Drug Crimes FAQ
Being arrested for any kind of alleged drug crime in Texas can be an extremely frightening and confusing experience. Many people have a variety of questions about the criminal charges they are facing and what effects the arrest will have on their future.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy provides answers to many of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this section of your website. Our firm can also answer your own personal questions if you do not find answers here.
Dallas Drug Crimes Attorney
If you or your loved one were arrested for any kind of drug crime in the greater Dallas area, you are going to want to be sure that you quickly seek legal representation. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents clients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area.
Our firm will work to try and get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have us review your case when you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
What constitutes drug possession in Texas?
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.
What is the difference between actual possession and constructive possession?
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.
What are Drug Penalty Groups?
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.
Is marijuana still illegal in Texas?
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.
How will a drug crime conviction affect my job?
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.
What are the other consequences of a drug crime conviction?
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.
Does a drug crime affect my driver’s license status?
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.
When are police allowed to search my motor vehicle?
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.
Can a person be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for allegedly being under the influence of drugs?
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.
Can drug crime convictions be sealed or expunged in Texas?
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.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Drug Crimes Lawyer
Were you or your loved one arrested for an alleged drug crime in Dallas or a different area in Texas? Make sure that you take the criminal charges seriously and fight to achieve the most favorable outcome.
Instead of simply pleading guilty, let the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy work to try and allow you to move on with your life without any consequences. Call 972-233-5700 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.