Drug / Narcotics Charges

Drug Crimes FAQ
Drug crimes in Dallas can result in very serious penalties, including jail or prison time, fines, a criminal record, driver’s license suspensions or the loss of driving privileges, an inability to pursue certain professional occupations, and/or a refusal to be admitted to certain college or graduate school programs. Drug crimes are often punishable as federal offenses, in addition to state offenses. Federal drug crimes generally result in lengthier prison sentences and steeper fines. Therefore, it is essential to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Dallas to help you achieve the lightest possible sentence if you are convicted of a drug crime, or to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

Dallas Drug Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a drug crime in Dallas, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie, Denton, Plano, McKinney, Fort Worth, Decatur, Terrell, Weatherford, Sherman, Rockwall, Burleson, Waxahachie, Arlington, Mesquite, Carrolton, Richardson, Lewisville or Frisco, contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Attorney Richard McConathy is knowledgeable in all areas of Texas’ drug laws and will make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Call Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700 about your alleged drug offense.





Dallas Drug Charges Information Center


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Dallas Controlled Substance Penalty Groups

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, controlled substances, including medications, chemicals, medications without prescriptions, prescription pills, street drugs, narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, depressants, man-made substances and natural substances are classified into four different penalty groups. According to the Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 481.101 – 105, these penalty groups are used to establish punishments for criminal drug offenses.
  • Penalty Group I (PG-1) – Examples of substances in this group include, but are not limited to heroin, methamphetamines, codeine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxycontin, uppers, stimulants, speed, hydrocodone, GHB, the Date Rape Drug, Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, ketamine, Special K and cocaine.
  • Penalty Group I-A (PG-1-A) – The only substance in this group is LSD or Lysergic acid diethylamide.
  • Penalty Group II (PG-2) – Examples of substances in this group are Psilocybin, cathinone, magic mushrooms, bath salts, MDMA/ecstasy, and other hallucinogens.
  • Penalty Group III (PG-3) – Examples of substances in the group can include Xanax, Valium, Lysergic acid, Zolpidem, Ambien, and drugs containing small amounts of narcotics.
  • Penalty Group IV (PG-4) – Examples of substances in this penalty group include substances with limited quantities of narcotics but also contain one or more non-narcotic active medical ingredient.

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Drug Offenses in Fort Worth

Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, also known as the Texas Controlled Substance Act, defines all drug crimes and punishments throughout Dallas. Some of the most commonly charged controlled substance offenses in Dallas can include any of the following:
  • An individual can be charged with possession of a controlled substance (POCS) under sections 481.115 through 481.118 of the Texas Health and Safety Code if they knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance without prescription from an individual licenses to practice medicine in the state. Penalties for this offense depend on the amount of the substance in the alleged offender’s possession and the
  • According to Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.112, an individual can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if they knowingly or intentionally use or possess with the intent to use drug paraphernalia for planting, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, testing, analyzing, storing, restoring, containing or concealing a controlled substance, or to introduce the substance into the human body. This offense is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor.
  • As defined in sections 481.112 through 481.114 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, an individual can be charged with possession of drugs with the intent to distribute if they knowingly possess any controlled substance listed in Penalty Groups I through IV with the intent to intent to a deliver or distribute the substance.  The penalties for this offense can vary, depending on the amount of the substance possessed by the alleged offender and the penalty group the substance is classified in.
  • According to sections 481.112 through 481.114 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and individual can be charged with drug manufacturing if they knowingly manufacture a controlled substance listed in Penalty Groups I through IV. The penalties for this offense can vary depending on the penalty group the substance is classified in and the amount of the substance manufactured.
  • An individual can be charged with drug trafficking, according to the Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 481.112 – 481.114, if they knowingly traffic a substance classified in Penalty Groups I through IV. This offense usually involves a large quantity of drugs and a number of controlled substance offenses, such as drug manufacturing, drug delivery or possession of a controlled substance with the intent to a deliver. The penalties for this offense can vary depending on the amount of the substance trafficked and the penalty group the drug is classified under.

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Penalties in Dallas for Drug Crimes

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the basic penalties for drug crimes throughout Dallas. However, these penalties can increase, depending on a variety of factors, such as:
  • Whether the alleged offender carried a weapon during the commission of the offense;
  • Whether the offense involved a child under the age of 18;
  • The quantity of the substance;
  • What penalty group the substance was classified under;
  • Whether the offense caused death or serious bodily injury to another person; and
  • Whether the alleged offender has any previous criminal history.
The statutory provided penalties for misdemeanor and felony drug offenses in Texas are as follows:
  • A Class B misdemeanor drug conviction can result in a jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine not more than $2,000.
  • A Class A misdemeanor drug conviction can result in a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine up to $4,000.
  • A state jail felony drug conviction can result in a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
  • A felony of the third degree drug conviction can result in a prison sentence from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • A felony of the second degree drug conviction can result in a two to 20 year prison sentence and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
  • A felony of the first degree drug conviction can result in a prison sentence from five years to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
  • A life felony drug conviction can result in five years to 99 years in prison or life imprisonment and/or a fine not more than $250,000.

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Drug Court in Dallas County

The Dallas County Drug Court program, also known as DIVERT (Diversion and Expedited Rehabilitation and Treatment) targets alleged felony offenders eligible for pre-trial release that have been charged with the following offenses:
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance (less than one gram),
  • Possession of Marijuana (more than 4 ounces, but less than five pounds), and
  • Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud (Prescription pill fraud or doctor shopping).
Individuals who have allegedly committed a delivery or manufacture of controlled substance offense, DWI offenders, offenders who have a history of assault, and individuals who have committed previous criminal offenses are not eligible for the DIVERT program. The DIVERT program is generally three phases long and is about 12 to 18 months long. Individuals enrolled in the program go through substance abuse education, participation in education and employment services, in addition to an orientation and stabilization phase, intensive treatment phase, and a transition and graduation phase. If the alleged offender successfully completes the program, their case will be dismissed. However, if the alleged offender fails to successfully complete the program, their case will be presented for prosecution.

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Dallas Resources for Drug Charges

Law Enforcement Action Partnership (formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition LEAP) is a nonprofit organization of current and former police, judges and prosecutors advocating for criminal justice and drug policy reform. Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) – The DPA is national organization that promotes safe alternatives to current drug policy that also upholds each person’s right to have control over their mind and body. The DPA encourages policies that aim to reduce the harms associated with drug use and drug prohibition. Students for a Sensible Drug Policy  (SSDP) –  This national organization aims to empower young individuals to participate in the political process and strive for more sensible drug policies, in addition to fighting against fruitless Drug War policies that are more harmful than helpful to students and youth. SSDP Texas Chapters – University of North Texas Chapter and University of Texas Dallas Chapter Texas Controlled Substances Act –Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, also known as the Texas Controlled Substances Act, defines drug offenses and penalties throughout Texas, including drug possession, drug trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia. Narcotics Anonymous – Narcotics Anonymous is a national non-profit organization for individuals suffering from drug addiction. Individuals with drug addictions meet and support other individuals suffering from substance abuse issues for treatment and to maintain a sober lifestyle. Individuals seeking an NA meeting in Dallas, Texas can find a location on this website.

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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Drug Crimes Attorney

Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged drug offense throughout Dallas County in Texas.  Richard McConathy is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas, TX, who will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions for your alleged offense. Call (972) 233-5700 or complete an online form for a consultation about your drug charges throughout Dallas County in Texas and the surrounding counties of Denton County,Wise County, Kaufman County, Parker County, Grayson County, Rockwall County, Johnson County, Ellis County, Collin County and Tarrant County.

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Common Drug Crimes FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Texas Penal Code § 1.07(39) defines possession as “actual care, custody, control, or management.” In most cases, possession is considered either actual or constructive.

Actual possession involves drugs being found on the person of an alleged offender, whether the drugs are in their hands, pockets, or a purse or backpack. Constructive possession involves drugs being found in a place in which multiple people had access. A person can be charged with a drug crime based on constructive possession when authorities believe the alleged offender was the person who was the owner of the drugs involved.

Drug Penalty Groups are established in the Texas Controlled Substances Act to classify certain groups of drugs. The Drug Penalty Groups include Penalty Group 1 under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.112 which includes oxycodone, methamphetamine, heroin, hydrocodone, cocaine, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and other opiates, Penalty Group 1-A under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.1121 which includes Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, and other compounds, Penalty Group 2 or 2-A under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.113 which includes amphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), methaqualone, and other hallucinogens, and Penalty Group 3 or 4 under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.114 which includes halazepam, zolpidem, ketazolam, alprazolam, lorazepam, tetrazepam, flurazepam, clonazepam, lysergic acid including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, secobarbital, fludiazepam, clorazepate, medazepam, diazepam, and pentobarbital.

The Texas Tribune reported in June 2015 that Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, also known as Senate Bill 339, legalizing low-THC cannabis oils as treatment for certain medical conditions. “I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana, nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes,” Abbott said before the signing, according to the Tribune. “As governor, I will not allow it; SB 339 does not open the door to marijuana in Texas.” The Texas Tribune also reported in July 2019 that prosecutors across Texas had dropped hundreds of low-level marijuana charges and indicated they would not pursue new ones without further testing because of a new law that legalized hemp and hemp-derived products, like CBD oil. An unintended consequence of the hemp law is it effectively decriminalized marijuana because many state agencies do not have the testing needed to distinguish legal hemp from illegal marijuana.

Your employer has the ability to review your criminal record and you could indeed face possible job loss if the employer deems a drug conviction to be a fireable offense. Not all employers necessarily learn about drug charges, however. You can often give yourself the greatest employment protection by fighting your criminal charges to achieve a resolution other than a conviction that will not cause as many problems.

Drug crime convictions will appear on criminal records and can impact far more than just your job status. When you are applying for an apartment or housing, the landlord could very well use your drug conviction against you and make it the basis for a denial. Similarly, people who are applying for professional licensing can also face similar struggles in gaining approval because of drug convictions. Students at colleges can also face discipline from their institutions for certain drug crimes.

Yes. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) states that if you are convicted of a drug crime, your driver license will be suspended for 180 days, You could also be required to complete a 15-hour class in an authorized Drug Education Program, pay a $100 Reinstatement fee in addition to any other outstanding fees owed, and obtain a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) from an authorized insurance company that must be maintained for two years from the date of conviction. If you did not have a driver’s license at the time of a drug crime, you could be denied the issuance of a driver license for 180 days.

Police officers typically must have a warrant to search you or your property. When it comes to a traffic stop, an officer only needs to have probable cause to search your vehicle. In many cases, the alleged odor of marijuana is frequently cited as the basis for a motor vehicle search. You always have the right to clearly state that you do not consent to any search. When you do not consent to a search and police find drugs in your vehicle, an attorney may be able to claim that the search violated your Fourth Amendment rights and seek to have the criminal charges dismissed.

Absolutely. While DWI is commonly associated with alcohol, a person can be arrested for being intoxicated by drugs as well. Keep in mind that intoxicated is defined by Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) as meaning having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more but also “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.” When a police officer suspects a driver is under the influence of drugs, a “drug recognition expert” will usually be summoned to complete a series of tests to determine if an alleged offender is impaired by drugs. Drug recognition experts typically follow the same 12-step process, which is a breath alcohol test, an interview of the arresting officer, a preliminary examination and first pulse, an eye examination, divided attention psychophysical tests, vital signs and second pulse, dark room examinations, an examination for muscle tone, a check for injection sites and third pulse, the subject’s statements and other observations, an analysis and opinions of the evaluator, and a toxicological examination. This process is clearly flawed since the interview of the arresting officer is the second step in the process and the subsequent tests often serve to act as more of a confirmation bias.

Possibly. Expungement (or expunction) is only available to people who were acquitted of the crimes for which they were charged, were convicted but subsequently found to be innocent, were convicted but were subsequently pardoned, were charged but the case was later dismissed and the statute of limitations has expired, or were arrested but not formally charged. Drug crimes are not included in the possible offenses that prohibit orders of nondisclosure to seal records, so it may be possible to seal a criminal record with a drug conviction.