An arrest for possession of illegal drugs in Texas can result in a number of serious consequences. However, a conviction for of a drug-related crime committed within a designated drug-free zone will add to penalties you may face.
What is a drug-free zone?
Drug-free zones are areas that are specifically earmarked by federal and state laws to be zones in which the penalties for drug-related convictions are enhanced. According to Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.134, drug free zones include:
- Youth centers
- School buses
- Private or public daycare centers or elementary or secondary schools
- Institutions of higher education
- Video arcade facilities
- Public swimming pools
Penalties for drug possession in a non-drug free zone
The penalties for the possession of illegal drugs are separated into four different penalty groups. The penalty group and the amount of drugs confiscated determine whether a charge is a felony or a misdemeanor.
- A conviction for a Group 1 or 2 type drug, which include narcotics and hallucinogens, is a felony and can result in fines of up to $50,000 and incarceration from 180 days to life.
- A conviction for drugs from Group 3 and 4, which includes certain prescription drugs, can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount of the drugs.
Penalties for drug possession in a drug-free zone
If you are charged with the possession of an illegal drug in a drug-free zone, your offense will be enhanced and penalty increased. For example, a third-degree felony drug possession charge in a non-drug-free zone can result in a penalty of no more than 10 years in jail. In a drug-free zone, the charge would be a second-degree felony with a maximum jail term of 20 years.
Additional consequences of drug-related convictions in a drug-free zone may include:
- Suspension of your driver's license for at least six months
- Being unable to serve a sentence for a drug conviction concurrently with any other unrelated conviction
- Unable to have a sentence reduced for good conduct while in prison
- No option for parole eligibility
Consult an attorney
A drug possession in a drug-free zone can result in harsher than normal punishments. If you have been arrested, contact a criminal attorney at the law firm of Nix|Poet no matter where you were at the time of your arrest. We will protect your rights to the full extent of the law