How Is A Drug Offense Elevated To A Federal Charge In Texas?
In Texas, the reason why a drug offense gets elevated to a federal charge varies. Sometimes it’s arbitrary. The federal government operates differently when it comes to drug charges compared to the state. If you get pulled over by the police, they suspect that you are in possession of something illegal, and they find it either through consent or otherwise, they make an arrest at that very moment. The federal agencies, however, usually wait months, sometimes years, after they do an investigation to make an arrest. But, whether or not it is something federal, it’s usually very thought out by the feds.
Sometimes, the federal agencies get tipped off by the state, and they start an investigation. They start wiretapping phones and getting people to use as witnesses. But generally, it’s pretty widespread with the drug conspiracy count concept, which is pretty common in Texas because we are relatively close to Mexico. There are a lot of importation charges that are related, but they’re mostly under conspiracy cases where there’s a lot of different entities and people involved. It’s really the quantity, and perhaps the sophistication of the entire conspiracy and scope. Those are some of the factors that would make it federal, and not state.
Can A Passenger Be Charged With a Drug related Offense If Drugs Are Discovered In A Vehicle?
A passenger can be charged with a drug related offense if drugs are discovered in a vehicle. In fact, many times they do, but sometimes it can be subjective as to who the officer actually arrests for the charge. If they really believe that it’s only one person’s drugs, or they actually had possession and the other person didn’t know, they might just arrest one person for the possession charge. But it’s not uncommon for them to arrest four people in a car and charge them all the same. They figure that they can sort it out later as to whether or not each individual knew or had reason to believe that there was something illegal in nature in the car. A caveat would be if four people in a car are all asked to get out of the car, and assuming that it’s lawfully asked or requested, they’re all then searched and patted down, and one of them has contraband in their pocket, that person will probably be the only one who gets arrested. But, if all four people get out of the car, and it’s found somewhere in the car, chances are all of them will be arrested.
What Are The Penalties For A Drug Related Conviction In Texas?
In Texas, the penalty for drug convictions can be quite stiff and severe. It’s really the only crime, if you think about it, in the entire penal code where there isn’t a victim or potential victim. Every other type of criminal charge, such as a burglary charge, has a victim where a home is allegedly invaded. With a DWI charge, there could be a potential victim. With a drug charge, the only victim, in theory, is the person that’s using the substance.
The punishment range and the penalties are the same. For instance, in a state felony charge, it would be the same as a burglary of a building. But generally, it does depend on the quantity of the drug.
Accordingly, I currently have a case where a person is being classified as a habitual offender. He has two prior drug convictions and another drug conviction. Having a current drug charge and being classified as a habitual offender means that if he goes to trial and loses, he gets an automatic penalty of 25 years to life. That’s pretty stiff when you consider that there has never been a victim in any of his prior criminal offenses. That being said, because of the nature of the drug charges, every county that I’ve ever been in (this does not apply to federal), tries to recognize the need for people that are drug offenders to rehabilitate. There are a number of options and specialty courts, that differ from county and courthouse, that are available for people if they’re willing and able to rehabilitate. Whether or not they want to or have the ability to do it, actually completing it is the challenge. Usually there is something available to someone that has a drug problem. Courts are amendable to trying to treat the problem, so there isn’t a recidivism.
What Are Some Potential Defenses To Drug Related Charges In Texas?
One potential defense to drug related charges is knowledge. For instance, I had a prior case in which an individual, who was a DJ in Dallas at a nightclub, was in some kind of altercation where he was arrested of intoxication and cocaine that was found in his pocket. He swore that a girl put it there. He didn’t know it was there, that was a defense that we used, and we were successful. So, even though he was actually in possession of an amount of cocaine that rose to a level of being a felony, he swore that he did not have the knowledge that it was actually there. That would be one of the elements, to prove that even if a substance is found, you weren’t actually constructively or in physical possession of that drug. Therefore, just because they find it somewhere, they might charge you with possession, but you might not actually have been in possession. For example, if they find something in your apartment and they charged you with possession of a controlled substance, you might have legitimately known that you were in possession because it was your apartment. Based on a number of circumstances, you might have known that it was there, but that might not be the case, so that could be a defense.
Another defense is contesting the quantity of the drug. A lot of times the drug amount is aggregated. A lot of times they also don’t test. Let’s say there are six grams or six units of a drug that is found. They’re not going to test all six of those units. They’re only going to test a very small minute portion of that, and if it then comes back positive for that for that substance, they’re going to assume that the entire amount was in fact that substance. In reality, in most cases, the substance gets diluted in some form or fashion by being cut down or put with different reagents. That could be the offense, but if it’s something to do with quantity, it might not. It might be something about lifestyle, but it might not actually be the total amount that they’re alleging.
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