Drug Possession Defense Attorney in Austin
Trial-Tested Experience in Travis County & Central Texas
Getting arrested for drug possession is an embarrassing, scary, and frustrating experience, especially if it is your first offense. Unfortunately, this type of drug crime carries serious penalties, including a costly fine and a lengthy jail sentence. In order to avoid being convicted, you need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.
At The Law Office of Will Mitchell, we are ready to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom from start to finish. Our Austin drug possession defense lawyer has over 15 years of experience handling a wide array of drug possession cases and has taken many cases to trial in order to obtain the most favorable outcome for his clients.
Texas Drug Possession Laws & Penalties
Misdemeanor possession of marijuana (marihuana) (POM) and possession of controlled substance (POCS) cases can carry collateral consequences outside those specifically assigned to Class A or Class B misdemeanors. The Texas Health & Safety Code contains the Texas Controlled Substances Act that categorizes various drugs into “penalty groups”.
This section details consequences for persons charged with possessing substances that fall into Penalty Groups 3 and 4. Sometimes you will see offenses for POCS involving these Penalty Groups called “Possession of a Dangerous Drug” or PODD.
What is the Maximum Punishment for a Class B Misdemeanor
Typically, the maximum punishment for a Class B misdemeanor is a maximum of 180 days in the county jail facility and a fine not to exceed $2,000 or both. A POM case in an amount under two ounces is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. A first offense DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. A POM charge in an amount more than two ounces but less than four ounces is a Class A misdemeanor.
What is the Range of Punishment for Class A Misdemeanor
The range of punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is a maximum one year in the county jail facility and a fine of $4000 or both. Several POCS cases are Classified as Class A and Class B misdemeanors. Examples of Penalty Group 3 drugs include Xanax (alprazolam), Codeine, and Hydrocodone.
If you do not have a prescription and are found to possess any of these Penalty 3 drugs (or the many others listed in the statute…see TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN. § 481.104) you could be charged and convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. Penalty Group 4 drugs are generally liquids and the most common are liquid codeine and promethazine. Possessing less than 28 grams of a Penalty Group 4 drug is only a Class B misdemeanor.
How Does the State Prove Possession
In order for the State to prove “possession”, they must demonstrate that the accused (1) exercised control, management, or care over the substance, and (2) the accused knew the matter possessed was contraband. Your lawyer must be able to mount a defense to one of these two prongs in a possession case.
What Happens if you are Convicted
If convicted, not only are you subjected to the punishment ranges discussed above, there could be other unforeseen consequences. For example, if you are a student attending a university, federal law prohibits the issuance of Federal Stafford Loans to those convicted of drug charges. In the Texas Transportation Code, any conviction for POM or POCS also results in a driver’s license suspension for 180 days (one-year suspension if under the age of 21).
How We Can Help You Avoid Conviction
When charged with a misdemeanor drug case, there are ways we can keep a conviction from occurring. First, The Law Office of Will Mitchell can go to trial and attack the elements of the offense and prevent the State from meeting their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Also, we can negotiate your case with the State to a plea agreement that does not involve a conviction. Typically, these agreements may involve drug classes and community service.
What Other Options do You Have
Deferred adjudication may also be an option in a situation where the accused agrees to do community supervision for an agreed amount of time and the maximum length is two years for a misdemeanor. At the end of the probation period, the drug case is then dismissed, and no guilty finding is ever made.
Do All Counties Treat Drug Cases the Same
Different counties treat drug cases differently. In Travis County and the Austin area, drug cases are met with less strict punishments for first time offenders. Indeed, the City of Austin will write you a “field-release” citation for possessing small amounts of marijuana and you do not even get arrested.
Other counties in the hill country such as a Kerr County POM or a Kendall County POCS may be met with a little more aggressive State action. People in Kerrville, Fredericksburg, and the adjacent counties tend to be a bit more conservative than their fellow Texans in Austin.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with any drug related charge in Austin or the Texas hill country, give our firm a call immediately so we can discuss your options and get to work for you. We are committed to help you avoid conviction and get your life back on track.
Call us today at (512) 858-8611 to learn how we can help you.