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  • Former Prosecutor – Special Crimes Division
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With over fifty years of combined criminal defense experience our the nationally known Adamo & Adamo Law Firm has a drug attorney in Houston ready to provide you with high-quality, specialized drug defense.

Contact our drug lawyers now!  

(713) 568-7011

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3200 Travis, 4th Floor Houston, TX 77006 office.3200

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Accusations of drug crimes can land you
in federal or state court. There are Drug Defense Lawyersmany distinctions between the court systems. Generally speaking, state prosecutions begin with an arrest followed by the preparation of their case. Federal prosecutions on the other hand, begin with an investigation followed by an arrest.  Our aggressive drug criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended cases in both federal and state court.

Who decides whether the case will be in Federal or State Court?

A criminal case that involves violations of state law is prosecuted in state court. If the criminal case involves federal law it will be prosecuted in federal court. If the crime is illegal under both federal and state law, you could be prosecuted in federal, state, or both courts.  Of the two, you would prefer state court and your drug criminal defense attorneys may negotiate keeping a previously filed state case in state court. When it comes to drugs, the federal government likes to get involved if it is a large, complex drug operation. Overall state courts handle significantly more drug cases.

Who investigates and prosecutes federal crimes? What about state crimes?

Federal offenses are investigated by federal agencies (i.e. FBI, DEA, etc.) and prosecuted by the United States’ Attorney’s Office for the area where the crime allegedly occurred.

State offenses are investigated by state agencies and prosecuted by the state district attorney for the county where the crime allegedly occurred.

I was arrested for possession of marijuana, what sort of trouble am I in?

The most common question for drug lawyers, “I have been charged with (X), will I go to prison?”  Attorneys, familiar with the system, will explain all your options. The goal is to achieve the best result possible. If you are a first time drug offender the goal is to ensure your record remains clean. Each case is different and presents a different way to achieve that goal. Below are the punishment ranges for certain narcotic offenses.

Note: The punishment ranges do not reflect the actual outcome of your case.

Houston Drug Attorney 

If you are in Texas State Court the punishment range for marijuana is as follows:

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
0 – 2 oz. Class B Misdemeanor 0 – 180 days in jail Up to $2000
2 – 4 oz. Class A Misdemeanor 0 – 1 year in jail Up to $4000
4 oz. – 5 lbs. State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
5 lbs. – 50 lbs. 3rd Degree Felony 2 – 10 years in prison Up to $10000
50 lbs. – 2000 lbs. 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
Over 2000 lbs. 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $50000

Note: Aggravating factors, such as possession/sale in a drug free zone or prior convictions can increase the punishment range for any of the above drug offenses.

If you are in Federal Court, the sentencing range for marijuana is as follows:

AMOUNT POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
Any amount (first offense) 0 – 1 year $1000 – $100,000
Any amount (second offense) 15 days – 2 years $2500 – $250,000
Any amount (subsequent offense) 90 days – 3 years $5000 – $250,000

I was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, what is a controlled substance under the law?

A controlled substance is a drug or chemical regulated by the government. Controlled substances may include both illegal drugs and prescription medications.  In Texas it is illegal to possess prescription medications outside of the prescription bottle, even with a valid prescription.

An example would be if you travelled and put the pills in a container other than the prescription bottle (e.g. pill container).

What is the punishment range for an offense involving controlled substances?

The punishment range depends on both the type and amount of the controlled substance. If you are in Texas State Court the punishment range for possession of a controlled substance is as follows:

PENALTY GROUP COMMON SUBSTANCES
1 Cocaine, Heroine, Methemphetamine, Ketamine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone (over 300 mg)
1a LSD, Acid
2 Ecstasy, PCP, Mescaline, Marinol, Adderallm Hydorcodone
3 Valium, Xanex, Tylenol #3, Anabolic Steroids
4 Dionine (morphine), Motofen, Buprenorphine, Pyrovalerone

PENALTY GROUP 1 & 2 – Houston Drug Attorney

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
Less than 1 gram State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
1 – 4 grams 3rd Degree Felony 2 – 10 years in prison Up to $10000
4 – 200 grams 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
+ 200 grams (PG 1) + 400 grams (PG 2) 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000

Enhancement: +400 grams (PG 1) is a 1st Degree Felony with the minimum imprisonment enhanced from 5 years to 10 years. (i.e. 10 – 99).

PENALTY GROUP 3 & 4 – Houston Drug Attorney

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
Less than 28 grams Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in jail Up to $4000
28 – 200 grams 3rd Degree Felony 2 – 10 years in prison Up to $10000
200 – 400 grams 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
+400 grams 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000

PENALTY GROUP 1a

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
0 – 20 units State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
20 – 80 units 3rd Degree Felony 2 – 10 years in prison Up to $10000
80 – 4,000 units 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
4,000 – 8,000 units 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000

Enhancement: + 8,000 units is a 1st Degree Felony with the minimum imprisonment enhanced from 5 years to 10 years. (i.e. 10 – 99).

Note: Aggravating factors, such as possession or sale in a drug free zone or prior convictions can increase the punishment range for any of the above drug offenses.

If you are in Federal Court, the sentencing range for possession of controlled substances is as follows:

AMOUNT POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
Any amount (first offense) 0 – 1 year $1000 – $100,000
Any amount (second offense) 15 – 2 years $2500 – $250,000
Any amount (subsequent offense) 90 days – 3 years $5000 – $250,000
Crack Cocaine – 1st conviction + amount > 5 g; 2nd conviction + amount > 3 g; subsequent conviction + amount > 1 g 5 – 20 years Up to $250,000

In Federal Court the Courts give great deference to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Your drug criminal defense attorney must be familiar with and be able to explain the federal guidelines.

Drug criminal defense attorney tip: Federal drug crimes are currently trending towards a downward departure from previous harsh punishments.

I was arrested for delivering marijuana, what is the punishment range?

Penalty for the delivery or trafficking of Marijuana.

If you are in Texas State Court the punishment range for delivery or trafficking of marijuana is:

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
< ¼ oz. and no remuneration Class B Misdemeanor 0 – 180 days in jail Up to $2000
< ¼ oz. and remuneration Class A Misdemeanor 0 – 1 year in jail Up to $4000
¼ oz – 5 lbs State Jail Felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
5 lbs – 50 lbs 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
50 lbs – 1 ton 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000
+ 1 ton 3rd Degree Felony 10 – 99 years in prison Up to $100000

If you are in Federal Court the sentencing range  for delivery or trafficking of marijuana is:

AMOUNT POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
0 – 50 kg1st offense2nd offense 0 – 5 years0 – 10 years Up to $250,000Up to $500,000
50 – 99 kg1st offense2nd offense 0 – 20 years0 – 30 years Up to $2 millionUp to $2 million
100 – 999 kg1st offense2nd offense 5 – 40 years10 – Life Up to $5 millionUp to $ 8 million
1,000 kg +1st offense2nd offense 10 – Life20 – Life Up to $10 millionUp to $20 million

Note: If death or serious bodily injury is involved the penalties will be enhanced.

I was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, what am I looking at?

If you are in Texas the punishment range for manufacturing a controlled substance is:

PENALTY GROUP 1 – Houston Drug Attorney 

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
Less than 1 gram State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
1 – 4 grams 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
4 – 200 grams 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000
200 – 400 grams+ 400 grams 1st Degree Felony1st Degree Felony 10 – 99 years in prison15 – 99 years in prison Up to $100000Up to $250,000

PENALTY GROUP 1-A – Drug Criminal Defense Attorneys

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
0 – 20 units State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
20 – 80 units 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
80 – 4,000 units 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000
+4,000 units 1st Degree Felony 15 – 99 years in prison Up to $250,000

PENALTY GROUP 2 – Houston Drug Attorney

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
Less than 1 gram State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
1 – 4 grams 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
4 – 400 grams 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000
+ 400 grams 1st Degree Felony 10 – 99 years in prison Up to $100000

PENALTY GROUP 3 or 4 – Houston Drug Attorney

AMOUNT PUNISHMENT LEVEL POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME POTENTIAL FINE
< 28 g State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in a state jail facility Up to $10000
28 g – 200 g 2nd Degree Felony 2 – 20 years in prison Up to $10000
200 g – 400 g 1st Degree Felony 5 – 99 years in prison Up to $10000
+ 400 grams 1st Degree Felony 10 – 99 years in prison Up to $100000

Note: Penalties can be enhanced if a child is present during manufacture.

If you are in Federal Court the punishment range for manufacturing a controlled substance is:

DRUG AMOUNT POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME + FINE AMOUNT POTENTIAL JAIL/PRISON TIME + FINE
Cocaine

Cocaine Base

Fentanyl

Heroin

LSD

PCP

Methamphetamine

500 – 4999 g

28 – 279 g

40 -339 g

100 – 999 g

1 – 9 g

10 – 99 g (pure)

5 – 49 g (pure)

1st offense

5 – 40 years and up to a $5 million fine

2nd offense

10 – Life and up to an $8 million fine

5 kg +

280 g

400 g

1 kg +

10 g +

100 g + (pure)

50 g + (pure

1st offense

10 – Life and up to a $10 million fine

2nd offense

20 – Life and up to an $20 million fine

3rd offense +

Life and up to a $20 million fine

Any amount of other Schedule 1 & II substances 1st offense

0 – 20 year and up to a $1 million fine

2nd offense

0 – 30 years and up to a $2 million fine

Any amount of other schedule III drugs 1st offense

0 – 10 year and up to a $500,000 fine

2nd offense

0 – 20 years and up to a $1 million fine

Any amount of other schedule IV drugs 1st offense

0 – 5 years and up to a $250,000 fine

2nd offense

0 – 10 years and up to a $500,000 fine

Any amount of other schedule V drugs  

 

1st offense

0 – 1 year and up to a $100,000 fine

2nd offense

0 – 4 years and up to a $200,000 fine

 

 

Can my lawyer get me deferred adjudication or probation?

Yes and No. Whether or not you are eligible depends on a number of factors, such as the actual charge, whether you are in State or Federal Court, prior convictions, your drug attorney’s ability to negotiate, etc. Make sure to discuss all the options with your Federal or Houston drug criminal defense attorney.

The police showed up at my house without a warrant and wanted to search my house. Can they do that?

If you allow them to. We have rights, but can waive those rights. The proper thing to do is to tell the officer “only with a warrant”. Do not let the officer intimidate you or threaten you into giving consent.  If you voluntarily consent, then the officers can search your home.    If there is contraband in plain view, the officers may be entitled to search your home (warrant exception).  Know that Texas courts have held the odor of marijuana alone is not enough for officers to then search your home.  If you do not give consent than the officers must obtain a warrant, supported by a sworn affidavit showing probable cause of what will be searched and found.  Any evidence obtained unlawfully shall be inadmissible and your drug criminal defense lawyers should get the case dismissed.

The officer asked to search my car and I said yes, should I have?

No. You should not consent to a search. If the ‘request to search’ is made while in your car or at your home, you have the right to refuse a search and should. If you have given consent, the consent must be voluntary. There are a number of factor’s (i.e. threats) that could make your consent involuntary and the search illegal. Consent is only valid if the cops lawfully detained or arrested you. Officers may search you car if they arrest you (search incident to arrest).  Again the arrest must be lawful.  Any evidence obtained unlawfully shall be inadmissible and your drug criminal defense attorneys should get the case dismissed.

I did not know there were drugs in the car (or house).

The government must prove you knew of the drug’s existence and exercised control over them. For example, If you were a passenger in the vehicle and were unaware drugs were in the vehicle’s backseat, your criminal defense lawyer may successfully argue you did not ‘knowingly possess’ the drugs.  Similarly, if you were driving a vehicle that was not yours, or at a home that was not yours, your drug attorney can argue that you did not ‘knowingly possess’ the drugs.

It must also be shown you knew the drug was in fact a drug. You would be surprised the number of cases our lawyers have seen where an alleged drug ends up not being a drug at all. The state’s crime lab or independent testing will determine this.

I am accused of participating in a drug “conspiracy”; what does “conspiracy” mean?

To prove a drug conspiracy, the government must show: (1) that an agreement existed between two or more people to violate drug laws; (2) that you knew of the conspiracy and intended to join it; and (3) you voluntarily participated in the conspiracy.

If you are labeled a conspirator, you may be liable for any offense committed by those involved if: (1) you were a member of the conspiracy when the act was committed; and (2) the act was committed in furtherance of or as a result of the conspiracy.  Of course, depending on the facts your Houston drug attorney may negotiate you out of the conspiracy all together.

I was set up by the police (i.e. entrapment).

You may have been. In order to show you were ‘entrapped’, you must prove: (1) you were induced to break the law; and (2) you were not predisposed to commit the crime. Put in another way, the government does not entrap someone merely by offering an opportunity to a person already willing to do the crime.

Does Texas allow for medical marijuana?

Currently Texas and Federal law do not recognize any form of medical marijuana. If you arrested while possessing marijuana, a medical card or doctor’s note will not be a valid defense.

But effective 01.01.16…

*Update, 01.01.16:  A new Texas bill was signed at the 84th legislative session allowing the use of medical marijuana for specific diagnosis (e.g. epilepsy). Look for marijuana laws to continue softening.

Contact a Houston drug attorney at the Adamo & Adamo Law Firm if you have been charged with a drug offense.