Drug Charges

Texas law provides for harsh penalties for the use, possession, possession with intent to deliver, manufacture, or delivery of a controlled substance. The penalties depend on the type of substance, the amount of the substance, and the circumstances surrounding the possession of the controlled substance. 

The National Drug Intelligence Center has identified San Antonio, county seat for Bexar County, as the largest drug market in the South Texas HIDTA region. Home to approximately 1.4 million people, San Antonio’s location as a South Texas border area, as well as its economic and transportation systems, support an environment conducive to drug trafficking.

The report finds that drug traffickers conceal their operations within the city, use the highway system to receive and transport illicit drug shipments, and exploit commercial businesses and financial institutions to launder illicit proceeds. The report also identifies Bexar County as having the highest levels of drug abuse in the entire South Texas HIDTA region.

The governing law in the State of Texas for drug possession cases is found at Health & Safety Code, Sub-Title C (also called the Texas Controlled Substances Act, found in Chapter 481 of the Health & Safety Code, §§ 481.001 through 485.113). Federal drug crimes are governed by the Federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. Section 801 et seq.) or its successor statute.

Attorney for Drug Crimes in San Antonio, TX

If you are charged with a drug crime in state or federal court in the greater San Antonio area, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Don Flanary is experienced in fighting drug crimes throughout Bexar County and the surrounding counties of Kendall County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Atascosa County, Medina County, and Bandera County.


Types of Drug Crimes in Texas

The penalties for most drug crimes in Texas depend on the type of controlled substance, the amount of controlled substance, the manner in which the drugs were possessed, sold, manufactured or transported.

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
    • Possession of a Controlled Substance — Penalty Group 1-a (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.1151)
    • Possession of a Controlled Substance — Penalty Group 2 (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.116)
    • Possession of a Controlled Substance — Penalty Group 2-a (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.1161)
    • Possession of a Controlled Substance — Penalty Group 3 (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.117)
    • Possession of a Controlled Substance — Penalty Group Four (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.118)
  • Delivery of a Controlled Substance;
    • Penalty Group One (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.112)
    • Penalty Group One-a (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.1121)
    • Penalty Group Two (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.113)
    • Penalty Group Three or Four (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.114)
  • Possession of Marihuana (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.121)
  • Delivery of Marihuana
  • Delivery of Controlled Substance or Marihuana to Child (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.122)
  • Possession or Transport of Certain Chemicals with Intent to Manufacture Controlled Substance (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.124)
  • Barter or Expenditure of Funds (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.126)(a)(1, 2))
  • Barter or Investing of Funds (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.126)(a)(3, 4))
  • Unauthorized Disclosure of Information (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.127)
  • Registrant or Dispenser Offenses (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.128)
  • Fraud Offenses (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.129) 
    • Fraud Offenses (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.129), Subsection (a)
    • Fraud Offenses (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.129), Subsection (a-1)
    • Fraud Offenses (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.129), Subsection (b)
    • Fraud Offenses (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.129), Subsection (c)(1)
    • Fraud Offenses (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.129), Subsection (c)(2)
  • Diversion of Controlled Substance Property or Plant (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.131)
  • Falsification of Drug Test Results (Health and Safety Code, SEC. 481.133)

Penalty Groups for Drug Crimes in Texas

Texas law divides drug crimes into several different penalty groups. Determining the penalty group is the first step in establishing the penalties that apply to the charge. 

  • Penalty Group 1 under Health & Safety Code § 481.102 includes Opiates.
    • The most common Penalty Group 1 types include:
      • Cocaine
      • Opium
      • Methadone
      • Alfentanil / Demerol
      • Heroin / Horse; Black Tar
      • Morphine / Roxanol
      • Hydrocodone / Vicodin; Loritab
      • Hydromorphone / Dilaudid
      • Oxycodone / Percodan
      • Flunitrazapam / Rohypnol; Date Rape
      • Gamma Hydroxybutryric Acid / GHB
      • Ketamine / Kat; Special K
      • Methamphetamine / Crank; Speed
  • Penalty Group 1-A under Health & Safety Code § 481.1021 includes lysergic acid diethylamide.
    • The most common Penalty Group 1-A types include:
      • LSD
  • Penalty Group 2 under Health & Safety Code § 481.103 includes hallucinogenic substances.
  • Penalty Group 2-A under Health & Safety Code § 481.1031 includes synthetic cannabinoids.
    • The most common Penalty Group 2-A types include:
      • Synthetic cannabinoids / K-2
  • Penalty Group 3 under Health & Safety Code § 481.104 includes prescription drugs which affect the central nervous system.
    • The most common Penalty Group 3 types include:
      • Oxazepam
      • Phenobarbital
      • Alprazolam / Xanax
      • Diazapam / Valium
      • Peyote / Mescaline
      • Steroids
  • Penalty Group 4 under Health & Safety Code § 481.105 include prescription drugs which affect the central nervous system. 

Amount of the Controlled Substance

The prosecutor must allege in the indictment the amount of controlled substance because it is the amount that helps determine the applicable punishment range. The failure to allege the amount of the controlled substance in the indictment will result in the appellate court remanding the matter to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing.

As a result of a legislative amendment in 1997, the definition of a “controlled substance” in Texas currently includes drugs, adulterants, dilutants, and precursors. The term “controlled substance” also includes the aggregate weight of any mixture, solution or other substance containing a controlled substance. See Health and Safety Code, § 451.002(5). Since this change in Texas law, the prosecutor no longer needs to allege the specific adulterants and dilutants in the indictment.


Additional Resources

Drug Market Analysis for San Antonio Market Areas - Find a report by the National Drug Intelligence Center to find information on the Drug Market Analysis for the South Texas Border and San Antonio Market areas. According to the report, the greater San Antonio area operates as a transshipment center for cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine smuggled into the United States from Mexico. The analysis concluded that most of the crack cocaine available in the South Texas border area is supplied by distributors in San Antonio and Houston. The "Abuse" section of the report statistics in the San Antonio Market Area section and discusses the impact of drug abuse in Bexar County. The report also found that Bexar County is the primary location for methamphetamine production within the South Texas HIDTA region.

Bexar County Adult Drug Court - Bexar County operates eight (8) criminal and civil specialty treatment courts. The specialty courts now includes programs for DWI offenders with severe alcohol problems, military veterans, juvenile drug offenders, drug offenders who have co-occurring mental illness, and individuals convicted of felony prostitution. Visit the Bexar County website to find out more about the Drug Court program in this county. Drug Court provides supervision and treatment interventions to high-risk drug-abusing offenders seeking help for a substance abuse addiction after an arrest in a misdemeanor or felony case. Drug Court in Bexar County targets offenders who meet the definition of high criminogenic risk and who demonstrate a willingness to participate with community supervision, treatment providers, and the judicial system. The drug court program averages a 8-24 month supervision period for felony offenders and 12-18 months of supervision for misdemeanor offenders. The felony drug court program uses intensive outpatient counseling from Elite Counseling. The misdemeanor drug court program uses counseling services from various community resources in the greater San Antonio area.

Texas State Law and Penalties for Controlled Substances - Visit the website of the Southern Methodist University to learn more about the universities policies and resources for a drug-free campus. Learn more about the laws and penalties in the State of Texas for crimes related to the use, possession, manufacture, delivery or trafficking of drugs.


Finding a Lawyer for Drug Crimes in Bexar County, TX

If you are charged with a drug crime in Bexar County, TX, or the surrounding parts of the greater San Antonio area, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Don Flanary represents clients throughout San Antonio and the surrounding areas. 

Call for a free consultation to learn more about the criminal charges pending against you, the potential penalties that can be imposed in state or federal court, and the best defenses to fight the charges

Call (210) 738-8383 today for a free and confidential consultation.


This article was last updated on December 30, 2016.

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