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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
While many states have taken steps to liberalize their illegal drug laws, Texas is not one of them. The mere possession of an illegal substance, even marijuana, is still a crime. The punishments for these allegations can involve significant jail time and heavy fines. However, many defenses are available against allegations of drug crimes.
A knowledgeable attorney can work diligently to defend an individual against accusations of drug crimes ranging from simple possession to the manufacture and distribution of large quantities of drugs. Using evidentiary motions and effective trial work, a Plainview drug lawyer aims to discredit the State’s case at every turn.
Drug Laws in Plainview
Texas’ drug laws are in the Health and Safety Code under the Controlled Substances Act. Even the simple possession of a trace amount of a controlled substance is illegal. However, any person facing charges of the selling or manufacture of these substances is subject to enhanced penalties. The first step in any drug case is to identify the substance as a controlled substance.
The list of a controlled substance is lengthy but generally includes any substance defined as a narcotic, hallucinogen, or opioid. However, the possession or distribution of a prescription drug without a valid script is also against the law.
Once this is done, the prosecution will consider the total amount of the drug. Sections 481.115, 481.116, 481.117, and 481.118 of the Controlled Substance Act outline the penalties and definitions of illegal drug possession. The potential penalties vary depending upon the total amount and type of drugs. In general, the most serious drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, carry the harshest penalties and can require mandatory jail sentences.
The distribution and manufacture of illegal drugs are the most serious drug offenses. Once again, the type and quantity of the drug influence the potential penalties. The most serious accusations can result in a first-degree felony offense carrying a potential life sentence. Speak with a Plainview drug lawyer to learn more.
Building a Defense
Drug cases are unusual criminal cases in that they rely heavily on warrants. It is rare for the police to witness a drug sale and to have probable cause to make an arrest based on their personal observations.
Instead, the case must often rely upon the use of informants who supply information that leads to the application for a search warrant. Warrants must be properly applied for and correctly executed for the evidence seized in a search to be admissible. If they are not, the arrest may not have been legal.
Drug cases are also dependent upon scientific evidence. A prosecutor cannot show the jury a bag of powder and tell them that it is heroin. Instead, the substance must be analyzed and testified to in court by an expert. If an expert or analysis can be discredited, a person may have a valid defense.
Finally, a Plainview drug lawyer can defend drug cases by arguing that the search that obtained the drugs was illegally conducted. In many possession cases, police arrest a person on the street or after a traffic stop. People have the right to be free from unreasonable searches. If an individual can show the court that a traffic stop that led to a search was illegal to begin with, all evidence obtained during that search must be excluded.
A Plainview Drug Attorney is Here to Help
For many people, accusations of drug possession are their first and only interaction with the criminal courts. Because of this, they are confused and scared as to what may happen. Indeed, any drug offense carries a potential jail term.
Anyone facing these charges needs to form a powerful defense that protects their rights and gives them the best chance of a positive outcome. A Plainview drug lawyer can work with individuals to tell their side of the story and to fight back against accusations of drug possession, manufacture, or distribution. Contact an attorney today to see how they can help you.