San Antonio drug crimes defense attorneyIn Texas, for the most part, state drug charges signify severe penalties, more so than many other states. In some cases, the penalties can be steeper than those for federal drug charges. Since drug charges are common in criminal defense—and you never know when you or someone you care about might need to hire a criminal defense attorney to assist with such charges, it is worth knowing the differences between the state drug charges in Texas and federal drug charges. Essentially, there are three main differences between state drug charges and federal drug charges:

  1. Drug Classifications
  2. Methods of Prosecution
  3. Penalties/Punishments for Convictions

Drug Classifications and Their Associated Penalties

Texas law categorizes drugs differently than the federal government does. Inherent in both their classifications and definitions of drug types are the associated penalties and punishments. With regards to classifications, the federal government organizes drugs according to “schedule” types:

  • Schedule I, including marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, and LSD
  • Schedule II, including cocaine, Ritalin, opium, morphine, PCP, methamphetamine, and oxycontin
  • Schedule III, including ketamine, codeine, and Vicodin
  • Schedule IV, including Xanax and valium
  • Schedule V, including some OTC drugs and other similar prescribed drugs containing prohibited contents such as codeine

For Texas, on the other hand, drugs are organized into six “drug penalty groups.” These groups are:


Texas Considers Easing Up on Marijuana Laws

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Texas Considers Easing Up on Marijuana LawsAs several states have eased up on punishments for marijuana possession and expanded its legal use, Texas lawmakers are proposing changes to its marijuana laws that could decrease the number of criminal drug charges. Texas is known for having strict marijuana laws:

  • Possessing any amount of marijuana weighing 2 oz. or less is a Class B misdemeanor, which can result in up to 180 days in prison and a $2,000 fine.
  • Texas passed a 2015 law that gives medical patients access to use low-THC cannabis, but physicians can only prescribe it to patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.

Lawmakers have presented more than a dozen marijuana-related bills in the Texas legislature, but two are getting the most attention. They are a long way from being voted on and will face opposition from conservatives in the legislature. However, advocates for marijuana law reform hope the bills will at least continue the conversation towards eventual changes.

Texas House Bill 81



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