Todd Ver Weire

Drug Crimes Defense

The distress and embarrassment of being arrested for a drug crime can be felt long after the initial shock has worn off. Simply being accused of a drug crime can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on your personal and professional life. In a difficult situation such as this, you need highly experienced and dedicated legal counsel to defend your reputation and freedom.

Whether you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or are the subject of an ongoing investigation, you should pursue every opportunity for experienced legal assistance. When you need help with accusations of a drug crime, turn to Todd Ver Weire to be your drug defense lawyer in Texas. Do not hesitate to contact a us to defend you when your freedom is at stake.

The Charges You May Be Confronting

While there are several charges related to drugs and illegal substances that you can be accused of, one of the main concerns when faced with drug charges are the amount and type substance.  Depending upon the quantity, and type of drug, you could face a charge that includes:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance;
  • Possession with Intent to Delivery, or,
  • Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance.

While the movies, television shows, and other entertainment options talk about drug trafficking, in Texas, it is simply delivery.  In Texas, even if you are not financially invested in the transaction, you can face delivery charges.  In fact, having an excessive amount of certain types of drugs can result in a Possession with Intent to Deliver charge, even if you intended to use the drugs by yourself.  As for a Manufacturing charge, combining raw materials to produce a specific drug is definitely manufacturing.  However, the growing of various plants can also be considered manufacturing, especially when you are intentionally growing plants that can be used for a desired effect such as peyote, psilocybin, or marijuana. Consulting an experienced drug defense lawyer concerning the accusations against you can help you further grasp the consequences you may be facing.

Understanding Different Drug Categories and Their Punishments

As befits its’ reputation, Texas law calls for severe penalties and other legal ramifications where  drug crimes are concerned. With fines ranging from a couple of thousand dollars, to a potential life sentence in prison, the possibilities and combinations of sentencing are seemingly endless.  Understanding the various types of drugs and substances that are illegal, coupled with the amount of the particular drug you are accused of using, possessing, or distributing can dictate what penalties you are facing.

Texas employs the same classification structure that the federal government utilizes to determine the drug or substance legality and accepted usage, known as the Federal Drug Schedules. They also further divide these illicit substances into penalty groups to decide how the accused will be punished. Here, we can help you understand the consequences you could be facing.

Drug Schedules

Illegal drugs and most of their base components are indexed within Schedules l through V, Texas, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Drugs and substances are classified based on their potential for abuse, physical addiction, and accepted medical applications. These ratings, or schedules, determine how dangerous a drug is and how it can be used properly by qualified medical professionals. We have compiled a brief summary of the schedules and examples contained in each:

  • Schedule l – These drugs have a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical use.
  • Schedule ll – These drugs also have a high potential for abuse and chemical dependence but have limited medical uses.
  • Schedule lll – With a moderate to low risk of abuse or dependence and accepted medical usage.
  • Schedule lV – These drugs have a lower potential for abuse and can be therapeutic when prescribed and properly taken for patients with certain conditions.
  • Schedule V – These substances have a low abuse potential and may include the base chemicals that can be combined to produce other illegal drugs.

Please note that just because something is a Schedule V drug does NOT mean that it is a misdemeanor.  Rather, there are separate penalty groups that dictate what penalty group a substance falls into, and then the quantity determines the level of potential punishment.

When it comes to marijuana, the media recently applauded the federal government’s move to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule III drug.  While some may applaud that move, marijuana is still illegal in Texas.  While there is an extremely limited compassionate use program for THC in Texas, the program has multiple quirks, requirements, and rules.  The least of which is that Compassionate User participants in Texas can only purchase edible or pill forms of THC from specifically licensed pharmacies, and smoking marijuana is specifically prohibited.  As such, possessing marijuana that you legally purchased in Colorado but have not completely smoked and have the baggie in your car can subject to at least a Class B Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana charge, depending upon how much is in the baggie. 

Penalty Groups

Comprising a total of nine groups under Section 481 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act, each group specifies the drugs comprising it and the potential penalties you could face. With so many different variations of substances and the possible amount you could have been accused of selling or possessing, your dedicated drug defense attorney Todd Ver Weire can build a robust defense based on your specific circumstances.

The penalty group system combined with the amount of any given substance or drug allows prosecutors to determine how lenient they can be or how harsh the sentence could be. You need highly experienced legal counsel advocating for you and negotiating with state prosecutors. Possession is usually the least punished drug crime, and penalties can be even harsher for charges of selling or distributing illegal drugs.

Possible Fines and Prison Terms for Charges of Possession

With the varying drug schedules, penalty groups, and amount of drugs affecting your possible penalties, you may be terrified of the sentence you could face. However, with committed and knowledgeable drug possession lawyer Todd Ver Weire, we can discuss the details of your case so you can prepare for what comes next. The possible fines for the different penalty groups are:

  • Possession of PG-1 – You could face fines of up to $250,000 and possibly life in prison for more than 400 grams.
  • Possession of PG-2 – If you have more than 400 grams of these substances, you could face fines up to $50,000 and a life sentence in prison.
  • Possession of PG-3 – At the lowest amount, you could face up to a year of incarceration and up to $4,000 in fines.
  • Possession of PG-4 – Small quantities of this group can also see up to a year in jail and fines up to $4,000.
  • Possession of marijuana – For less than two ounces, you could face up to 180 days in jail or even 99 years for more than a ton. Fines ranging between $2,000 to $50,000 are also possible, depending on the amount.
  • Distribution of any drug tainted with fentanyl that results in the death of someone – you face a murder charge, a first degree felony, not distribution.  Please note that just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose.    

These vast differences in financial penalties and jail time demonstrate how important it is to have a highly skilled drug trafficking lawyer if you are accused of possessing large quantities. With such confusing and potentially life-ruining consequences, you need dedicated assistance. You can retain trusted legal counsel today by connecting with Todd Ver Weire.

Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Charges

From simple possession to manufacturing or trafficking, drug penalties in Texas vary wildly from a Class B misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. With so many potentially different consequences, having a criminal defense lawyer in your corner is vitally important. Using marijuana possession as an example, here is a small demonstration of how drug charges can change based on the amount:

  • Possessing under two ounces is considered a Class B misdemeanor with up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000
  • Possession of between four ounces to five pounds is a state jail felony with a sentence between 180 days to two years with fines up to $10,000
  • Possessing between 50 to 2,000 pounds is a second-degree felony and can have you facing between two and 20 years of imprisonment
  • Possessing over 2,000 pounds could land you in prison for life and up to $50,000 in fines

Considering this example only covers marijuana possession, and there are four penalty groups above that particular drug, you can see how the penalties of imprisonment and fines can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. When it comes to selling, manufacturing or distributing, the punishments for drug charges can be extremely intimidating. This demonstrates why enlisting the help of a drug possession attorney with Todd Ver Weire could make all the difference for your case.

The other factor that plays a role in the punishment that you face is where did you possess the illegal drugs.  If you possess less than 2 ounces of marijuana less than 1000 feet away from a school, your punishment jumps up to a possible 365 days in jail, not 180, and the fine doubles to $4,000.  Texas enhances the punishment for any possession charge if you are in a drug free zone – think public or private school, day care, video arcade, or a youth center.

Consequences Beyond Fines and Imprisonment

In addition to imprisonment, whether in the County jail, State Jail Punishment Facility, or Prison, and fines, a drug crime conviction also carries with it something referred to as collateral consequences.  These are other actions taken by the Federal or State government, regulatory, or licensing agency against you.  These negative effects on your life and livelihood can extend beyond serving prison time or paying fines and follow you forever. Some examples of collateral consequences of a conviction for drug possession include:

  • Termination of parental rights
  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Loss of voting rights
  • Required drug rehabilitation programs
  • Difficulty finding employment
  • Loss of friendships
  • Probation or community service
  • Changes in visitation rights

As with the increases in punishment with larger amounts, consequences for convictions of manufacturing or distributing may be even more severe. In these instances, having a resolute drug trafficking attorney standing up for your rights is essential. There may also be opportunities for plea agreements or other options before trial.

Possible Defenses or Options for Drug Crime Accusations

Every arrest and accusation for drug crimes carries its own unique set of circumstances that may provide opportunities for dismissal of the charges. Law enforcement officials may cut corners, misrepresent or manipulate evidence, or violate your rights in criminal drug cases. When it comes to drug offenses, the most important concern you should have is to invoke your right to remain silent and contact your drug defense attorney to determine how to proceed.

Building a solid defense for drug charges begins with you not giving police opportunities to misconstrue seemingly innocent statements you can make. The only statements you should make to law enforcement are that you intend to remain silent until you speak with your criminal defense attorney. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the details of your case, we can investigate if any of your rights were violated, confirm that evidence was legally obtained, and determine if there was any impropriety on the part of the arresting officers.

Exercising your right to remain silent, and NOT answering any questions from law enforcement is especially true when it comes to any marijuana case.  Several years ago the Federal Farm Bill changed the definition of Hemp, and focuses upon the level of a certain type of THC in the plant material.  Texas had to change its’ definition to match the federal one.  This means, that absent you performing a chemical analysis of that bag of green leafy substance you may have acquired from someone, this does NOT mean smoking it, you have no clue if what is in that bag is or is not marijuana.  Even if the officer says that you are not under arrest, just tell me what this is, exercise your right to remain silent and simply say that you want to talk to your lawyer.

The variations in the details of each criminal drug case mean there are also many different possibilities for building your defense. Violations of your Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights can destroy the prosecution’s case. There are also options for first-time or nonviolent defendants who could avoid a trial altogether.

Defense Options for Misdemeanor and First-Time Defendants

If you are accused of a drug crime, there may be options to handle the charge without being convicted of a crime.  Some options that may be available for your case include:

  • Pre-trial intervention (PTI) programs
  • Drug rehabilitation programs
  • Drug court
  • Veterans Treatment Court

Each of these options has different eligibility requirements.  For some, you need to undergo an assessment to determine your risks and needs, to see if you are good fit; while others require you to have a clean record.  Considering the volatile nature of drug charges, these options should be seriously evaluated if they are available in your case. Your drug defense lawyer Todd Ver Weire can discuss these details with you if they are applicable.

Connect With a Top Rated and Highly Experienced Drug Defense Lawyer in Texas

Accusations of drug offenses can leave you feeling hopeless and uneasy about what the future might hold. Do not hesitate to reach out for help. You may have a difficult road ahead, but if you remain optimistic and focused, you can get through it.

Todd Ver Weire has over 25 years of experience in state and federal judicial systems and can fight for your rights and freedom. You will need a reliable and trusted legal advocate to guide you through the Texas courts. Call our offices or fill out our secure online contact form now to schedule your free, no-risk consultation today.