Drug Delivery

Manufacture or delivery of drugs: The criminal charges and possible penalties in Texas

Manufacture or delivery of drugs is the criminal charge for any form of drug dealing in Texas. The punishments can be much more severe than in simple possession cases, if the amounts are large enough, with sentences of up to life in a Texas prison and fines up to a quarter-million dollars.

The Texas Controlled Substances Act defines “delivery” as giving a controlled substance, or a fake controlled substance, to another person. That means actually handing the drugs over, or delivering them indirectly, such as by giving someone keys to a car with drugs in the trunk. In Texas, delivery is the same as selling drugs, whether money changes hands or not, except in the case of small amounts of marijuana.

Police can charge you with dealing drugs by using an undercover officer to take the delivery, by conducting surveillance on an exchange, or by getting a confidential informant to make the deal and testify to it later in court.

Make no mistake about it, if you are charged with manufacture or delivery of drugs in Texas, your freedom is at stake, and you will need the help of a good criminal defense lawyer.

First, an explanation of how illegal drugs are classified in Texas.

Drugs that are Illegal in Texas

The Texas Health and Safety Code divides controlled substances into five penalty groups, plus a   marijuana category. They are:

Penalty GroupExamples of drugs

1

Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, GHB, ketamine, oxycodone and hydrocodone.

1A

LSD

2

Ecstasy, PCP and mescaline.

3

Valium, Xanax and Ritalin.

4

Compounds containing Dionine, Motofen, Buprenorphine or Pryovalerone

Marijuana is defined in the health code as any Cannabis sativa plant, whether it is growing or not, the seeds of the plant and any preparation of the plant such as a joint or a package containing dried and shredded buds.

Texas Criminal Penalties for Dealing Drugs

As with simple possession laws in Texas, the punishments for manufacture or delivery of drugs vary according to the weight or amount of the drug. These are the punishments for the weights in the five penalty groups:

Drug Penalty Group 1

WeightClassificationPenalty

Less than one gram

State jail felony

180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

1 gram or more, less than 4 grams

Second-degree felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

4 grams or more, but less than 200 grams

First-degree felony

5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams

Enhanced first-degree felony

10 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $100,000

400 grams or more

Enhanced first-degree felony

15 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $250,000

Drug Penalty Group 1A

Drug AmountClassificationPenalty

Fewer than 20 units

State jail felony

180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

20 or more units, but less than 80 units

Second-degree felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

80 units or more, but less than 4,000 units

First-degree felony

5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

4,000 units or more

Enhanced first-degree felony

15 to 99 years in a state prison and a fine of not more than $250,000

Drug Penalty Group 2

WeightClassificationPenalty

Less than one gram

State jail felony

180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

1 gram or more, less than 4 grams

Second-degree felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

4 grams or more, but less than 400 grams

First-degree felony

5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

400 grams or more

Enhanced first-degree felony

10 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $100,000

Drug Penalty Groups 3 and 4

WeightClassificationPenalty

Less than 28 grams

Class A misdemeanor

Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000

28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams

Second-degree felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

200 grams or more, but less than  400 grams

First-degree felony

5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

400 grams or more

Enhanced first-degree felony

10 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $100,000

Marijuana

WeightClassificationPenalty
¼ ounce or less, given, not for payment

Class B misdemeanor

Not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,000

¼ ounce or less, for payment

Class A misdemeanor

Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000

More than ¼ ounces, but less than 5 pounds

State jail felony

180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

More than 5 pounds, but less than 50 pounds

Second-degree felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

More than 50 pounds, but less than 2,000

First-degree felony

5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

More than 2,000 pounds

Enhanced first-degree felony

10 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $100,000

And there’s more, too. Spend or invest any of the money made from selling drugs, and that is another felony charge. Get arrested for dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or youth center, on a school bus, or within 300 feet of a public swimming pool or video arcade, and the felony charge increases by one degree.

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure also allows police to seize any property used or “intended to be used” in the commission of a drug felony. That means they can take your car, your home, or any other belonging where you are accused of carrying or hiding drugs. The asset forfeiture law is a civil action, not criminal, and you don’t have to be convicted for the state to try to take your property.

What happens if convicted of manufacture or delivery of drugs?

Like any case, the punishment for a conviction on drug dealing charges depends on your past history and the facts of the case, particularly the amount of drugs involved.

Community supervision is always an option for the judge or jury in cases with low drug weights, particularly on misdemeanors, state jail felonies and second-degree felonies.

However, the likelihood of prison time is high for a first-degree or enhanced first-degree felony. Even if you get community service on a state jail felony for delivery, the judge can still require that you spend three to six months in state jail as part of your sentence.

And you may not be eligible for community supervision at all if you’ve previously had charges enhanced under proximity-to-children provisions. In fact, in those cases, you may even have an additional five years added to the sentence.

To help you avoid a conviction and sentence in your manufacture or delivery case, we will attack the merits of the state’s evidence on several key points.

First, we may challenge the state’s identification of you as the person who made the delivery. We also will challenge the credibility of any confidential informants. And, we’ll challenge the legality of any police searches in case they violated your Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Drug dealing is a very serious charge in Texas, but we will be there to make sure you have every chance at successfully defending yourself against it.

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