Austin Drug Attorney
Serving All Surrounding Areas
From a simple possession of marijuana all the way up to distribution of controlled substances, drug charges are treated seriously in Texas and they can carry lifelong consequences. No matter the offense, you need quality legal representation with your drug charge to get the best outcome.
What are Common Drug Charges in Texas?
Possession of Marijuana
Although Americans have generally warmed up to recreational marijuana use, marijuana is still illegal in Texas and possessing it is a crime.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
For non-marijuana possession offenses, the punishment depends on the amount and category of drug involved. Texas organized drugs into four different “penalty groups.” You can find more information on these penalty groups below.
Drug paraphernalia is a term that essentially includes those items used to grow, manufacture, package, and ingest drugs. They are usually items that have legal everyday uses, such as plastic bags, scales, rolling papers, and water pipes. Officers who suspect that the items are being used for drug-related purposes can charge you with drug paraphernalia charges.
Manufacture or Delivery
A person commits this offense if they knowingly manufacture, deliver, or possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance. The penalty depends on the controlled substance allegedly being delivered and the amount in question.
What are the Drug Penalty Groups in Texas?
Texas categorizes drugs into 4 different penalty categories. The following lists the drugs commonly found under each category, although each category includes a broader list of drugs based on chemical designation:
- Penalty Group 1/1A: Meth, cocaine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, Rohypnol, LSD (1A)
- Penalty Group 2/2A: Ecstasy, MDMA, mushrooms, synthetic marijuana
- Penalty Group 3: Xanax, Barbital, Ritalin, Valium, anabolic steroids
- Penalty Group 4: Includes drugs that can be found over the counter but in higher quantities (such as codeine)
What is the punishment for Drug Charges?
|Class C Misdemeanor||Up to a $500 in fines||Drug Paraphernalia|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines||Possession of marijuana under 2 grams|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in jail and $4,000 in fines||Delivery of marijuana under ¼ ounce for money|
|State Jail Felony||180 days to 2 years in jail and $10,000 in fines||Possession of controlled substance; Manufacture or Delivery*|
|Third Degree Felony||2 to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines||Possession of controlled substance; Manufacture or Delivery*|
|Second Degree Felony||2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines||Possession of controlled substance; Manufacture or Delivery*|
|First Degree Felony||5 to 99 years in prison and $10,000 in fines||Possession of controlled substance; Manufacture or Delivery*|
*The punishment will depend on the amount involved and the drug penalty group of the drug.
Repeat Offender Status and Enhancements
Repeat drug offenders are subject to getting their charge enhanced to the next highest punishment level depending on their current charge and the level of their previous charge. Drug offenses involving children are also subject to harsher punishment.
Other Serious Consequences
On Your Record
A drug conviction—even a Class C misdemeanor—can be a permanent black mark on your record. It can prevent you from getting employed, getting professional licenses, and even from getting housing.
If you are convicted of a felony, then you cannot own or possess a firearm.
Affect Child Custody
Certain drug charges, especially those that may involve child endangerment, can cause the other parent to modify your existing child custody order to limit your access and visitation. Texas Child Protective services may also start an investigation against you.
If you are receiving federal financial aid, you are required to report any drug convictions during your yearly FAFSA renewal. A drug conviction will cause you to lose financial aid and the government may also ask to get reimbursed for any aid received after your conviction.
U.S. immigration laws are very strict against drug convictions. If you are convicted of certain drug charges, you may be found to be deportable and removed from this country.
What Does the State Need to Prove?
The state must prove every single element of the charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
For possession charges, the state must prove that you had knowingly possessed an illegal drug. Possession is defined as actual care, custody, management, or control of the drugs. The state will also need to prove that the substance in your possession was an illegal drug and not something you can lawfully possess, such as a drug lawfully prescribed to you.
For manufacture or delivery charges, the state must prove that you knowingly manufactured, delivered, or possessed with intent to deliver the controlled substance. Delivery and manufacture have their own lengthy definitions under the Texas Health and Safety Code.
How can I defend a drug charge?
Attacking the Elements of the Alleged Crime
One way to defend against drug charges it to attack the elements of the crime. For possession charges, this can mean showing that you did not possess the drugs in question, or proving that the substance you had was not illegal for you to possess.
Attacking the Police’s Search and Seizure
It’s possible to get evidence suppressed if the police violated your constitutional rights during your stop and search. If the drugs are the main evidence against you, getting the drugs suppressed is likely to result in a dismissal.
Discrediting the Lab
Most crime labs are not like as clean and efficient as the labs you see on television. One way to defend your drug case is analyzing the lab test and handling procedures in the lab. This can range from improper testing protocols to the chain of custody of the drugs you allegedly possessed.
Your Best Defense is Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
With jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record on the line, the best route for you to take following a drug charge is to immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you are a first-time offender facing a misdemeanor, you want to fight to keep a drug charge off your record. Your attorney will be able to review all the evidence and push for the best result possible.
What Sets Stephen T Bowling: DWI & Criminal Defense Attorneys Apart?
Our team of Austin Drug Charge Attorneys and support staff are committed to providing exceptional service for our clients. Stephen T Bowling’s desire to start a firm dedicated to defending those that have been arrested is a result of an arrest he experienced when he was in the military. He had a terrible experience with the lack of communication from the attorney he hired. The entire case he was only able to get one call back and never another update on his case.
As such, Stephen T Bowling ensures his staff and attorneys are available for phone calls and always keep you up to date on your case. You can rest assured that we will do everything possible to resolve your drug charge case with a positive result. Using our expertise and experience, we will devote tireless energy advocating as your defense.
Proven Defense by a Former Law Enforcement Officer
Many people who are charged with an Austin drug charge just assume there is no way to fight it. They think the best they can hope for is a smaller fine or a reduction. We focus on defending anyone accused of a drug charge. With the right legal counsel, there are other outcomes. Depending on the facts of the case, what if…
- Instead of making a deal for probation, you never get convicted?
- Instead of having a drug conviction, your record stays clean?
- Instead of cutting bad deals, you get a vigorous defense?
While every case depends on the facts and circumstances at play, mounting an aggressive defense to drug charges may be your best option. The Austin Criminal Defense attorneys at Stephen T Bowling: DWI & Criminal Defense Attorneys, handle all drug cases.
We offer payment plans and accept major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
If you have been arrested…
Your FREEDOM is potentially at stake. A conviction can have a huge impact on your job, relationships, and your future. You need to act fast.
Austin drug crimes and Texas drug offenses also include the unauthorized use, possession or sale of prescription medications such as:
Defense Strategies in Drug Crimes Cases
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest there are a number of defenses the Austin drug attorney at Stephen T Bowling & Associates may use in your defense. With multiple drug attorneys being prior law enforcement we know where to look for errors. A few of the drug defenses we utilize include:
Unreasonable Search & Seizure: The police may have conducted an unreasonable search and seizure if they lacked probable cause to stop you or search your vehicle. Any evidence in your case which was illegally obtained may be thrown out, making it very difficult for the prosecutor to convict you.
No Control or Possession: You may not have had control or possession of the drug. As an example, you are going to the movies with your friends when the police stop the car. One of your friends stashes his drugs under the seat and the police finds them. Your Austin drug attorney can argue you were not in possession of the drugs and had no control over them. Simply being near drugs at the time they are found is not sufficient to establish possession. This applies even if you were aware your friend had drugs.
Lack of knowledge or awareness: Lack of knowledge of the drug is similar to no control or possession. The difference is in this instance you had no knowledge of the existence of the drugs. As an example, you are driving your car and are stopped and searched. A friend had dropped a small amount in the backseat before you dropped him off. The drugs are found in the car. If you truly had no knowledge of the drugs existence, your drug attorney can argue this to the prosecutor.
Valid Prescription: If you were arrested for possession of a prescription drug but later prove you had a valid prescription you cannot be convicted for possession of a controlled substance. However, even with a valid prescription, you can still be charged with intent to sell if you possess significantly more of the controlled substance than normal.
Momentary Possession: You may have only had momentary possession of the controlled substance; perhaps another person handed the drug to you in an effort to keep from getting charged or perhaps you found the drug in your home during or after a party and were about to dispose of it when you were arrested. If you also did not intend to prevent law enforcement from obtaining the controlled substance, then your drug attorney may be able to show you only had momentary possession of the drug.
Lacked Intent to Sell: This defense applies when you are charged with possession with intent to distribute. It is that you simply lacked the intent to sell the controlled substance, instead you possessed the drugs only for your own use.
Several factors go into fighting a drug charge. Your experienced Austin drug attorney will look into your Miranda Rights and if they applied at the time of the arrest. The Right to Remain Silent was is an area that may be violated. The penalties for drug offenses are based on the type and quantity of the drug, whether it was intended for sale, and if the person has any prior convictions.
Let us Answer your Questions
If this is your first time being arrested you may be feeling nervous about what’s next. Our drug defense attorney is happy to explain the process to you, what to expect, the possible outcomes based on your facts, and answer any questions you have with a Free Consultation. We keep you up to date and are in constant communication via our Client Center and phone calls. We fight to get you the second chance you deserve.
If you’ve been arrested on any type of drug charges, the Austin drug attorney at Stephen T Bowling & Associates can provide the aggressive and experienced representation required to fight your charges.
Frequently Asked Questions
Despite efforts by states and cities to eliminate distracted driving, DWI driving is still a big problem. Each day, 29 people in the US die in car crashes caused by a substance-impaired driver. Impaired driving happens when an individual operates a vehicle while under the influence of mind-altering substances such as alcohol, controlled prescription medicines, and illegal drugs.
What Charge Is a DWI in Texas?
For most people, DWI charges mean a driver was at the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. However, a driver in Austin who operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or controlled substances can still face DWI charges. Common drugs related to DWI charges may include
- Marijuana DWI
- Prescription drug DWI
- Controlled substance DWI
If you are a driver in Austin, keep in mind driving while under the influence of prescription medication can lead to a DWI arrest if you meet the statutory definition for intoxication while driving. Significantly, if you take a prescription bill and consume even a glass of liquor, wine, or beer, you could be charged with DWI or DUI or both, even if your BAC test is below the legal limit.
Is it then illegal to drive while using prescription drugs in Texas?
NO. It is not illegal to drive while using prescription medication. However, to avoid DWI charges, you should do so safely and meet the following essential conditions:
- You should have a legal prescription for the medication
- You should not meet the legal definition for intoxication while driving.
According to the Texas Penal Code (TPC), intoxication is a lack of physical or mental ability to safely operate a motor vehicle due to distractions caused by alcohol, illegal drugs, controlled substances, and other substances such as over-the-counter medications. Should the law enforcement officers have reason to believe that you cannot safely operate your car owing to the prescription medication you took, you may face drug DWI charges.
What are the penalties for DWI prescription drugs?
The first charge for DWI drugs in Texas can result in a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 72 hours in jail and up to 180 days in jail and a possible fine of up to $2000. Also, your driving license may be suspended for up to a year.
If you have prior convictions or if the law enforcement determines any aggravating circumstances of your arrest, you may face charges ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.
Another severe consequence of a DWI drug-related charge is a permanent criminal record, which may hamper your efforts to get a decent job, a good school, or a student and business loan. Other additional court-ordered penalties that you may face include:
- Mandatory probation
- Mandatory community service
- Ignition interlock on your car
- Counseling, rehab, or educational courses
How Do The Law Enforcement Officers Prove Prescription Drug Intoxication In Texas?
The law enforcement officers may use the following methods to establish a probable cause for your related DWI arrest:
- Field sobriety tests: Ideally, most prescription drugs may not show up on breathalyzer tests, and police usually use field sobriety tests to prove prescription drug intoxication.
- Blood test: Once you are arrested, you will be requested to submit to a blood test. This test provides critical information on your substance use that can be used to prove your charges.
- Statements: the statements you make can and will be used against you in court. Admitting that you took pain medication, antidepressant, sedative, and all the other prescription medication can be all that a prosecutor needs to convict you of drug-related DWI
Can You Get A DUI for Prescription Drugs?
Although there are variations in each state’s law, the answer is generally yes. You can get DUI charges while operating a vehicle while on prescription drugs. However, to receive a DUI, you meet the following requirements.
- Operating or driving a vehicle
- Intoxicated or under the influence
These requirements may lead to two different types of charges: Per Se DUI Charge or Impairment DUI Charge. A Per Se DUI Charge is based on the concentration of a substance in the driver’s blood, i.e., your blood alcohol count (or BAC). It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 percent or higher in every state. Impairment charges may be preferred if an individual was driving differently and less safely than they usually would. Many prescription drugs can cause impairments in a person.
Can You Get A DUI for Coke?
Coke is a narcotic drug, according to section 13-3401. A DUI with cocaine may attract both an impaired driving count and a per se violation. The penalties for a DUI cocaine offense are similar to those of alcohol-related DUI.
DUI versus DWI in Texas
In case you don’t know, DUI refers to “driving under the influence” while DWI means “driving while intoxicated.” In Texas, a DUI and a DWI refers to a person who operates a vehicle while intoxicated. Generally, DWI is the legal definition of offenses in Texas. Although these terms can be used interchangeably, take note of the following differences:
- Under Texas law, an individual aged 21 and older can be charged with a DWI if they operate a vehicle while legally intoxicated.
- A person under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if they operate a vehicle while legally intoxicated.
Penalties for a DUI may include a $500 fine, a license suspension of up to 60 days, court-determined hours of community service, and compulsory alcohol awareness classes.
DWIs are charged under the Texas Penal Code, which means they are a more severe offense than a DUI. Penalties can range from heavy fines, driver’s license suspension/revocation to time in jail or prison. You should also note that juveniles may still be charged with a DWI for underage drunk driving.
How Can A Prescription DWI Lawyer Help Me?
Our attorneys have years of experience in the Texas criminal justice system. Having a proven record on DWI and DUI cases, we know how to help you or a family member navigate the complexities of your case. We are committed to achieving the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a case evaluation.
Contact Our Austin Drug Attorneys
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for drug charges, the Austin drug defense attorneys at Stephen T Bowling & Associates are here to fight for you. Our drug defense attorneys are happy to explain the process to you, what to expect, the possible outcomes based on your facts, and answer any questions you have with a Free Consultation. Submit a Free Consultation here or call today.
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KEPT US UP TO DATE EACH STEP OF THE WAY
Stephen Bowling, reviewed our case and discussed his recommendations clearly. He kept us up to date each step of the way with continued explanations. He was readily available for questions/concerns through the process. We would reach out to them again in the future for any legal concerns.
VERY COMMUNICATIVE AND VERY UNDERSTANDING
Stephen is Great, Great , Lawyer!! He give you weekly updates on not just your case but also on what’s going on with his firm as well!!! Stephen is also very communicative and very understanding on any situation!! I would hands down Refer Stephen to anyone with any situation!!! Great job Stephen words can’t describe what you have done for me!!!!