What is the Legal Definition of Possession? | Blass Law PLLC (2023)

What is the Legal Definition of Possession? | Blass Law PLLC (1)

Legal definition of possession: Texas Health and Safety Code §481.002(38) says that the legal definition of possession is the “actual care, custody, control, or management” of a controlled substance. The statute’s definition of a controlled substance can include drugs and other substances used to dilute or adulterate a drug. Texas Health and Safety Code §481.002(49) explains that a dilutant or adulterant is anything used to increase the quantity or potency of the drug.

Hemp is not a controlled substance. Hemp, by definition, is cannabis containing greater than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol.

The Texas Controlled Substances Act (Act) defines lawful possession. Someone cannot be found guilty of possession if they are in possession of a controlled substance that was obtained in accordance with state or federal law.

For example, having a bottle of painkillers prescribed to you by your doctor to treat short-term post-surgical discomfort is lawful possession. Having an illegal substance, like a “street” drug, or someone else’s painkillers, however, is not lawful possession.

Explaining Controlled Substances

Texas Health and Safety Code §481.002(5) says that controlled substances include the substances listed in Schedules I through V or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, 2-A, 3, or 4 of the Act. If federal law allows the sale of a non-narcotic substance over the counter (without a prescription), the Act does not cover that product.

You may be facing criminal charges that involve one or more of the following categories:

Penalty Group 1

This category contains opiates, opium derivatives, opium, and cocaine.

Some of the more common drugs in this group include:

  • Clonitazene
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone

There are many additional compounds in this group.

Penalty Group 1-A

This category includes LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and similar compounds.

Penalty Group 2

This group has hallucinogenic substances, like mescaline, and stimulants, like amphetamines. There are many other fun drugs that we have not listed here.

Penalty Group 2-A

This category is for illegal compounds that include benzene and cannabinol derivatives in a form other than marijuana. Synthetic marijuana and analog substances are covered in this group.

Penalty Group 3

These drugs are central nervous system stimulants or depressants that have a risk of abuse. Some examples of Group 3 drugs are Xanax (Alprazolam), benzodiazepines, peyote, secobarbital, pentobarbital, Valium (diazepam), anabolic steroids, salvia, and some compounds that contain small amounts of narcotics.

Penalty Group 4

This group contains compounds that have a small amount of narcotic ingredients and are not contained in one of the other penalty groups.

For a legal consultation, call 713-225-1900

Penalties for Drug Offenses in Texas

Now that you know the legal definition of possession, you need to learn the consequences of a conviction for a drug offense in Texas.

The Act mandates that anyone who knowingly or intentionally possesses any illicit or controlled substances may be subject to the following penalties:

  • Penalty Group 1 offenses can be state jail felonies or felonies of the first, second, or third-degree, depending on the weight of the substance, including dilutants or adulterants.
    • Less than 1 gram – state jail felony – 6 months to 2 years in State Jail and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 1 to 4 grams – third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 4 to 200 grams – second-degree felony – 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 200 to 400 grams – first degree felony – 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
    • 400 grams or more – 10 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000
  • Penalty Group 1-A offenses can be the same types of felonies as Group 1, based on the number of units of the drug.
    • Less than 20 units – state jail felony – 6 months to 2 years in state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 20 to 80 units – third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 80 to 4,000 units – second-degree felony – 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 4,000 to 8,000 units – first degree felony – 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
    • 8,000 units or more – 15 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000
  • Penalty Group 2 offenses can be state jail felonies or first, second, or third-degree felonies. The aggregate weight of the drug and its adulterants or dilutants will determine the classification of the felony.
    • Less than 1 gram – state jail felony – 6 months to 2 years in State Jail and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 1 to 4 grams – third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 4 to 400 grams – second-degree felony – 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 400 grams or more – 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000
  • Penalty Group 2-A offenses can be Class A or B misdemeanors, state jail felonies, or second or third-degree felonies, depending on the number of ounces or pounds of the substance the defendant possessed.
    • Up to 2 ounces – class b misdemeanor – up to 180 days in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $2000
    • 2 to 4 ounces – class a misdemeanor – up to 1 year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $4000
    • 4 ounces to 5 pounds – state jail felony – 6 months to 2 years in state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 5 pounds to 50 pounds – third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 50 pounds to 2000 pounds – second-degree felony – 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 2000 pounds or more – 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000
  • Penalty Group 3 offenses can be Class A misdemeanors or felonies of the second or third-degree.
    • Less than 28 grams – class a misdemeanor – up to 1 year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $4000
    • 28 grams to 200 grams – third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 200 grams to 400 grams – second-degree felony – 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 400 grams or more – 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000
  • Penalty Group 4 offenses can be Class B misdemeanors or felonies of the second or third-degree. The range of the prison term and fine are the same as for Group 3 offenses.
    • Less than 28 grams – class a misdemeanor – up to 1 year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $4000
    • 28 grams to 200 grams – third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 200 grams to 400 grams – second-degree felony – 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000
    • 400 grams or more – 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000

In short, getting a conviction for a drug offense in Texas can negatively alter the course of your life. You can go to prison for many years and spend the rest of your life with a criminal record. A felony conviction will take away many of the rights you might take for granted right now. A drug offense conviction can also jeopardize your career and impact your relationships.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You

While facing the possibility of a drug conviction, you should absolutely consider how a drug possession lawyer in Houston, TX can work to promote your future.

At Blass Law, our clients know that we work hard to get them the best possible outcome for their criminal case. You can call us today at (713) 225-1900 to get started.

Call or text 713-225-1900 or complete a Case Evaluation form

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