Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney: Complete Guide to Defending Drug Charges
As an Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney, I have been practicing law for over 12 years and have handled uncountable drug cases in my career. As a former chief prosecutor and board-certified criminal law specialist, I bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to every case I handle.
Drug cases are some of the most serious criminal charges that one can face, and they carry severe consequences, including imprisonment, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record. A drug case can arise from various scenarios, such as the possession, distribution, and trafficking of illegal substances. Given the complexity of drug cases and the severe consequences that come with a conviction, it is critical to seek representation from an attorney with experience handling these types of cases. In this blog post, we will discuss the different aspects of defending a drug case, from understanding drug crimes to building a strong defense, working with clients, preparing for trial, and more.
Common Drug Offenses and Punishments in Texas
In Texas, drug offenses are classified into different penalty groups based on the type of drug and the amount in possession. The different penalty groups include:
List of Common Drugs
Penalty Group 1
Cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, oxycodone, methodone, heroin, and more.
Penalty Group 1-A
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and other hallucinogens.
Penalty Group 1-B
Fentanyl, alpha-methylfentanyl, and any other derivative of fentanyl.
Penalty Group 2
Ecstasy and other synthetic drugs.
Penalty Group 2-A
Derivatives of cannabinol.
Penalty Group 3
Benzodiazepines and sedatives including drugs such as Valium, hydrocodone, and Xanax.
Penalty Group 4
Darvocet, morphine, and other prescription medications.
The penalties for drug crimes in Texas depend on the penalty group, the amount of drugs involved, and the type of offense. For example, possession of less than one gram of a Penalty Group 1 drug is a state jail felony, punishable by 180 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000, while possession of 400 grams or more is a first-degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Similarly, distribution or manufacturing of drugs carries even more severe penalties. For instance, delivering or selling less than one gram of a Penalty Group 1 drug is a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, while delivering or selling 400 grams or more is a first-degree felony, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
For a Complete Guide to Penalty Groups in Texas, click here: Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Typical Evidence Used by Prosecutors in Drug Cases
Police and prosecutors use various types of evidence in drug cases to establish the presence of drugs and the defendant's involvement in drug-related activity. Here are some common types of evidence used in drug cases:
Physical evidence: This includes any drugs or drug paraphernalia that were found during a search. This can include items such as baggies, scales, pipes, and syringes. Physical evidence can also include any residue or trace amounts of drugs found on surfaces, clothing, or in vehicles.
Witness testimony: Witnesses, including police officers, informants, and bystanders, can provide testimony that can be used to establish the defendant's involvement in drug-related activity. This can include information about drug transactions, possession, and distribution.
Surveillance footage: Surveillance footage from cameras installed in public areas or from police surveillance can provide visual evidence of drug-related activity. This may include footage of drug transactions or drug use.
Forensic evidence: Forensic evidence, such as DNA analysis or drug analysis, can be used to establish the presence of drugs and link the defendant to the drugs. For example, drug analysis can identify the type and quantity of drugs present in a substance, while DNA analysis can link the defendant to drugs or drug-related activity.
It's important to note that not all evidence used in drug cases is admissible in court. The admissibility of evidence depends on whether the evidence was obtained lawfully, whether it is relevant to the case, and whether it was handled and preserved properly. An experienced criminal defense attorney can challenge the admissibility of evidence that was obtained unlawfully or is not relevant to the case.
Defending Drug Charges in Texas
When facing drug charges, it's essential to have a strong defense strategy in place. Here are some defense strategies that can be used in drug cases:
Challenging the search and seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. If the search or seizure of drugs was unlawful, any evidence obtained during the search may be suppressed, which could lead to a dismissal of the charges.
Proving lack of knowledge or possession: One of the elements of drug possession charges is knowledge and intent. If the defendant was unaware that the drugs were present or did not have control or access to them, they cannot be convicted of drug possession.
Questioning the chain of custody: The chain of custody refers to the documentation that tracks the evidence from the time of collection to its presentation in court. If there are any inconsistencies or gaps in the chain of custody, it may be possible to challenge the evidence's admissibility.
Arguing entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces someone to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. If the defendant was induced or coerced into committing the drug offense, they may be able to argue entrapment.
To build a strong defense case, it's essential to gather evidence, including police reports, witness statements, and any physical evidence related to the case. It's also important to consult with experts, such as forensic scientists or medical professionals, who can provide testimony and analysis to support the defense.
Hiring an Experienced Atascosa County Drug Lawyer
Drug cases are serious criminal offenses that can have severe consequences. In this blog post, we have discussed the different types of drug crimes, penalties for drug offenses, defense strategies, and types of evidence used in drug cases.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to help defend your rights and protect your future. Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC is a reputable law firm in San Antonio, Texas that specializes in criminal defense cases, particularly in drug-related offenses. Here are some reasons why you should hire Thornton Criminal Defense to represent you:
Experience: Brad Thornton, the firm's principal attorney, has over a decade of experience in criminal defense and has served as a former chief prosecutor. He has a deep understanding of how the criminal justice system works and can provide you with sound legal advice and representation.
Expertise: Brad Thornton is a board-certified criminal attorney, meaning that he has undergone rigorous training and testing to demonstrate his knowledge and skill in criminal law. He has a strong reputation for providing high-quality legal representation and are recognized as an expert in his field.
Personalized attention: The firm takes a client-centered approach, providing personalized attention to each client's unique needs and circumstances. They understand that every case is different and will work closely with you to develop a tailored defense strategy that is specifically designed to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Aggressive representation: Attorney Brad Thornton is know for his aggressive and proactive approach to defending his clients' rights. He will use his expertise and resources to challenge the prosecution's case and protect your constitutional rights.
If you are facing criminal charges, don't hesitate to contact Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC today for a free consultation at (210) 439-5627.