Drug charges are one of the most common charges filed in Texas courts. Felony drug charges are filed in the District Courts and misdemeanors are filed in the County Courts at Law. Whether the drug charge is a felony or misdemeanor generally depends on three factors: (1) the identity of the drug; (2) the quantity of the drug (including adulterants and dilutants); and (3) punishment enhancements for proscribed conduct.

IDENTITY OF THE DRUG. There are certain groups of drugs, called penalty groups, that set up the punishment scheme for most drugs. The penalty groups are listed in Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The groups are numbered Penalty Group I through IV, with PGI being those drugs that have no medical purpose, such as cocaine, to PGIV, such as codeine, which are drugs that can be possessed with a prescription. Marijuana has no penalty group and is dealt with in a specific statute.

QUANTITY OF THE DRUG. A simple rule of thumb is that the more drugs one possesses, the greater the penalty. The chart below describes the penalties for possessing certain quantities of drugs:

PUNISHMENT ENHANCEMENTS. In addition to the identity and quantity of the drug, there are certain punishment enhancements that increase the range of punishment beyond what you see in the chart above. Some examples of enhancement in drug cases are:
· Manufacture
· Delivery
· Delivery to a child
· Using a child to commit the offense
· Committed within 1,000 feet of a school
· Committed within 300 feet of a youth center, public pool or arcade

COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES OF CONVICTIONS. There are a number of additional consequences that arise from being convicted of drug offenses, including, but not limited to:
· drivers license suspension
· deportation of aliens
· disqualification of professional license
· disqualification of concealed handgun license
· prohibition of possessing firearms and/or ammunition
· loss of civil rights for felony convictions (voting, serving on a jury, public office)


The Law Office of Brian Baker
Phone (512) 392 - 2300
San Marcos Texas