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What are Drug Crimes in Dallas, Texas?

In Dallas, Texas, drug crimes include the illegal trade, transportation, and importation of unlawful controlled substances such as marijuana and cocaine. Drugs are usually the subject of a drug crime charge if they are illegal by legislation (local, state, or federal law) or are legal but misused. As a result, the following drug offenses could be prosecuted in Dallas:

  • Possession with the intent to deliver (PWID). A defendant may be charged with PWID if the quantity of the illegal substance found in the individual's possession exceeds a reasonable amount intended for personal consumption.
  • Drug manufacturing. Anyone found producing or preparing illicit drugs may face drug manufacture or cultivation charges. Examples of drug manufacturing activities include the cooking of methamphetamine, the cultivation of marijuana, and the operation of a drug laboratory.
  • Drug sale. An offender may be charged with this crime if they are caught engaged in the illicit sale of prescription pharmaceuticals, counterfeit prescription drugs, controlled substances, or precursor chemicals used to manufacture controlled substances. 

A drug crime conviction can result in a prison term and substantial fines among additional punishments.

What are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in Dallas, Texas?

Drug crimes are prosecuted under state and federal laws in Dallas and throughout Texas. When someone allegedly commits drug crimes under these statutes, the following factors are taken into account:

  • The type of drug: The Texas Controlled Substances Act categorizes illegal drugs into four main penalty groups: Group 1, Group 1-A, Group 2, Group 2-A, Group 3, and Group 4. The law also lists the controlled substances linked with them, and the consequences for criminal violations involving them.
  • The quantity of drugs found in the accused's possession: The quantity of an illicit drug found in a person’s possession influences the severity of the associated penalties.
  • The drug's intended use: If the accused is charged with simple possession, the sentence is usually less severe than if the accused is charged with production or distribution.
  • The place where the crime occurred: The severity of a drug crime's punishment can be increased if the person is detected in a drug-free zone, such as on a school bus or within 1,000 feet of a playground or school.
  • If the drug crime was combined with another type of criminal offense: If the drug crime was committed in conjunction with another sort of crime: If the accused committed a violent crime, caused a fatality, or inflicted significant physical injury while committing a drug crime, the sanctions can be significantly harsher.
  • If a minor was involved in the offense: If a child under the age of 18 was made to participate in the crime, the charges and associated penalties might be harsher.
  • The defendant's prior criminal record: Penalties are stiffer against prior offenders in Texas, especially those with prior felony records.

Overall, Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code specifies the punishments for drug offenses based on their degree. According to the Texas Penal Code, the minimum penalties for each degree of a drug offense.

  • Class B misdemeanor drug crime: a sentence of up to 180 days in prison and a maximum fine of $2,000.
  • Class A misdemeanor drug offense carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
  • State jail felony drug offense is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Third-degree felony drug offense, up to ten years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
  • Second-degree felony drug offense carries up to twenty years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • First-degree felony drug violation, a sentence of up to 99 years or life in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Occasionally, an offender may make a compelling case for an alternative sentence to reduce or prevent detention in prison or jail. Probation, deferred adjudications, court-ordered therapy, electronic monitoring, work release, and community service are some penalty alternatives.

In Dallas, drugs are linked to crimes other than drug-related offenses such as possessing, manufacturing, or transporting illicit narcotics, but also because they have an impact on the conduct of those who use them.

Dallas is a major distribution and transshipment center, according to National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) data, making the city a prominent location for drug trafficking and misuse. The city's violent crime and property crime are spurred by the illicit drug trade and abuse. Consequently, addicts of illegal substances such as crack cocaine and ice methamphetamine frequently commit assaults and shootings to protect their drug operations. They also perpetrate home invasions and robberies to finance their addictions.

Dallas County discontinued prosecuting most first-time misdemeanor marijuana possession crimes in 2019. Consequently, the total number of marijuana cases reported to the District Attorney decreased by more than 30% from the previous year, from 554 to 384. 

In 2021, the Texas House of Representatives also passed a bill to lessen the criminal penalty for minor amounts of marijuana possession and to develop a mechanism for many Texans charged with such a misdemeanor to have it removed from their criminal records. However, the bill only applies to marijuana possession of one ounce or less.

Dallas Drug Criminal Lawyer

A Dallas Criminal defense attorney is a professional with adjudication skills, an understanding of the Texas legal system, and the competence to address difficult challenges that often accompany criminal charges flowing drug-related crimes. It is essential to note that the accused risks the loss of their freedom and other grave consequences following a drug crime conviction. As a result, working with an experienced and knowledgeable Dallas drug crime attorney to fight these allegations can be crucial. Most defendants typically lack the knowledge, skills, and capacity to protect themselves. However, with their vast understanding of laws and court procedures, attorneys are in the best position to argue for a defendant and safeguard the individual's rights.

Furthermore, facing drug criminal allegations can be unsettling for the accused. This may result in an inability to pay attention to the case's delicate nuances. A drug crime lawyer will carefully address these minor but potentially damaging details. These include completing and organizing the necessary paperwork, analyzing prospective plea bargains, ensuring that all evidence against the defendant is acquired legitimately and without procedural errors or violation of constitutional rights, and so on.

Overall, a skilled drug defense lawyer will maximize a defendant's chances of having charges dismissed, acquitted at trial, pleading guilty to a lesser charge, or being sentenced to a drug rehabilitation program.

How to Beat Drug Crime Charges in Dallas

A drug crime charge does not automatically result in a conviction. As a result, a defendant may still defeat criminal charges by ensuring that the charges are either significantly reduced or dismissed entirely. The following are some possible arguments or defenses that an attorney could adopt in defending the case:

  • Fourth Amendment violations: Citizens are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. As such, any evidence collected illegally by violating a defendant's fourth amendment rights may be declared inadmissible. As a result, a criminal case may be dismissed if the court determines that the prosecution's evidence is insufficient to convict, especially when a piece of vital evidence is excluded.
  • Insufficient evidence: The defense attorney may be able to argue that the prosecution’s case is based on circumstantial evidence and ask the court to dismiss the case. This can be the case where the prosecution presents a case that is found to be overreaching with no concrete evidence against the defendant.  The defense can claim the prosecution has not discharged their responsibility of proving that the accused committed the alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. 
  • Entrapment: To establish this claim, the defense lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant was compelled into committing the drug crime by the threat of harm or damage to the defendant or their family members.
  • The substance is not a controlled substance: A defendant cannot be found guilty of a drug crime if the substance in their possession is not deemed a controlled substance under Texas Penal Code. Also, suppose they have a legal basis for having the drugs, in the case of prescription drugs. Hence, if the defense attorney proves that the substance found in the defendant’s possession is not illegal, the charges may be dismissed.