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What Are Drug Penalty Groups, and How Can They Affect a Criminal Case?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Karnes City drug crimes defense attorney

With the legal changes regarding marijuana shifting from state to state, it can be confusing when trying to understand what the consequences are for various drug charges. As one would expect, drug charges can vary based on the substance involved and the circumstance of a case. In order to avoid having different charges for every illegal substance, Texas law enforcement has created categories known as “drug penalty groups.” Understanding which group your charge falls under is crucial for determining what your consequences may be. Although the best way to verify the details of your charge is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, having a general knowledge of the different penalty groups is a good place to start.

Penalty Groups in Detail

There are four different drug groups, each of which increases in risk and severity of consequence:

  1. Group 1 - This first penalty group includes hallucinogens such as opioids, methamphetamine, LSD, cocaine, ketamine, and more. The opioids in this group include those used for medical purposes. Penalties involving drugs from Group 1 range from 180 days to two years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. For possession of 400 grams or more of these substances, an individual can serve life imprisonment and owe $300,000 in fines.

  2. Group 2 - Illegal substances within Penalty Group 2 include PCP, Ecstasy, and amphetamines. If an individual is found with less than one gram of any of these substances, he or she can serve between 180 days and two years behind bars. For possession of 400 grams or more, the sentence can increase to life imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.

  3. Group 3 - The third penalty group includes prescription drugs that give a depressant or stimulant effect, thus making them highly addictive. Drugs that fall under this category include benzodiazepines or sedatives such as Valium, methylphenidate (also known as Ritalin), and anabolic steroids. Those found guilty of charges in this penalty group can serve 180 days in jail up to life in prison. Fines range from $10,000 to $50,000.

  4. Group 4 - These substances include those that are non-narcotic and are used for medical purposes, such as morphine and codeine. If an individual is found with less than 28 grams of these substances, he or she will receive a minimum sentence of 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Those who are given a maximum sentence could spend the rest of their life behind bars and owe $50,000 in fines.

  5. Marijuana - This drug has its own category and consequences, since there are many forms of it, and in some cases, it can be used for medicinal purposes. For lower-level charges of marijuana possession, a person may only serve probation and attend drug treatment. However, if someone has more than 2 ounces of cannabis, he or she can serve up to 10 years in jail and owe $50,000 in fines.

Call an Atascosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer

As is evident in the explanations above, drug charges can range from a short time spent on probation to an entire life behind bars. Understanding the general rules of the penalty groups can be beneficial to those who have been recently charged. However, the penalties that correspond with each group fluctuate significantly. At BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys, we are well-versed in the rules and regulations of each drug penalty group, and we can help you understand the best tactics for certain types of charges. Regardless of the penalty group that your charge falls under, our Pleasanton drug crimes defense attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to defend your case. Contact our office today at 830-769-1010 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/uploadedFiles/Content/Regulatory/drugs/PDF/schedules/TR%20Republication%205-17-2019.pdf

https://www.rightstep.com/rehab-blog/texas-drug-laws/

 

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