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Are you concerned about the repercussions of drug charges in Harris County? No matter the circumstances of your arrest or arraignment, you deserve a strong defense to any Harris County drug charges from an experienced Harris County lawyer. A Harris County drug charges lawyer at Greco Neyland will work tirelessly to win your acquittal and ensure your rights are protected through every part of a criminal trial.

As part of Texas, Harris County is subject to some of the U.S.’s strongest drug laws. Plus, law enforcement and prosecutors are tough on drug offenders, which leads to a high rate of conviction in the state. Yet, the conviction isn’t guaranteed and each year many defendants serve jail sentences simply because they didn’t defend against Harris County drug charges.

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Harris County Drug Charge Defense Firm

If you look for Harris County drug charges in the Texas Penal Code, you won’t find much. Rather, all drug charges in Texas, including Harris County and Houston, are found in the Texas Controlled Substances Act, which is part of the Health and Safety Code.

The Controlled Substances Act, found in Chapter 481 of the Health and Safety Code, divides Harris County drug charges into the type of criminal activity and into Penalty Groups. The type of charges is important because certain actions, such as manufacturing controlled substances, are more serious than others.

  • Possession: anytime an illegal controlled substance is in your control or care. Specifically, Texas law describes possession as actual care, custody, control or management. Possession can include drugs found in your car, house, purse, or backpack.
  • Manufacturer: any act that makes or creates an illegal controlled substance, including modification of an otherwise lawful drug. The Texas Controlled Substances Act states that production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, or processing are all types of manufacture.
  • Distribution or Delivery: moving controlled substances from one location to a buyer or middleman. While many states have separate statutes that criminalize the movement of large quantities of drugs for resale, often called trafficking, in Texas a single statute covers trafficking, distribution to a buyer, delivery to an individual user, and all other forms of transaction.

A skyline view of Houston Texas in Harris County

Why Are Some Drug Charges More Harsh in Harris County?

The second way Texas law classifies drug charges is by separating the various offenses into Penalty Groups. There are four Penalty Groups specified under the Controlled Substances Act, each with a separate and specified set of charges. As with other areas of criminal law in Harris County, the most serious drug charges are under Penalty Group 1 and the least serious are those charges under Penalty Group 4.

  • Penalty Group 1: drug charges for highly addictive and abused substances that range from third-degree felonies to first-degree felonies. The maximum sentence for a conviction under Penalty Group 1 is life in prison and a criminal fine up to $250,000.
  • Penalty Group 2: drug charges for possession, manufacture, or delivery of moderately abused and addictive substances, such as mescaline and club drugs, like MDMA. Charges range from third-degree felony to the first-degree felony. The maximum punishment is life in prison and a criminal fine of $100,000.
  • Penalty Group 3: drug charges for moderately addictive and abused drugs, such as sedatives. The possible charges range from a class A misdemeanor to the second-degree felony, with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a criminal fine of $10,000.
  • Penalty Group 4: drug charges for those drugs that Texas considers the least abused and harmful controlled substances, such as prescription drugs. Charges under Penalty Group 4 can range from a class B misdemeanor, with a maximum one year in jail, to second-degree felony, with a maximum 20 years in jail and fine of $10,000.

A drug charges lawyer in Harris County can help you determine which Penalty Group your charges fall into.

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Should You Hire a Harris County Drug Charges Lawyer?

It is essential to understand the statutes that criminalize possession, manufacture, and distribution of dangerous controlled substances in Harris County. However, the Texas laws that cover these crimes are complicated, and most people turn to a Houston or Harris County drug charges lawyer for an explanation. At Greco Neyland, we are happy to provide further explanation of these statutes in a free initial consultation.

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