Common Misconceptions About Drug Charges
March 30, 2023
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, drug abuse arrests in the state total more than 100,000 a year, though in 2020 — the year of the pandemic onset — the statistics took a dramatic drop. Even then, with restrictions and lockdowns due to the virus, there were 302.6 arrests for drug violations for every 100,000 persons.
If you or a loved one is under investigation for, or has been charged with, a drug crime in or around Dallas, Texas, contact Madson Castello Law. Our criminal defense legal team has more than 30 years of criminal defense experience and has defended clients in more than 300 trials. Contact us today for guidance.
We provide personalized service and, with our prior experience in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, we can present your side of the story to prosecutors pre-trial in an effort to get the charges reduced or perhaps dropped. Our firm also serves clients throughout North Texas, including Fort Worth, Denton, and McKinney.
Drug Charges in Texas
Texas takes drug offenses seriously. Even possession of a small amount of marijuana – two ounces or less – is a misdemeanor that can lead to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000, followed by two years of probation. Possession of cocaine under one gram, in contrast, is a felony with a potential prison term of up to two years.
Texas metes out penalties when someone is caught abusing controlled substances through illegal possession, distribution, sales, manufacturing, or trafficking. The Texas Safety and Health Code governs most controlled substances, and the Texas Controlled Substances Act also makes it a crime to possess, distribute, or manufacture methamphetamine, also known as meth or crystal meth.
Though other states have legalized recreational use of cannabis — marijuana — the Lone Star State still makes it illegal to even possess small quantities of the substance. If you have more than four ounces of marijuana in your possession, it is considered a felony. Depending on the quantity in your possession, you could end up with a lengthy prison term and a hefty fine.
Common Myths and Facts About Drug Charges
I can’t be arrested for drugs that aren’t mine.
Say you get pulled over for a routine traffic ticket and the officer asks to search your vehicle. You agree, and the officer then finds that your passenger has some marijuana stuffed in the glove box or in a door pocket. That’s his problem, not yours, right? Don’t be so sure.
Under the legal principle of constructive possession, you could be charged even though the substance wasn’t yours. Constructive possession means that you had control over the illegal substance (because in this case, it was in your vehicle), though it was not necessarily on your person. There are legal defenses to constructive possession, but you still will have to go through several legal steps and hire a defense attorney to deal with the charge.
Giving drugs to a friend is not illegal.
Actually, giving a controlled substance away can be considered the same as selling the substance. Likewise, if you barter, exchange, or deliver a controlled substance to another, those acts can be considered selling a drug. The substance can even be a prescription drug that you purchased legally, but if you provide it to someone else, you can be charged with selling a controlled substance.
It’s only the first offense, so it’s not a big deal.
To repeat, Texas takes drug charges seriously. Even if you get probation for the first offense, you will still have a criminal record that can make life challenging for you for the rest of your days. Some people believe that a criminal record disappears after seven years, but that is simply not the case. Anytime you’re arrested, convicted or plead guilty, that information goes on your criminal or arrest record.
Having a criminal record makes it difficult to obtain employment, or sometimes even to retain the job you have. Your record will also make it difficult if not impossible to obtain professional licensing or even qualify for public benefits. That’s why it’s important to take any arrest, investigation or drug charge seriously. Exercise your full rights, including not speaking to anyone until you talk to your attorney. Obtain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney and challenge everything.
If I give someone drugs and they overdose, I can’t be charged.
As mentioned earlier, even giving drugs to someone can be considered the same as selling that person a controlled substance. If you provide drugs to someone who then overdoses and suffers a serious injury or dies, you can indeed be charged under the state’s drug laws. The penalties can be harsh.
Hiring an attorney won’t help.
This gets back to the notion that a first-time offense is not a big deal. It is, and subsequent offenses can be even bigger deals. Say authorities catch you with a controlled substance on your person and you’re facing a charge of possession. You might think: “Well, they caught me. I’ll just plead guilty and get it over with. I’ll probably get probation.” You might get probation, but you’ll also get a criminal record.
As soon as you’re arrested, you should bear in mind the words of the Miranda Rights warning: “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” Don’t answer any questions other than who you are before you have the guidance and assistance of a criminal defense attorney. That person can help you minimize or perhaps even escape the charges, and they will definitely help you exercise your full rights throughout the process.
Rely on Our Experience and Guidance
If you’re facing a drug-related charge or investigation in or around Dallas or anywhere in North Texas, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Madson Castello Law. You have too much at stake, even if it’s just a first-time marijuana possession charge. We will work closely with you on a strategy aimed at the best possible result beginning from the first moment you contact us.
Remember, don’t make things worse for yourself by submitting to questioning without legal representation. You may say something that will give the prosecutors extra evidence to use against you. Reach out immediately.