Are There Alternative Programs Available For Drug Convictions In Texas?
Some alternative programs are available for people that are charged with a drug crime in Texas. One of those would be a pre-trial diversion. This is essentially an informal type of probation. If you successfully complete the program, then the charges are dismissed, and there is no conviction. One of the others that we see here in Lubbock County is an alternative program they call drug court. This allows the person to avoid conviction for a drug offense. That is a program where a person has to report to a judge in addition to reporting to the probation office.
Many people on pre-trial diversion, or other probation programs have to report in front of the judge, and they have to explain to the judge what is going in their lives, and how did they get in this predicament. However, these programs are usually reserved for first time offenders that are in possession of a very small quantity of drugs.
What Are The Sentences And Penalties For Drug Charges In Texas?
The sentences for drug charges in Texas can start with a citation, or ticket for possession of drug paraphernalia, or they can run up all the way to aggravated felonies. It can have minimal confinement of two years if convicted, and fines can be up to $250,000. The type of drug and quantity of drugs determines the punishment range. You are convicted whether this is what we call a simple possession charge, or if it is possession with intent to deliver charge, or intent to distribute. Obviously, if the charge is possession with intent to deliver, the punishment range is higher than simple possession.
What Is Possession, Sale, Distribution And The Intent To Distribute Unlawful Drugs?
Under Texas law, possession is the care custody, control, or management of an item. If you can control it, whether it is on your person or beside you in a car, or in the trunk, if you are the driver, you have control over the drug, or you can get to it, then you are considered to be in possession. Distribution, or delivery can be what we call actual delivery, handing it to somebody else, or it can be what we call constructive delivery. This means you are making sure that the other person gets it even if you never picked it up or handed it to them. Intent to distribute is simply a fact, which is determined by a jury, or judge at trial. If they determine that you possessed the drug, and you did so with intent to pass it to somebody else, then that would be possession with the intent to distribute under Texas law.
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