Possession of a Controlled Substance

All too often, citizens that pose no threat to society are caught in possession of small amounts of a controlled substance. Texas is harsh on possession of such drugs, and a conviction can come with time behind bars, not to mention the effect on your career and ability to receive loans for education and housing.

Being arrested for possession can be a frightening experience, and you probably have many questions that an experienced criminal defense attorney can answer.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Houston, TX

Brian Benken has over 30 years under his belt as a criminal defense attorney and private investigator in Harris County. He will work with you every step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected and prove to the court that you’re innocent.

To schedule a time to consult with The Benken Law Firm about the specifics of your case, call (713) 223 - 4051 today. The Benken Law Firm defends clients of possession of a controlled substance in every area of Harris County. Some of these areas include, but are not limited to Southside Place, Sunnyside, Kashmere Gardens, Greater Heights and many others. 


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Possession of a Controlled Substance Laws in Texas

There are hundreds of drugs listed in the Texas Controlled Substance Act that make it a crime to possess. You could be charged with possession of a controlled substance if you knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance listed under any of the four penalty groups.

The only way you can legally have any of the substances listed in the act is if you have a valid prescription from someone who is licensed to practice medicine.

The Texas Controlled Substance Act divides what the state considers controlled substances, narcotics, medications and chemicals into four different penalty groups. These groups establish the penalties for drugs crimes in the state.


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Penalty Group I and I-A

Substances that fall under penalty group I are considered to pose the greatest risk.

Substances that Texas law has listed under this group include some of the most abused drugs in the state. Some of these drugs include cocaine, heroin, opium, ketamine, Rohypnol, methamphetamine and Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB).

The amount of time you could spend in jail, and the possible fines for being in possession of a controlled substance in penalty groups I and I-A will depend on how much of the drug you are found with.

Penalties for possession of substances in penalty group I include:

  • State jail felony for possession of less than a gram that is punishable by 180 days to two years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • Third-degree felony for possession of more than one gram but less than four. You could face two to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree felony for possession of more than four grams but less than 200 is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • First-degree felony for possession of more than 200 grams but less than 400. You could spend five to 99 years or life in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • If you are found in possession of more than 400 grams of any controlled substances listed in penalty group I, you could face anywhere between 10 and 99 years or life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. 

Penalty group I-A mainly consist of LSD related substances. Any of these substances can include LSD salts, isomers and salts of isomers or any derivative of the drug. The penalties for drugs in this group are similar to group I, but the extent of the penalties depend on the number of units found in your possession.

Under section 481.1151 of the Texas Controlled Substance Act, you could face the following penalties:

    • Possession of fewer than 20 units is a state jail felony that is fined by $10,000 and 180 days to two years in prison.
    • Possession of more than 20 units but less than 80 is a third-degree felony that is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
    • Second-degree felony for possession of more than 80 units but less than 4,000 is punishable by two to 20 years in prions and $10,000 in fines.
    • Found in possession of more than 4,000 units but less than 8,000 is a first-degree felony that is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison and $10,000 in fines.
    • Being found in possession of more than 8,000 units under penalty group I-A is punishable by 15 to 99 years or life in prison and $250,000 in fines.

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Penalty Groups II and II-A

Hallucinogens are the primary drug that falls under penalty group II. To be penalized, you don’t just have to be caught with an actual hallucinogen, but any type of hallucinogenic salt, isomer or salts of isomers.

Some examples of drugs that fall under this category can include mescaline, MDMA and psilocybin. Penalties for substances that are listed under penalty group II are punished depending on the weight of the drug. Under section 481.116 of the Health and Safety Code, you could face the following penalties for possession:

  • A state jail felony that is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if caught in possession of less than one gram.
  • A third-degree felony if the amount of the controlled substance is more than one gram but less than four. You could spend two to 10 years in prison and be fined $10,000.
  • Found in possession of more than four grams but less than 400 is a second-degree felony. You could face two to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • You could spend no less than five to 99 years or life in prions if you are found in possession of more than 400 grams of any substance listed in penalty group II. You could also face $50,000 in fines.

Penalty group II-A is primarily focused on materials, mixtures or preparations of synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 and spice. The penalties for possession of a controlled substance in this group can be punishable by either a felony or a misdemeanor.

    • Two ounces or less of a group II-A substance is a class B misdemeanor. You could spend up to 180 days in jail, $2,000 in fines, or a combination of both.
    • It’s a class A misdemeanor if you are found in possession of more than two ounces but less than four. The charge can be punished by up to a year in prison, $4,000 in fines or both.
    • Possession of more than four ounces but less than five pounds is a state jail felony that is punishable by 180 days to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
    • It’s a third-degree felony if the amount of the controlled substance is more than five pounds but less than 50. The crime is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
    • You could be charged a second-degree felony if you are found in possession of more than five pounds but less than 50. You could spend two to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
    • You could spend five to 99 years or life in prison and $50,000 in fines for possession of more than 2,000 pounds of any of the substances under penalty group II-A.

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Penalty Group III

If you are found in possession of drugs like Xanax, Valium or peyote, you could be facing a misdemeanor or a felony if convicted. If you knowingly or intentionally possess any substance that is listed under penalty group III, you could face penalties that include:

    • Class A misdemeanor for possession of fewer than 28 grams. The crime can be punished by up to a year in prison, $4,000 in fines or both
    • Possession of more than 28 grams but less than 200 is a third-degree felony that can be punished by two to 10 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines.
    • It’s a second-degree felony if you are caught in possession of more than 200 grams but less than 400. You could be fined $10,000 and spend anywhere from two to 20 years behind bars
    • Being in possession of more than 400 grams can get you five to 99 years or life in prison. You could also be required to pay $50,000 in fines.

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Penalty Group IV

Substances that are listed under penalty group IV are considered the least dangerous by the state. Drugs that fall under this group include those that contain small amounts opium, codeine or difenoxin. Unless you possess these drugs under a valid prescription, you could be charged the following:

    • Less than 28 grams is a class B misdemeanor that is punishable by no more than 180 days in jail, $2,000 in fines or a combination of both
    • More than 28 grams but less than 200 is a third-degree felony. You could face two to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
    • More than 200 grams but less than 400 is punishable as a second-degree felony that entails two to 20 years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines.
    • 400 grams of more can be punished by five to 99 years or life in prison. You could also face $50,000 in fines.

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Possession of Marijuana

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug, so the state classifies possession of the substance under its own statue in the Texas Controlled Substance Act. Possession of marijuana is not punished as harshly as the other substances that are listed under the controlled substance act, but you could still face time in prison and fines.

If you are found in possession of marijuana, you could face penalties such as:

A class B misdemeanor for possession of two ounces or less. This is punishable by no more than 180 days in jail, $2,000 in fines or a combination of both.

    • Possession of more than two ounces but less than four is a class A misdemeanor that can entail up to a year in jail, $4,000 in fines or both.
    • A state jail felony for more than four ounces but less than five pounds that can be punished with up to 180 days in jail but no more than two years and $10,000 in fines.
    • Possession of more than five pounds but less than 50 is a third-degree felony. You could face two to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
    • More than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 is a second-degree felony that can entail two to 20 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
    • Being in possession of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana can get you five to 99 years of life in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.

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Additional Resources for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Harris County, TX

Texas Controlled Substance Act– Visit the Texas Constitution and Statues page to read through the Texas Controlled Substance Act. You can view every drug that is listed under every penalty group, and you can also learn about penalties for manufacturing drugs in each group and possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia.

Substance Abuse Trends in Texas– Read a report from the University of Texas at Austin that discusses the substance abuse trends in Texas for 2017. The report breaks down the drugs that are commonly abused in the state and their threat as well as usage patterns and diseases related to substance abuse.


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Lawyer for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Harris County, TX

Just because you were arrested for a crime doesn’t mean that you’re guilty. The Benken Law Firm will take the time to sit with you and carefully examine your case. Brian Benken is a criminal defense attorney who has been practicing law since 1987. He will work diligently to make sure you receive the best possible outcome for your situation.

The sooner you retain legal representation, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome in court. Let The Benken Law Firm represent you.

The Benken Law Firm represent clients in all areas such as Houston, River Oaks, The Heights, Uptown, Bellaire and many others in Harris County and surrounding counties. To schedule a time to consult with Brian Benken about your case call (713) 223 - 4051.


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