Possession of Controlled Substance (POCS)

The Texas Health and Safety Code outlines the possession of Controlled Substance laws in Texas, dividing controlled substances into five penalty groups, which all carry a different range of punishment for different amounts/quantities in possession at the time of arrest.

Some of the substance are illegal drugs. However, some of the substances are legal prescription drugs which you can be arrested for if you are in possession of these drugs without a valid prescription.You can even be arrest for legal drugs that you have a valid prescription for if you do not have the prescription medication in the original prescription bottle at the time of the detention/arrest.

Penalty GroupExamples of Drugs/Controlled Substances
1Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, GHB, ketamine, oxycodone and hydrocodone.
1ALSD
2Ecstasy (MMDA), PCP, mescaline, (resinous extractives of Cannabis that aren’t marihuana, e.g. hashish)
3Valium, Xanax and Ritalin.
4Compounds containing Dionine, Motofen, Buprenorphine or Pryovalerone

Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for possession of a controlled substance depends on the penalty group in conjunction with the amount/weight of the drug.

Penalty Group 1
WeightClassificationPenalty
Less than one gramState Jail Felony180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
1 gram or more,
less than 4 grams
Third-degree Felony2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
4 grams or more,
but less than 200
grams
Second-degree Felony2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
200 grams or more,
but less than 400
grams
First-degree Felony5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
400 grams or moreEnhanced First-degree Felony10 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $100,000
Penalty Group 1A
AmountClassificationPenalty
Fewer than 20 unitsState Jail Felony180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
20 or more units,
but less than 80 units
Third-degree Felony2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
80 units or more,
but less than 4,000
units
Second-degree Felony2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
4,000 units or more,
but less than 8,000
units
First-degree Felony5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
8,000 units or moreEnhanced First-degree Felony15 to 99 years in a state prison and a fine of not more than $250,000
Penalty Group 2
WeightClassificationPenalty
Less than one gramState Jail Felony180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
More than 1 gram,
less than 4 grams
Third-degree Felony2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
More than 4 grams,
less than 400 grams
Second-degree Felony2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
400 grams or moreEnhanced First-degree Felony5 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $50,000
Penalty Groups 3 and 4
WeightClassificationPenalty
Less than 28 gramsClass A MisdemeanorNot more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000
28 grams or more,
but less than 200
grams
Third-degree Felony2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
200 grams or more,
but less than 400
grams
Second-degree Felony2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
400 grams or moreEnhanced First-degree Felony5 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $50,000
Additional Penalties for Possession of Controlled Substance
  • For ALL drug related convictions, the State of Texas will suspend your Driver's License for up to six months.
  • The Texas Tax Code also outlines potential civil penalties for a POCS conviction. Although the statute is not often used in minor possession cases, the code requires taxes to be paid on illegal drugs, so that “dealers” can be charged with tax evasion.
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure also allows police to seize any property used or “intended to be used” in the commission of a drug crime . That means that in a separate case, the District Attorney's Office can seize your money, car, home, or any other belongings that where used to transport or hide drugs or that may be considered profits from the sale of drugs. The asset forfeiture law is a civil case, not a criminal case. Be aware - a conviction in your criminal case is not necessary for the the state to take your property.

Most drug possession penalties are complicated and your possible range of punishment will depend on the classification of the substance and the quantity of the substance that you were in possession of at the time of the arrest.

Things are even more complicated if you have a prior drug conviction or if you are currently on probation (out of ANY Texas County) for a drug charge.

Will My Drivers License be Suspension?

Many people do not realize that a drug conviction of any type will lead to a Driver's License suspension. Even if you were NOT operating a motor vehicle at the time of the alleged offense, the Driver's License suspension will apply if you are convicted. If your case is not dismissed or you do not obtain deferred adjudication probation, you will lose your license for 180 days if you are over 21. If you are under 21, you may lose your license for one year. A conviction for any of the following offenses will result in an automatic Drive's License suspension: Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Controlled Substance or Possession of a Dangerous Drug case.

Drug or Controlled Substance Offenses and the Texas DPS penalties:

Individuals who are convicted of a drug or controlled substance offense will face the following penalties:

  • Will have their driver license suspended for 180 days, and
  • Are required to complete a 15-hour class in an authorized Drug Education Program for each conviction. (Online courses will not be accepted for this requirement)
Individuals who do not have a driver license at the time of the offense will be denied the issuance of a driver license for 180 days. The 180 days for the denial of issuance, also known as an Order of Prohibition, starts when the individual contacts the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and completes the appropriate form.This form is NOT available online, you must go to a local DPS Office and pick one up in person.

Prior to the renewal or issuance of a driver license, the defendant must:

  1. Pay the required reinstatement fee and
  2. Obtain a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) from an authorized insurance company then submit to DPS (an SR-22 must be maintained for two years from the date of conviction), and
  3. Submit to DPS the certificate of completion for the required Drug Education Program. To find the program that is right for you, click here for a list of agencies. Then you must contact that agency directly and register for the class.
To check your driver eligibility with Texas DPS, click here.

Gilbert G. Garcia, has practiced Criminal Law since 1978 and has been Board Certified in Criminal Law since 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is the logical choice to represent you in your criminal case, providing the quality legal services you deserve in your most important matters.

Free initial consultations and reasonable fees. Personal payments plans available and most major credit cards accepted. Many issues are able to be handled via e-mail, phone calls and fax and after hours and weekend appointments are available upon request to meet the needs of each client.

Conveniently located on the Montgomery County Courthouse square since 1983.

For more information on Possession of Controlled Substance, Contact Gilbert Garcia today at 936-756-3333.


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