Felony Drug Charges
A person can be charged with possession of a controlled substance if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses a controlled substance. Generally, when a person is not found to be in immediate or direct possession of a controlled substance—for example, if the controlled substance is found in the backseat of a car the Accused person is borrowing—police will try to affirmatively link the person to the controlled substance.
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (PCS)
The potential punishment for possession of a controlled substance depends on several factors, including the penalty group of the substance; the amount possessed; whether possession occurred in a drug free zone (below); and whether simple possession or manufacture/delivery is charged (below). Punishment can range from 180 days to two years in a state jail facility and a fine of up to $10,000, to life in prison. What you do before you are indicted matters and can greatly lessen punishment, so don’t wait until you are indicted to contact a lawyer. Additionally, Denton has new drug court programs designed to address drug use, not merely punish.
DRUG FREE ZONES (DFZ)
An arrest for possession of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone makes an already serious charge even more serious. “Drug-free zones” include schools (including colleges), playgrounds, daycares, arcades, youth centers (e.g. the YMCA or local community center), real property (land) owned by schools, school buses, public swimming pools, and facilities generally oriented towards minors (persons under 18 years of age) and/or families.
If a person is convicted of possessing a controlled substance or marijuana within 300 feet (swimming pools or video arcade) or 1,000 (most other drug-free zones) of a drug-free zone, the penalty for the offense is enhanced. Additionally, for some offenses, the minimum term of imprisonment is increased by 5 years and the maximum fine for the offense is doubled (e.g. possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.) Even more, punishment that is increased for an offense involving a drug-free zone may not run concurrently with punishment for a conviction under any other criminal statute.
MANUFACTURE/DELIVERY OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (MAN/DEL PCS)
While the most common drug charge is possession of a controlled substance, a person can be charged with the separate (and higher) criminal offense of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance if the person knowingly manufactures, delivers, or possesses a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. Manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance is a higher level of offense than mere possession of the same controlled substance. Additionally, if a child younger than 18 years of age is present during the manufacture, punishment is enhanced.
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession within a drug-free zone, or manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, you need to hire a lawyer who focuses on drug charges, and can evaluate the lawfulness of the search and detention to handle the complexities of your case. Where a substance abuse problem exists, it is perhaps most important to address addiction first. Bottom line: you need a plan if you have been charged with a felony drug offense. Call 940-323-9308 to speak with me today so that you have a plan.