All narcotics are controlled substances, but controlled substance categories contain more than just narcotics. The Texas Controlled Substances Act divides controlled substances into five penalty groups for the purpose of creating charges and penalties for each one. The penalty groups include:
- Penalty Group 1: Certain opiates like codeine, heroin, cocaine, opium, morphine, and fentanyl
- Penalty Group 1-A: LSD
- Penalty Group 2: Certain hallucinogens
- Penalty Group 3: Materials or mixtures used to stimulate the central nervous system
- Penalty Group 4: Narcotic drugs that contain at least one nonnarcotic drug
Possessing a usable quantity of a drug that falls in one of these penalty groups will result in charges that can include time in a jail or prison, and may possibly also result in a fine.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Possessing a controlled substance without first obtaining a prescription from a qualified healthcare professional is a punishable offense. The penalties range depending on the groups and amounts. Below are the most lenient and strictest punishments for each drug group:
- For Penalty Group 1: The punishments range from a state jail felony for possession of less than 1 gram to a prison term of 10 up to 99 years, or life, plus a fine up to $100,000 for possession of 400 grams or more.
- For Penalty Group 1-A: The punishments range from a state jail felony for possession of fewer than 20 units to a prison term of 15 up to 99 years, or life, plus a fine up to $250,000 for possession of 8,000 units or more.
- For Penalty Group 2: The punishments range from a state jail felony for possession of less than one gram to a prison term of 5 up to 99 years, or life, plus a fine up to $50,000 for possession of 400 grams or more.
- For Penalty Group 3: The punishments range from a class A misdemeanor for possession of less than 28 grams to a prison term of 5 up to 99 years, or life, plus a fine up to $50,000 for possession of 400 grams or more.
- For Penalty Group 4: The punishments range from a class B misdemeanor for possession of less than 28 grams to a prison term of 5 up to 99 years, or life, plus a fine up to $50,000 for possession of 400 grams or more.
Manufacture or Delivery
You can be charged with a drug offense if you manufacture or deliver a controlled substance found in one of the penalty groups. You can also be charged if you possess a controlled substance with the intent to deliver it. The charge depends on which penalty group in which the drug is classified and how much you have on you.For example, having a small amount, such as gram or about 20 pills, of a substance in one of the penalty groups is usually a state jail felony, which carries a jail sentence of 180 days up to 2 years or a fine of up to $10,000, or both. But having a significant quantity, such as 400 grams or 8,000 pills, means you face incredibly harsh charges, Sentences for these large amounts include fines ranging from $100,000 to $300,000. Prison sentences can range from 10 to 15 years to 99 years or life. The Texas Controlled Substances Act
defines exact quantities and related charges for each of the penalty groups.
Possession to Manufacture
It’s an offense to possess certain chemicals with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance. The chemicals include:
- Chemical precursor;
- Anhydrous ammonia; or
- Immediate precursor.
The intent to manufacture doesn’t actually need to be proven; it can be assumed if the person charged is in possession of:
- Anhydrous ammonia in a container that is different from the manufactured container in which it is typically packaged
- Lithium metal from a battery is found inside a container of kerosene or mineral spirits (or any similar fluid that prevents hydration)
- A container holding phenylacetic acid or enough ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to equal 9 grams or 300 pills. The container would also include anhydrous ammonia and at least three of the following groups:
- Lithium metal, sodium metal, red phosphorous, or iodine;
- Lye or sulphuric, hydrochloric, or muriatic acid;
- Alcohol, ethyl ether, alcohol, or acetone;
- Paint thinner, charcoal lighter fluid, or another kind of petroleum distillate;
- Table, rock, or aquarium salt.
Along with the chemicals, the person must be in possession of equipment like:
- A container made of plastic or metal;
- A hose and some tubing;
- Any other items used to manufacture, store, hide, or process methamphetamine.
A charge of possession with intent to manufacture depends on the controlled substance the person is holding:
- If the controlled substance is in Penalty Group 1 or 1-A: It’s a second-degree felony charge.
- If the controlled substance is in Penalty Group 2: It’s a third-degree felony charge.
- If the controlled substance is in Penalty Group 3 or 4: It’s a state jail felony charge.
- If the controlled substance is listed in a schedule but not in a Penalty Group: It’s a class A misdemeanor charge.
Possession of Marijuana
Marijuana is in its own group; it is not included in any of the penalty groups. But like the penalty groups, a charge for possessing marijuana depends on the quantity you have. For purposes of the statute, THC wax and edibles are included as well. The punishments are as follows:
- Class B misdemeanor: possession of 2 ounces or less
- Class A misdemeanor: more than 2 ounces but less than 4 ounces
- State jail felony: more than 4 ounces but less than 5 pounds
- Third-degree felony: more than 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds
- Second-degree felony: more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds
- Imprisonment for life, or a term of 5 up to 99 years, plus a fine of up to $5,000: more than 2,000 pounds