Texas has some of the strictest drug distribution laws in the country. Those charged with drug distribution face fines, probation, and lengthy prison sentences. In Texas, the crime of drug trafficking involves distributing or delivering illicit drugs. Unlike being charged with possession of a small quantity of drugs, drug distribution charges can carry some of Texas’s heftiest prison sentences and fines.
Discuss Your Case With a Houston Drug Distribution Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for drug distribution, drug smuggling, or any other drug-related crime, you need an experienced attorney on your side. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, our criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience representing those accused of drug trafficking at the state and federal levels. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC to learn more about our drug crime defense services today.
What Constitutes Drug Distribution?
The crime of drug distribution is synonymous with drug trafficking in Texas. Drug trafficking involves distributing or delivering drugs that are considered controlled substances under the Texas Controlled Substances Act. A defendant can be convicted for distributing prohibited substances with the intent to deliver them to another person. It is important to note that a person can be charged with state and federal crimes for trafficking or distributing drugs.
Even when a person never actually distributed a drug, he or she can still face distribution charges. When law enforcement officers find what they deem to be an unreasonable amount of drugs for personal use, prosecutors can charge the defendant with drug distribution. For example, when law enforcement officers find unusually large quantities of cash, a large amount of a controlled substance, weapons or guard dogs, and packaging materials, they are more likely to bring distribution charges.
Texas recognizes four penalty groups, or classifications of drugs, based on their addictiveness and danger. Opiates, fentanyl, ketamine, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine are all classified as Penalty Group 1. Distribution of drugs in Penalty Group 1 carries the harshest penalties. For example, if a person is in possession of more than 400 grams of a Penalty Group 1 controlled substance with the intent to distribute, he or she will face 15 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Penalties for Distribution Charges in Texas
Drug distribution charges carry some of the harshest sentences and fines in Texas. Most of the penalties for distribution and trafficking charges are found in the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The act provides sentencing guidelines based on the type of drug, the amount of drugs involved, and any surrounding aggravating circumstances. The more addictive and dangerous the drug, the harsher the sentence for drug distribution.
For example, a defendant will face a harsher sentence if someone under 18 was involved in receiving the drugs. The penalties will be harsher if another crime happened while the drug distribution occurred, such as unlawful possession of a firearm.
A sentence for distribution can involve anywhere from 180 days to two years in state jail, and a fine of up to $10,000 when a defendant has been charged with a state jail felony. Defendants can be charged with first-degree felony distribution, which carries a prison sentence between 15 and 99 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The severity of the sentence imposed on the defendant depends on the quantity and type of drug that has allegedly been distributed.
Federal Distribution Charges
Drug distribution or trafficking at the federal level means selling or distributing illegal drugs. When a person brings controlled substances from Mexico into the United States to sell or distribute them, they will face federal criminal charges. It’s also a federal crime to cross state borders with drugs with the intent to sell, a crime known as interstate trafficking. Moving drugs within a state, or intrastate, can also be considered a federal offense.
Those convicted of manufacturing, dispensing, and distributing drugs under federal law face a fine of up to 8 million dollars. Defendants can face a prison sentence of life imprisonment, but there is usually a likelihood of parole. Under federal law, if the defendant distributed drugs to those under 21, the penalties will be two to three times what they normally would be under federal law.
Defenses for Drug Distribution in Texas
The penalties for drug distribution charges are significant. It’s important that those facing drug distribution charges reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Your defense attorney will need to begin investigating your case in building your legal defense right away so they can try to protect your freedom and future. Prosecutors must prove that the defendant intended to transport a controlled substance to convict the defendant of drug distribution. In many cases, prosecutors do not have enough evidence to prove that the defendant intended to distribute drugs. One of the best defenses is to claim that you intended to use the drugs yourself, not distribute them to other people.
Pleading guilty isn’t the only course of action if you’ve been charged with distribution. You may have other options, such as negotiating a plea deal or petitioning the court to dismiss the charges against you due to constitutional violations. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, our drug crime attorneys use our extensive legal experience to work together to build the best legal defense possible for your unique case. We will thoroughly examine every detail of your case, including the evidence against you. We will consider whether the law enforcement officer who arrested you or the prosecution violated your constitutional rights and develop our legal strategy accordingly.
Contact a Houston Drug Distribution Today
If you’ve been charged with drug distribution, the skilled criminal defense attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC are here to help. The penalties are significant. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients accused of a wide range of drug crimes, including drug distribution and trafficking. We understand how Texas drug laws work, and we have obtained many acquittals and not-guilty verdicts. Contact us today to learn how we will stand up and advocate to protect your rights when you’re facing distribution charges in Texas.