If you have been arrested for drug trafficking in Fort Bend, you face a very serious situation. Texas imposes some of the harshest penalties for drug trafficking in the nation. You will need to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The Texas Controlled Substances Act defines drug trafficking as the manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver an illegal drug.
What are the Federal Drug Trafficking Laws?
Under federal law, drug trafficking is generally referred to as the sale and distribution of illegal drugs. You will be charged with a federal drug trafficking offense if you are accused of bringing narcotics across the U.S. border from Mexico to Texas to sell or distribute. It is also a federal offense if you are participating in drug trafficking across state borders.
You can be charged with both state and federal drug trafficking charges at the same time. Your criminal defense attorney will be a needed resource.
What are the Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Texas?
Texas punishes drug trafficking harshly. A conviction carries a felony sentence, but the penalty and charge vary based on the amount and type of drug. The more dangerous the state classifies the controlled substance and the larger the amount, the more severe your penalty.
Penalties range from state jail felonies on the low end to first-degree felonies on the high end. A state jail felony is punishable by six months to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. A first-degree felony is punishable by 15 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. With a felony on your record, you may have difficultly securing employment, finding housing, or obtaining loans and other government benefits.
In addition to criminal penalties, you may face civil asset forfeiture. If this happens, the government can seize your personal property, including homes, vehicles, cash, and other personal belongings.
What are the Penalties for Federal Drug Trafficking Charges?
As with state charges, the penalties for drug trafficking under federal law heavily depend on the type and the amount of drug involved. Sentences range from five years to life imprisonment. Additionally, the court could order you to pay thousands to millions of dollars in fines. There are no mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking under federal law.
Penalties are increased if under certain circumstances. For example, you have a prior conviction, or someone was killed during the commission of the crime.
What are Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges in Texas?
An experienced attorney can use various defenses to fight drug trafficking charges in Fort Bend. A few common defenses are listed below.
- Unlawful search or seizure. The arresting officers must have probable cause and follow proper procedure when searching a person, their home, belongings, or vehicle. If the government violated your Fourth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, the court may suppress evidence, causing your case to be dismissed or reduced.
- The entrapment defense argues that an undercover agent or confidential informant coerced the defendant to commit a crime that they otherwise would not have committed.
- Lack of possession. For example, your attorney could argue that you were a passenger in a vehicle where drugs were found, but none were actually in your possession.
- The controlled substances were not intended for human consumption. For example, your attorney could argue that you were transporting hemp to make rope.
- Lack of intent. You must have acted knowingly and been aware that the drugs were in your possession to be convicted.
What Should You Do If You Are Accused of Drug Trafficking in Texas?
You should reach out to a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as you are aware you are under investigation or are arrested. Under no circumstances should you talk to law enforcement officers without an attorney. Drug trafficking cases are complex, and you will need aggressive legal representation to avoid the harsh penalties of a conviction.
A qualified attorney will investigate your case and create an effective defense strategy. Having an experienced attorney on your side is needed to give you the best chance of avoiding severe penalties.
Your Fort Bend Drug Trafficking Attorney
If you or a loved one were accused of drug trafficking, you should reach out to a qualified Sugar Land attorney as soon as possible. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who will evaluate your case and provide the best possible representation. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.