Federal and Texas Drug Crime Attorney
According to DPS, in 2020, there were 13,873 arrests for the sale of controlled substances and 74,778 arrests for possession of a controlled substance. The 2020 drug arrest rate for Texas was 302.6 arrests for every 100,000 people in the state. This was a 31.6 percent decrease over 2019. The largest age group for Texas drug offense arrests is the 20-24 age group. Sale and manufacturing charges in Texas are usually for synthetic narcotics.
Texas law enforcement seized a total of 5,334 marijuana plants from greenhouses, cultivated fields, wild fields, and gardens in 2020. Law enforcement officers also seized 342 drug laboratories, with 185 producing THC, 118 producing methamphetamines, 37 producing crack cocaine, and two producing amphetamines.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in the state of Texas, or if you have been charged with a federal drug crime, you must take these charges very seriously, as you could potentially spend many years in prison if convicted. Having a criminal defense attorney in your corner could significantly affect the outcome of your state or federal charges.
What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do for Those Charged with a Drug Crime?
Having a strong criminal defense attorney who has knowledge of the law and case precedent means the judge could lessen your penalties, you could reduce the charges, or your charges could be dropped altogether. Your drug crime attorney will carefully review the facts and circumstances of your Texas arrest, then clearly explain your options while determining the best defense strategy. It is important that you make decisions that are informed regarding your charges, so experienced legal advice and counsel are crucial.
A criminal defense attorney who is experienced in both state and federal drug crimes will have a comprehensive working knowledge of the procedural rules and criminal process. This means the attorney can skillfully navigate these rules, leveraging them both pre-trial and during your trial. If your case goes to trial, you want to be sure your drug crime attorney has extensive state and federal trial experience and skills with criminal litigation and drug crimes in particular. A knowledgeable defense attorney will make sure all the facts surrounding your offense come to light and that all evidence gathered by the prosecution is sound.
Criminal defense attorneys have access to resources like private investigators, expert witnesses, and strong business relationships with specialists. These resources can make a difference between a guilty and not-guilty determination. If you’ve been charged with a state or federal drug crime, Whalen Law Office is here to help you through this difficult time.
Why Choose a Drug Crime Attorney from Whalen Law Office?
While drug possession is generally a state crime, manufacturing, trafficking, and conspiracy to traffic can all potentially be charged as federal crimes. Federal penalties may be even harsher than Texas penalties, so it is imperative that your drug crime attorney have extensive experience defending against Federal charges as well. Drug trafficking charges account for the majority of cases before Federal courts. Federal agencies like the FBI and DEA may be involved in the investigation and prosecution of interstate trafficking, manufacture, or conspiracy of controlled substances.
These agencies have virtually unlimited resources, so you simply cannot face Federal charges without a knowledgeable drug crime attorney from Whalen Law Office. A federal drug conviction could place you at risk of being denied federal benefits like school loans and professional licensures. Those convicted of federal drug crimes also risk the forfeiture of personal property, including the seizure of property where drugs are allegedly manufactured or housed.
In addition to prison time, you could face millions of dollars in fines and restitution if convicted of a federal drug crime. The legal team at Whalen Law Office understands the potential ramifications of a drug crime conviction, whether state or federal. We are never judgmental and will fight for your rights and your future every step of the way. If you are facing drug charges of any kind, Whalen Law Office is the legal advocate you need.
What Are the Different Types of Drug Charges in Texas?
You could be charged with drug possession, drug trafficking, drug cultivation, drug manufacturing, drug conspiracy, or drug distribution. Every drug charge in Texas is unique in that the exact charges will depend on what drug crime you are charged with, what the specific drug is, and how much of the drug you had. The most common type of drug charge is drug possession. The prosecutor must show that you were in possession or control of the drug in order to convict. You must have known about the drug and were intentional in having the illegal substance, or you must have otherwise had some level of control over the drug.
Drug trafficking involves transactions of illegal drugs, including the sale or other types of exchange, involving a trade for something else that has value and is often charged federally. In some cases, a drug possession arrest can quickly turn into trafficking charges if you have more drugs in your possession than would be indicated for personal use. When the amount of drugs possessed indicates an intent to sell or distribute, your charges become much more serious. Drug manufacturing can be charged when the prosecutor can show you were instrumental in producing, cultivating, or fabricating any type of illegal drug. Packaging heroin, processing cocaine, growing marijuana, and cooking methamphetamine, as well as certain other activities, may result in charges of drug manufacturing—which can also be charged as a federal crime.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Drug Crime Conviction?
Even possessing a small amount of a controlled substance can lead to jail time, fines, and a conviction on your criminal record. The penalties for drug possession of less than a gram of a PG 1 or 2 controlled substance is a state jail felony, with potential penalties from 180 days in state jail up to two years in state jail and fines up to $10,000.
While marijuana possession—in the plant form—in small amounts is not a felony, once it is no longer in plant form (THC, edibles, vape pens, etc.), it becomes a Penalty Group 2 controlled substance and is charged as a felony. Possession of 1-4 grams of cocaine is a third-degree felony, with penalties of 2-10 years in prison and a fine as large as $10,000. Marijuana is a special category within the Texas system of classified controlled substances; possession of fewer than two grams is a Class B misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to 180 days in jail, with increased penalties for higher amounts, even reaching first-degree felony charges and punishments.
Drug trafficking charged under state law is a felony offense, with penalties from up to two years in a state jail facility, all the way up to a first-degree felony with the possibility of 15-99 years (or even life) in prison, and fines as large as $250,000. Drug manufacturing carries similar penalties as drug trafficking and will depend on the drug, the amount of the drug, and other issues as well.
Drug trafficking when charged as a federal crime carries the following penalties:
For the first offense of Cocaine trafficking from 400-4999 grams, fentanyl from 40-399 grams, heroin from 100-999 grams, LSD from 1-9 grams, methamphetamine from 5-49 grams, or PCP from 10-99 grams, federal penalties include not less than five years in federal prison and not more than 40 years, along with fines of not more than $5 million. When the amount of the drug is more than those listed above, the penalties increase to not less than ten years in prison, up to life in prison, along with fines of not more than $10 million. Federal penalties for a second or subsequent offense go up exponentially.
What Are Common Defenses to Drug Crime Charges?
Common defenses to drug possession include:
- Entrapment—someone else (usually a government entity) coerced you into doing something you would not otherwise have done
- Illegal search and seizure
- The drugs did not belong to you
- The substance designated as an illicit substance is not
- You were not in possession of the drug
The defense used by your attorney will depend on the drug offense charged, the drug, and the amount of the drug, along with other facts and circumstances.
What is an Unwarranted Search?
Both federal and Texas laws protect individuals against unreasonable search and seizure. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat subjective, but an experienced drug crime attorney should be able to have evidence from an illegal search thrown out. Under the law, a police officer can only search your person, your vehicle, your bag, or your home under three circumstances:
- You give consent (which you do not have to do and should never do)
- The police officer has a court-issued search warrant granted by the judge after a police officer presents probable cause for the warrant.
- The search—though warrantless—falls under a legally recognized exception, including:
- You are actively being arrested for a different crime
- There is evidence in plain view
- You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the place where the drug was found. When you place your trash at the curb, you no longer have an expectation of privacy regarding that trash, while as long as it is in your home, you do.
- The police have a compelling reason to believe that the evidence will soon be destroyed.
If your defense attorney can prove the search and seizure was unlawful, then any evidence collected must be thrown out, meaning the prosecutor may have no usable evidence against you.
How an Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorney from Whalen Law Office Can Help
At Whalen Law Office, we help those facing serious criminal allegations in a discreet, professional manner. We are proud of the fact that we consistently uphold the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and experience with every single client. Attorneys James P. Whalen and Ryne Sandel take your charges seriously, working zealously to achieve the best outcome possible. If you have been charged with a drug crime, you need the knowledge and skill that Whalen Law Office brings to the table. Contact Whalen Law Office today.