Texas police officers readily arrest anyone who they find in possession of a controlled substance. Prescription drugs that people possess without a valid recommendation from their doctor could lead to legal prosecution. So could possession of an assortment of drugs currently prohibited by Texas and federal laws.
Many people assume that prosecutors will charge them with simple possession offenses if they’re found to have these kinds of substances within their control, but sometimes the state will pursue more serious charges against someone accused of violating drug laws.
Possession with intent to distribute
Possession generally involves an individual who has a prohibited or controlled substance in their possession for personal use. Possession can sometimes be a misdemeanor. If law enforcement professionals or prosecutors believe that the intent is to distribute those drugs to others rather than to use them personally, the state may bring more serious charges. Possession with intent to distribute will usually be a felony offense under Texas state law. The charges someone faces and the penalties that the courts might impose will differ depending on the amount of drugs in someone’s possession and the type of drugs that police officers find.
The highest possible category of possession with intent in Texas can lead to an enhanced first-degree felony charge, which carries a prison sentence of up to 99 years and up to $250,000 in fines. Those facing the lowest-level possession with intent charges with face state jail felony charges. They could end up serving two years in prison and paying $10,000 in fines.
The state can pursue possession with intent charges in situations involving higher amounts of drugs that are unlikely to be for personal use. Scenarios where someone has a history of drug trafficking or a relationship with known traffickers could also lead to heightened charges. Finally, certain types of drug paraphernalia, including packaging and scales, might trigger more aggressive drug charges.
It’s very easy for police officers to misinterpret a situation and accuse someone of an offense that could forever change the course of their life. Understanding what factors might complicate someone’s pending drug charges could help them put together a more effective defense strategy with the assistance of an attorney.