Texas carries a wide range of penalties for defendants facing drug possession or marijuana possession charges. Many people believe they are being offered simple solutions when they see a deal on the table from the prosecutor. The first instinct you might have is to just take the deal and forget about it, even if you are not guilty.
But Texas laws aren't completely forgiving yet with drug charges. Here are three big caveats you need to know about before accepting a deal that lands you with a drug conviction.
1. YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE BECOMES SUSPENDED
A person's driver's license is automatically suspended on final conviction of any drug offense or any offense under the Controlled Substances Act. This means if you take probation with community supervision, your driver's license will be suspended for at least 180 days. Even if you were not operating a vehicle at the time of the charged offense, your driver's license will be suspended. And even if all you pleaded to was a Class C misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia. You'll still lose your driver's license.
2. YOU'LL TAKe AT LEAST 15 HOURS OF IN PERSON DRUG EDUCATION CLASSES FOR EACH CONVICTION (IF YOU WANT YOUR LICENSE BACK)
For each conviction, in addition to losing your license, you'll also be required to complete a 15-hour class in a Texas DLR authorized Drug Education Program. Your license will stay suspended beyond the length of your suspension until all of the hours have been completed.
3. YOUR NEXT CRIMINAL CHARGE MIGHT BE ENHANCED
While the first two consequences are largely inconveniences for most people, it's the third point that really makes it vital to avoid convictions whenever possible.
When you're convicted of a drug charge or crime, the penalty for certain charge levels can be enhanced based on your previous convictions. When your charge is enhanced, your penalty range for prison time also shoots up.
For example, if you are charged with possessing a single gram of a PG 1 drug, like meth, you'd generally be facing 2-10 years in prison. But if you previously had two other felony convictions in some fashion, you'll instead be facing a minimum of 25 years, up to life, in prison.
But maybe you're just a regular Jesse Pinkman. Instead of meth, let's say you were only caught with a little over 4 ounces of marijuana instead. In what would normally have you facing 6 months to 2 years in jail, having two other "State Jail Felony" convictions will increase your penalty range into the 2-10 year range.
Fighting a drug possession charge involves much more than just determining who was near the drugs or who was holding the drugs. It's critical to have an attorney assess not only the facts of your case, but also all the discovery that is in the State's possession.
If you've been arrested for a drug possession crime and wish to have a Texas licensed attorney look over your case, contact our firm to set up a free consultation today.