Houston Criminal Law Blog

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Accused of Cocaine: Take Action or Get Labeled a Felon

Getting arrested for cocaine possession in Texas can lead to harsh consequences for defendants who do not have adequate legal representation. Case in point: A woman in Midland was arrested in May after police officers discovered four grams of cocaine in her vehicle; she is now facing up to 20 years in prison since the traffic stop took place just down the street from a charter school.

Accused of Cocaine Take Action or Get Labeled a FelonWhen it comes to sentencing and punishment for drug possession, the Lone Star State is notoriously harsh in comparison to other jurisdictions. Whereas other states are starting to reassess their role on the War on Drugs and the burden it has brought to their judicial and correctional systems, Texas is still known as a tough jurisdiction for drug offenders.

Cocaine Possession Laws in Texas

Unlike the federal criminal justice system, Texas does not enhance offenders who are charged with possession of freebase crack cocaine instead of its powdered, hydrochloride form. However, cocaine is grouped together with other drugs that carry harsh penalties for possession thereof.

Punishment for cocaine possession is based on the weight of the substance confiscated by police, which may include adulterants that the active ingredient is often cut with. This means that even though a single bag of cocaine obtained at the street level may only contain 20 percent cocaine hydrochloride, the entire weight of the substance in the bag will be considered for prosecution purposes.

This is how the Texas Penal Code classifies cocaine possession punishments:

  • Less than One Gram – Fourth degree felony
  • One to Four Grams – Third degree felony
  • Between Four and 200 Grams – Second degree felony
  • Between 200 and 400 Grams – First degree felony

All felony offenses in Texas call for prison sentences to be served at a Texas State Jail or an institutional facility administered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Not all jail terms are mandatory and might even be used by some criminal defense attorneys for the purpose of negotiating with prosecutors.

Defense Strategies in Crack Possession Cases

Cocaine possession cases in Texas often seem heavy-handed due to the various enhancements tacked on by law enforcement agents and prosecutors. In the example cited above, the Midland woman may see her original third-degree felony charges upgraded because her vehicle was stopped by police almost in front of a school. In some cases, these enhancements are added to intimidate defendants and push them towards a plea bargain; however, this may not be such a great deal after all.

Skilled and experienced criminal defense attorneys in Texas do not jump at the chance of a plea bargain. They will take a close look at the facts and circumstances of the case to formulate the best outcome, which may include removing enhancements of delivery and trafficking in order to reduce the charge to a lesser felony grade.

Fight Stardust Accusations

If Texans are known for one thing, it’s fighting for their rights. If you have been accused of doing drugs, then it’s important that you hire a sex crimes attorney today. Allow Matthew D. Sharp to defend your case by calling 713-868-6100.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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