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Charged with drug possession in a drug-free zone in Texas?

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
  • Playgrounds
  • 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

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