Texas law prohibits individuals from possessing any type of controlled substance. However, penalties may be enhanced if you are found to be in possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute it. The exact sentence you might face if convicted of such a crime depends on the substance that you are suspected of trafficking as well as the amount found in your possession.
Elements of a drug trafficking charge
A prosecutor must be able to show that you knowingly in possession of a controlled substance and that you intended to transport it somewhere. For instance, you may be charged with this crime if you had cocaine in your backpack that you were planning to sell to a classmate.
An overview of potential penalties
If you are found with less than a gram of a controlled substance, you will likely be charged with a state jail felony. A conviction may result in a jail sentence of between 180 days and two years. You may also be subject to a fine of up to $10,000. In the event that you are found to be in possession of more than 1 gram, you could face the possibility of life in a Texas prison. Furthermore, you could be fined up to $250,000 if convicted of a felony drug trafficking charge.
Possible defenses to the charge
One of the more common defenses to drug charges is to claim that you didn’t know that you had drugs in your possession. For instance, if you thought that you were transporting salt as opposed to cocaine, it would be difficult to prove that you intended to violate the law. It may also be possible to argue that you were forced to transport drugs under threat of harm to yourself or a loved one.
In addition to jail or prison time and a fine, a criminal conviction may also make it harder to find a job or adequate housing. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to go to trial even if you’re offered what may seem to be a favorable plea deal.