Drug-Free Zone in Texas
Drug offenses are taken seriously under state and federal law. With the ongoing opioid crisis, states are working hard to fight addiction and are giving tough punishments to those who make, move, or sell illegal drugs. Texas has designated areas as drug-free zones, where law enforcement strictly bans the controlled substances, use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs. If you are facing drug activity charges in a drug-free zone, here’s what you should expect in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Texas Drug-Free Zone Definition
Under Section 481.134 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act, specific places and establishments are identified as drug-free zones by law. These zones are usually places where kids who are under 18 gather. These zones are typically located near places where children congregate, such as schools, parks, and daycare centers. The main objective of drug-free zones is to protect vulnerable populations, particularly children, from the harmful effects of drug-related activities.
Where is the Drug-Free Zone?
According to Texas law, you are in a drug-free zone whenever you are within 1,000 feet of these locations:
- School zones such as public or private elementary, and secondary schools.
- Public or private higher educational institutions, such as universities and colleges.
- Public or private youth centers and daycare centers.
The offense occurred within 300 feet of these locations:
- Video arcade facilities.
- School buses are used for operational purposes.
- Open to the public swimming pools
Enhance Penalties for Violating Drug-Free Zone
If you’re caught with drugs in a Texas drug-free zone, the legal consequences are much more severe. Simply put, the severity of the offense increases penalties by one level.
For example, having less than a gram of cocaine is usually considered a state jail felony. If you’re caught with the same amount of drugs in a drug-free zone, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. Additionally, having a significant amount of drugs with the intent to sell can lead to a massive $250,000 fine and the possibility of life imprisonment.
Texas Drug-Free Zone Exceptions
In many states, individuals arrested for drug offenses in private residences near drug-free zones might encounter more severe penalties. Nonetheless, there are exemptions to these zones in Texas:
- If the drug offense occurs within a private home.
- When there are no children under 18 present in the residence.
- When medical marijuana or prescription medications are used as prescribed.
- When the school bus is not in operation or when the offense does not involve children.
- Certain people, like police officers, school staff, and medical professionals, might not face the severe penalties associated with drug-free zones when they are performing their official responsibilities.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
If you or someone you know has been arrested for possessing, selling, or making controlled substances in a drug-free zone, it’s crucial to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney.
In the courtroom, our seasoned attorney adopts a thorough and assertive approach. We leave no stone unturned when preparing your defense and vigorously represent your interests.
At Texas Criminal Defense Group, we understand the gravity of these charges and are committed to assisting you in every possible way. We strive to minimize the consequences of these charges on your life and future. While legal matters can be complex, having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can make a significant difference in your case.