences. Understanding the elements of the crime, potential penalties and available defenses is crucial. Individuals facing such charges can benefit from consulting with a qualified legal team to protect their rights and explore potential defense strategies.