Texas residents who have been arrested or charged with drug dealing or sales offenses may be upset and confused about their next steps. These types of criminal charges can be related to the alleged sale or attempted sale of any form of illegal controlled substance. Some of these substances can include heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, and marijuana.
Drug dealing or sales charges are more limited than drug trafficking charges, which can be related to any part of the supply chain of the illegal drug market. At times, charges related to drug dealing may be classified as possession with intent to distribute.
The penalties a person could face for drug dealing or sales charges are determined by several factors, including the type of drug in question, the amount of drugs included in the allegation and the defendant’s history of prior arrests or offenses. In addition, whether a person actually sold drugs or simply possessed a certain amount can be relevant to both sentencing and to proving the charges themselves. Intent to distribute can change a drug possession charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.
In Texas, penalties for drug dealing and sales charges are based on the weight of the drug in question. Drugs are classified into penalty groups to determine the type of punishment or charges that apply. In addition, many drug offenses also come with mandatory minimum sentences that require a certain prison term for anyone convicted of a fine, regardless of the judge’s opinion or discretion. For example, charges of drug dealing near a school or to people under 21 invoke federal mandatory minimum sentences.
Anyone dealing with drug charges in Texas, including drug sales or dealing allegations, should consult with a criminal defense lawyer. Counsel can review the circumstances of a person’s arrest and prepare a defense to the charges. One possibility in some cases could be a challenge to the search that led to the arrest as being in violation of the Fourth Amendment.