Synthetic Drugs

In recent years, arrests have been on the rise because of the use of synthetic drugs. Synthetic drugs are commonly referred to as “designer drugs,” and can be found in gas stations and convince stores. Synthetic drugs are made with legal chemical compounds that mimic the mental effects of certain controlled substances.

Prosecutors have had a hard time convicting individuals for possessing, selling or manufacturing synthetic drugs in the past. However, in 2015 Texas legislation amended the Texas Controlled Substances Act to include chemicals in synthetic drugs. Now, State attorneys have the ability to prosecute those with synthetic drug charges to the fullest extent of the law.

Synthetic Drug Attorney in Harris County, Texas

Synthetic drugs can be deceiving to users. Often they are packaged in colorful branding or are marketed as a legitimate product. In some cases, a person may be unaware of the effects of the drug. No matter the circumstances of the offense, a synthetic drug charge is serious under Texas law.

Attorney Brian Benken is a distinguished attorney who has over 30 years of experience. He understands the intricacies of Texas drug laws, and which chemical compounds are considered illegal in Texas. Brian Benken will use his knowledge and resources to obtain the best possible result for your case.

The Benken Law Firm practices throughout all parts of Harris County area such as Houston and surrounding communities including Westchase, Brays Oaks, Alief, Houston Heights, and Greenspoint.

Gain a legal partner with Brian Benken, call us now at (713) 223 - 4051.

Overview for Synthetic Drug Charges

Common Types of Synthetic Drugs in Harris County, Texas

Synthetic drugs come in many forms and imitate many illegal substances or marijuana. The most common of these is synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids. These are normally referred to as “spice,” or “incense.” Synthetic cannabinoids are always marketed as “not for human consumption,” but when inhaled can create a short light hallucinogenic feeling.

A few popular brands for synthetic marijuana or cannabinoids include, but are not limited to:

  • Zero Gravity;
  • Dead Man Walking;
  • Atomic Bomb;
  • King Cobra;
  • Bombay Blue;
  • Red Magic;
  • Daisy Potpourri;
  • California Dreams;
  • Zoom;
  • Nice Guy;
  • Ultra;
  • 8-Ball;
  • Kush
  • K2;
  • Kronic; and
  • Head Trip.

Another type of synthetic drugs is called synthetic cathinones. These drugs are made with unregulated research chemicals. A synthetic cathinone is made to have the same euphoric effect as other illegal substances such as Molly, ecstasy, MDMA, and cocaine.

Some popular synthetic cathinones include, but are not limited to:

  • Hurricane Charlie;
  • Stardust;
  • Bloom;
  • Ocean Snow;
  • Scarface;
  • Pure Ivory;
  • Snow Leopard;
  • Lunar Wave;
  • Purple Sky;
  • Blue Silk;
  • Meow Meow;
  • White Night;
  • White Lightning;
  • Vanilla Sky;
  • Ivory Wave;
  • Cloud Nine; and
  • Ocean Burst

Texas Penalties for Possession of Synthetic Drugs in Texas

Drugs that have a similar chemical structure to those in Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, or 2-A are considered unlawful in Texas. Most synthetic drugs are classified under Penalty Group 2-A, which is considered a high-risk for injury or abuse. It is unlawful in Texas to possess any illegal drug.

The following chart lists the maximum penalties for possessing synthetic drugs.


Amount Possessed




Jail or Prison Time



2 ounces or less Class B Misdemeanor 180 days in jail $2,000
2 ounces to 4 ounces Class A Misdemeanor 12 months in jail $4,000
4 ounces to 5 pounds State Jail Felony 24 months in jail $10,000
5 pounds to 50 pounds Third-Degree Felony 10 years in prison $10,000
50 pounds to 2,000 pounds Second-Degree Felony 20 years in prison $10,000
More than 2,000 pounds First-Degree Felony Life imprisonment, with a minimum of 5 years. $50,000

Delivering any controlled substance to a minor is illegal in the state of Texas. If a person delivers synthetic drugs to a child, he or she will face a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony has the maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison, and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Texas Penalties for Delivering or Manufacturing Synthetic Drugs

In cases where a large amount of synthetic drugs are found, the charges may be enhanced. Law enforcement may charge the alleged offender with possession with intent, delivery, or manufacture of a controlled substance if they deem fit.

The following chart is the maximum penalties for those convicted for possession with intent to distribute, delivering, or manufacturing synthetic drugs.


Amount Possessed




Jail or Prison Time



Less than 1 gram State Jail Felony 24 months in jail $10,000
1 gram to 4 grams Second-Degree Felony 20 years in prison $10,000
4 grams to 400 grams First-Degree Felony Life imprisonment, with a minimum of 5 years. $10,000
400 grams or more First-Degree Felony Life imprisonment, with a minimum of 10 years. $100,000

“Drug-Free” Zones in Harris County, Texas

Texas law considers certain places to be “drug-free.” Those that commit drug offenses in any of these areas may or may not have their penalties enhanced. If a person is caught using, possessing, delivering, or manufacturing a controlled substance in the vicinity of these areas, he or she will have their charges increased up one degree.

For instance if you delivered less than one gram of a synthetic drug in one of these zones, you would be charged with a third-degree felony instead of a state jail felony.

The following are Texas “drug-free” zones under the law:

  • Within 1,000 feet of any of the following:
    • Public or private youth centers;
    • School property;
    • School board property;
    • Elementary school;
    • Middle school;
    • High school; and
    • Institutions of higher learning.
  • Within 300 feet of any of the following:
    • Public swimming facility;
    • Video game arcade
  • On a school bus.

Additional Resources

Texas Synthetic Drug Laws – Visit the official website for Texas laws and legislation, and find more information surrounding possession offenses, delivery or manufacture offenses, and which drugs are in which Penalty Group.

Synthetic Drugs – Visit the official website for Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas. Find more information surrounding synthetic drug offenses and statistics, answers to frequently asked questions, and resources for those struggling with synthetic drug addictions.

Lawyer for Synthetic Drugs in Harris County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with synthetic drugs, it’s vital that you gain trusted legal representation. Synthetic drug cases can be tricky, but a strong defense can increase your chances of reducing or dismissing your charges.

Attorney Brian Benken is a criminal defense attorney who is caring with clients but aggressive in the courtroom. Brian Benken is well versed in drug laws, and understands the chemical compounds that may make a substance illegal. Do what is best for you and find an attorney who is skilled at defense with Brian Benken.

The Benken Law Firm represents those with synthetic drug offenses throughout every part of Harris County and Houston neighborhoods including Westbury, Meyerland, Sharpstown, and River Oaks.

Have some peace of mind today. Call Brian Benken at (713) 223 - 4051 for your free consultation.

This article was last updated on October 12, 2018. 

(713) 223 - 4051
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