Overview of Texas Drug Possession Laws
Possession of various illicit and controlled drugs may violate the Texas Controlled Substances Act. In order to secure a conviction for drug possession, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed or had control over a controlled drug which he or she does not have a valid prescription or order for from a doctor for medical purposes.
Under the Texas law, there are four classes of drugs, each with their own classifications and each with their own set of penalties. Notably, marijuana is classified on its own, independent of these four classes of drugs.
Texas Drug Possession Laws: In Brief
Texas has some of the harshest penalties for drug possession. Below you’ll see some information on Texas drug possession laws, penalties, and possible defenses. Remember, there may be several defenses to the charges against you and you should always speak with an attorney before accepting a plea deal or admitting guilt.
- Lack of knowledge that the defendant was in possession of the controlled substance.
- The drug was not intended for human consumption.
- The drug was a substance for which there is an approved new drug application under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; or
- The drug has been approved for investigational use under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the defendant's conduct was in accord with that exemption.
- The drug is medical marijuana.
- The drug is a prescribed medication from a medical doctor.
- Insufficient quantity
Note: Keep in mind that addiction is NOT a defense to charges. See Drug Possession Defenses to learn more.
Penalties for drug possession in Texas will vary widely based on a few determining factors. Namely, these are:
- Type of drug;
- How the drug was stored or concealed;
- Possession of additional drug paraphernalia (i.e. a scale or large amounts of money); and
- Past convictions
As for drugs in other classes, the penalty for possession is at the very least a "Class B" misdemeanor, or a "Class A" misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of no more than $4,000, depending on the type of drug at issue. Depending on the amount of the illicit drug in the defendant's possession, the penalty can range from a third degree felony all the way up to a first degree felony. The highest penalty given in Texas for drug possession is life or 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
Possession of marijuana may be classified as light as a "Class B" misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of no more than $10,000 for possession of two ounces or less of Marijuana. This penalty can go all the way up to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 for possession of over 2,000 pounds of Marijuana.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Texas Drug Possession Laws: Related Resources
Get Legal Help with Your Drug Possession Case in Texas
Maybe you were caught with possession of cocaine while driving in your car. Or perhaps you had a controlled substance on your person while walking down the street. Whatever your situation, you shouldn’t try to fight a Texas drug possession charge on your own. Get in touch with a skilled drug crime lawyer in Texas today to learn more about the state's drug possession laws, how they apply to your case, and the possible defenses available to your specific situation.