Every year, thousands of drug arrests are made in the Greater Houston area, typically for personal use amounts of controlled substances. One of the most commonly abused substances is methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that is largely produced in illicit labs in Mexico and is known by other names such as crystal, crank, or ice. Methamphetamine is usually smoked but it can also be snorted, swallowed, or injected. Because the punishment and stigma associated with a methamphetamine conviction can be severe, it is critical that you consult with an experienced drug possession attorney if you are charged with possession of methamphetamine.
What are the penalties for possession of methamphetamine?
Under Texas Health and Safety Code 481.102, methamphetamine is classified as a Penalty Group 1 drug alongside many other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin. The punishment you may be facing for possession of methamphetamine is based on the weight of the substance, including adulterants (i.e., any substance the methamphetamine may be “cut” with). Under Texas Health and Safety Code 481.115, possession of methamphetamine is punished in the following manner:
- Less than 1 gram: State jail felony punishable by 180 days to 2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- 1 to 4 grams: Third-degree felony punishable by a 2 to 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
- 4 grams to 200 grams: Second-degree felony carrying a sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- 200 grams to 400 grams: First-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- 400 grams or more: Enhanced felony of the first degree punishable by 20 years to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.
What are the penalties for the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine?
If it is alleged that you are involved in the manufacture or delivery of methamphetamine, you could be looking at significantly steeper penalties. Under Texas Health and Safety Code 481.112, possession of methamphetamine is punished in the following manner:
- Less than one gram: State jail felony punishable by 180 to 2 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- 1 to 4 grams: Second-degree felony publishable by 2-20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- 4 grams to 200 grams: First-degree felony punishable by 5-99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- 200 grams to 400 grams: Punishable by 10-99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- 400 grams or more: Punishable by 15-99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Texas law broadly defines “delivery” to include an actual transfer (for example, a hand-to-hand-transaction) or a constructive transfer, like leaving methamphetamine at a drop point. Similarly, manufacturing is defined to include all aspects of the preparation, production, conversion, labeling, and packaging of methamphetamine.
How can I get my possession of methamphetamine case dismissed?
Every case is different and the correct defense strategy to maximize your chances of a dismissal of a possession of methamphetamine case depends on the facts of the case, the prosecutor, and the criminal history of a defendant. However, no matter what the facts, in order to maximize the chances of a good result or dismissal of a methamphetamine case, the allegation must be thoroughly and aggressively defended.
Possession of controlled substance cases, including methamphetamine cases, usually involves a stop of a vehicle, a search of a home or person, or sometimes hinges on the confession of a defendant. As such, it is critical that a methamphetamine defense attorney is familiar with the law of search and seizure, which is the body of law that deals with whether the police might have exceeded their authority and violated a defendant’s rights. If a methamphetamine possession defense attorney is able to show that the police violated a defendant’s rights, it is possible that evidence could be suppressed and not allowed in court.
Another major issue in drug possession cases is the question of possession. In all possession of controlled substances cases, the State of Texas must prove that a defendant knowingly possessed a substance. Although it is not an element of the crime that the State proves a defendant was the owner of a controlled substance, the State of Texas must prove that a defendant was aware he or she possessed methamphetamine.
For first-time methamphetamine arrests, one option to get a case dismissed in the Greater Houston area might be a pre-trial diversion. Many District Attorneys’ offices recognize that placing a person charged with possession of a controlled substance on probation is not productive. As a result, in certain cases, prosecutors are willing to dismiss a methamphetamine case in exchange for the defendant completing certain requirements, like community service or drug counseling. An experienced methamphetamine defense attorney can tell you what all of your options may be.
What can I do to help get my possession of methamphetamine case dismissed?
With so much at stake, it is common for defendants to want to do what they can to help. The main thing that a defendant can do is to help obtain a good result is always appear in court and avoid using any controlled substances while on bond. If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance in the Greater Houston area, it is very likely that the court will subject you to random drug testing. If you violate your bond conditions by using a controlled substance, your bond could get revoked and you could be put back into jail. Additionally, if you violate your bond conditions, a prosecutor is less likely to offer a good resolution of the case, since he or she will think that you have serious addiction issues and have no respect for the authority of the court.
In some cases, proactively seeking drug treatment for addiction issues can be helpful. If you think you have a problem, it is always a good idea to get professional help. But if you are seeking drug treatment solely because you think it will help your case, you should first speak with an experienced drug possession defense attorney first.
Attorney Jose Ceja is a former drug prosecutor who has handled thousands of drug cases in his career. He has successfully defended people charged with the possession of methamphetamine throughout the Greater Houston area. Call today to schedule a free consultation.