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Texas Drug Penalty Groups

When a person is arrested for an alleged drug crime in Texas, numerous factors can impact the potential sentence that individual receives if he or she is convicted. In addition to the alleged drug activity and the amount of the controlled substance involved, the classification of the drug under state law also factors into the grading of the alleged crime.

While controlled substances are classified into five categories called “schedules” under federal law, Texas divides controlled substances into six penalty groups. The specific penalty group that an illegal drug is classified under can be enormously important in determining the severity of the criminal charges, although certain aggravating factors can lead to enhanced charges in some cases.

Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Texas Drug Penalty Groups

Were you arrested in North Texas for any kind of alleged crime involving a controlled substance? You should not say anything to authorities until you have contacted Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.

Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Dallas who represent clients in Balch Springs, Richardson, Carrolton, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Irving, Garland, and several other nearby communities in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. You can receive an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (972) 233-5700 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Texas Drug Penalty Groups


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Texas Drug Penalty Group Classifications

Chapter 481 of the Health and Safety Code is known as the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Sections 481.102 through 481.105 sort controlled substances into the following penalty groups:

  • Penalty Group 1 — Includes cocaine, flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), methamphetamine, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (gamma hydroxybutyrate, GHB), ketamine, phencyclidine (PCP), phenylacetone and methylamine (when possessed together with intent to manufacture methamphetamine), opium, and several other opiates and opium derivatives;
  • Penalty Group 1-A— Includes lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and several other chemical compounds;
  • Penalty Group 2— Includes 3,4-methylenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA, Molly, or Ecstasy), 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mescaline, psilocybin, and several other hallucinogenic substances; 
  • Penalty Group 2-A— Includes synthetic cannabinoids and any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that contains any quantity of a natural or synthetic chemical substance;
  • Penalty Group 3— Includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), methylphenidate (Ritalin), and materials, compounds, mixtures, or preparations containing limited quantities of other enumerated narcotic drugs; and 
  • Penalty Group 4— Includes materials, compounds, mixtures, or preparations containing any quantity of buprenorphine, butorphanol, pyrovalerone, or other enumerated narcotic drugs.

Marijuana (referred to in the Health and Safety Code as “marihuana”) is not included in any drug penalty group, but its principal psychoactive constituent, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is listed in Penalty Group 2.


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Drug Crime Penalties by Texas Drug Penalty Group

Chapter 481 of the Health and Safety Code also establishes the following offenses related to controlled substances:

Manufacture or Delivery of Penalty Group 1 Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.112

Less than 1 gram

State Jail Felony

1 gram or more but less than 4 grams

Second-Degree Felony

4 grams or more but less than 200 grams

First-Degree Felony

200 grams or more but less than 400 grams

Minimum of 10 years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000

400 grams or more

Minimum of 15 years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000

Manufacture or Delivery of Penalty Group 1-A Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.1121

Fewer than 20 abuse units

State Jail Felony

20 or more but fewer than 80 abuse units

Second-Degree Felony

80 or more but fewer than 4,000 abuse units

First-Degree Felony

4,000 or more abuse units

Minimum of 15 years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000

Manufacture or Delivery of Penalty Group 2 or 2-A Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.113

Less than 1 gram

State Jail Felony

1 gram or more but less than 4 grams

Second-Degree Felony

4 grams or more but less than 400 grams

First-Degree Felony

400 grams or more

Minimum of 10 years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000

Manufacture or Delivery of Penalty Group 3 or 4 Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.114

Less than 28 grams

State Jail Felony

28 grams or more but less than 200 grams

Second-Degree Felony

200 grams or more but less than 400 grams

First-Degree Felony

400 grams or more

Minimum of 10 years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000

Possession of Penalty Group 1 Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.115

Less than 1 gram

State Jail Felony

1 gram or more but less than 4 grams

Third-Degree Felony

4 grams or more but less than 200 grams

Second-Degree Felony

200 grams or more but less than 400 grams

First-Degree Felony

400 grams or more

Minimum of 10 years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000

Possession of Penalty Group 1-A Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.1151

Fewer than 20 abuse units

State Jail Felony

20 or more but fewer than 80 abuse units

Third-Degree Felony

80 or more but fewer than 4,000 abuse units

Second-Degree Felony

4,000 or more but fewer than 8,000 abuse units

First-Degree Felony

8,000 or more abuse units

Minimum of 15 years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000

Possession of Penalty Group 2 Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.116

Less than 1 gram

State Jail Felony

1 gram or more but less than 4 grams

Third-Degree Felony

4 grams or more but less than 400 grams

Second-Degree Felony

400 grams or more

Minimum of five years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000

Possession of Penalty Group 2-A Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.1161

2 ounces or less

Class B Misdemeanor

4 ounces or less but more than 2 ounces

Class A Misdemeanor

5 pounds or less but more than 4 ounces

State Jail Felony

50 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds

Third-Degree Felony

2,000 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds

Second-Degree Felony

More than 2,000 pounds

Minimum of five years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000

Possession of Penalty Group 3 Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.117

Less than 28 grams

Class A Misdemeanor

28 grams or more but less than 200 grams

Third-Degree Felony

200 grams or more but less than 400 grams

Second-Degree Felony

400 grams or more

Minimum of five years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000

Possession of Penalty Group 4 Controlled Substance, Health and Safety Code § 481.118

Less than 28 grams

Class B Misdemeanor

28 grams or more but less than 200 grams

Third-Degree Felony

200 grams or more but less than 400 grams

Second-Degree Felony

400 grams or more

Minimum of five years up to life or 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000


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Texas Drug Penalty Group Resources

Health and Safety Code | Chapter 481 | Texas Controlled Substances Act — View the full text of Texas state law for drug crimes. You can learn more about the specific controlled substances listed under each penalty group. You can also find information relating to administrative penalties, forfeiture proceedings, and other law enforcement provisions.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) | Drug Scheduling — The DEA is the lead federal agency for enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in the United States. You can find an overview of federal drug schedules on this section of the DEA website. The website also links to an alphabetical listing of all controlled substances along with their respective CSA classifications.


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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Drug Penalty Defense Lawyer

If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for a drug offense in North Texas, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy aggressively defends clients all over Tarrant County, Collin County, Dallas County, and Denton County.

Dallas criminal defense attorneys Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (972) 233-5700 or complete an online contact form today to have our lawyers review your case during a free consultation.


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