DRUG CRIMES - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The attorneys at the Jimenez Law Firm understand that being charged with a drug offense can result in many unforeseen consequences such as: Driver’s license suspension, inability to obtain jobs in the future, inability to receive financial aid from school, inability to maintain your current employment, etc.  Furthermore, we understand that often times when a person is charged with a drug offense, it stems from a drug addiction.  At the Jimenez Law Firm the attorneys not only have the requisite knowledge and experience to handle your legal issues, as Attorneys & Counselors we feel that it is our duty to not only assist you through your legal issues but also counsel you through life issues.  We, at the Jimenez Law Firm, understand that merely beating the charge does not beat the addiction and if the addiction itself is not cured, you’ll be back in our office with a new drug charge.  The most important part of handling a drug case is ensuring that our client’s future is the best it can be.  To do this, we look at various ways to dispose of your case without you having a conviction on your record for the rest of your life and we assist you finding treatment necessary to prevent the addiction from affecting the rest of your life.

THE LAW

Is marijuana legal in Texas?

No, the possession of marijuana is always illegal in Texas.  Marijuana may not even be used for medicinal purposes in Texas.

I heard that if I only have one marijuana cigarette, I couldn’t be arrested.  Is that true?

No, you can always be arrested for possession of marijuana (see chart below).  Possession of paraphernalia, on the other hand, may just result in a citation.

THE CONSEQUENCES

What are the consequences for possession of marijuana/controlled substances?


Class C

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

0-$500 fine

Class B

Possession of Marijuana (0-2 oz)

0 – 180 days in jail

Class A

Possession of Marijuana (2-4 oz)

0 -1 year in jail

State Jail

Possession of Marijuana (4 oz – 5 lbs)
Possession of Penalty Group 1
Less than 1 gram (such as Cocaine, Heroin, etc.)

6-24 months in state jail

3rd Degree

Possession of Marijuana (5 lbs – 50 lbs)
Possession of Penalty Group 1
1-4 grams (such as Cocaine, Heroin, etc.)

2-10 years in prison

2nd Degree

Possession of Marijuana (50 lbs – 2000 lbs)
Possession of Penalty Group 1
4-200 grams (such as Cocaine, Heroin, etc.)

2-20 years in prison

1st Degree

Possession of Penalty Group 1 (200-400 grams)
(such as Cocaine, Heroin, etc.)

5 years – life in prison

1st Degree (enhanced)

Possession of Penalty Group 1 (over 400 grams)
(such as Cocaine, Heroin, etc.)

10 years – life in prison

Will my driver’s license be suspended?

Yes, generally a conviction for a drug offense will result in your driver’s license being suspended for a period of 180 days.  However, the attorney’s at the Jimenez Law Firm can assist you in obtaining an occupational drivers license while your license is under suspension so that your life is impacted as little as possible.

How will a drug conviction affect me going to school?

A lot of times it will not affect your inability to enroll in college.  It will, however, generally affect your ability to received student financial aid to assist you in paying for you classes.

How will a drug conviction affect me obtaining/maintaining employment?

Different jobs will be affected different ways.  The attorneys at the Jimenez Law Firm law recognize how important employment is to everyone, especially in today’s world.  We will look at each individual’s unique situation and determine which resolution will best fit your situation to have as little impact as possible on your employment.

THE STOP/ARREST

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable search and seizures by the government. In the majority of drug cases, the legality of how law enforcement officials obtain the evidence the Government plans to use in support of their case is the most important issue in the case. If law enforcement officials violate the Fourth Amendment, the evidence is inadmissible and the Government will often dismiss the case.

What do I do if I am stopped while in possession of marijuana or a controlled substance?

Always be polite and respectful to the police officer. Disrespecting the police officer will not help you at all and can potentially impact you negatively.

The officer will first ask you for your driver's license and insurance, provide those to him as quickly as possible.

If the officer has reason to suspect you are in possession of marijuana or a controlled substance he will probably ask you if you have anything illegal in the vehicle. If you are asked this, tell the officer you wish to invoke your 5th amendment right to be free from self-incrimination. Do not answer any questions relating to the drugs or admit being in possession. You can answer every question you are asked with your invocation of your 5th amendment right once you have identified yourself.

After this, the officer will probably ask you to step out of the car. Do as he asks and step out shutting the door behind you.

The officer will probably do a "pat down" of your outer clothing. Do not consent to one but if he does it without asking or after you refused, allow him to do it. When the officer squeezes your pocket and asks you what he is grabbing, if it is not illegal then answer the question, if it is illegal then again exercise your 5th amendment right. The officer might ask your permission for him to remove it, do not give him permission. The officer might ask you to remove it, you should refuse to do so.

The officer will then probably ask to search your automobile. Always deny the officer consent to search. In the event the officer begins to search without your permission, inform the officer that he does not have your consent to search and you do not want him in your vehicle. The officer might tell you that he will bring a drug dog to get probable cause to search. Tell the officer to do what he needs to do but you are not consenting to a search. The officer might threaten you with taking you to jail for a traffic offense if you refuse the search. Again, tell the officer to do what he needs to but you are not consenting to a search. REMEMBER: If you have drugs in the vehicle and you give them permission to search. You are only hurting yourself because you are going to jail either way.

Once you are placed under arrest, immediately ask for an attorney and do not say another word. As soon as you get the opportunity to make a phone call, have your family or friends contact The Jimenez Law Firm so that you can have an aggressive team of experienced lawyers assist you with your case.

PUNISHMENT

What are the potential punishments I could receive?

There are a number of different ways to resolve a drug case and the manner in which we dispose of it solely depends on the facts of your situation. Due to various circumstances some options may not be available to everyone. The attorneys at the Jimenez Law Firm will look at your unique situation to determine which one will most benefit your legal issue as well as your life. Here are some options:

Pre-Trial Diversion (PTD) - PTD is a probation period with the DA's office where a person is supervised for a period not to exceed 2 years. This program operates much like regular probation in that it requires fees, classes, monthly reporting, community service, etc. After successful completion of the program the case is dismissed. Additionally, after the proscribed period for the offense it can be expunged.

Deferred Adjudication Probation - Deferred Adjudication Probation is where the judge defers his finding of guilt and places a person on probation for a period not to exceed 10 years. Upon successful completion of the probation period the judge will dismiss the proceedings against the person and discharge them from probation. Additionally, after the proscribed period for the offense, the person may apply for a non-disclosure. A non-disclosure will prevent the public from viewing this offense.

Straight Probation - With straight probation, a person is found guilty, convicted, and sentenced to a term in jail/prison, which is then "probated" for a specified period of time resulting in the person being placed on probation in lieu of confinement. This results in a final conviction that will stay on your record for the rest of your life.

Jail/Prison time - A person will have the option of choosing jail/prison time instead of a probation period. Additionally, there are instances where an individual is not eligible for probation or probation is not offered by the District Attorneys office. If a person accepts jail/prison time, the person will be found guilty, convicted, and sentenced to the agreed upon term resulting in a conviction that will stay on their record for the rest of their lives.

Trial - A person ALWAYS has the option of taking their case to trial. An individual is constitutionally entitled to a jury trial if they should so choose. At a jury trial the individual will have the opportunity to confront and cross examine their accusers, put on evidence, and most importantly require the state to meet their burden. There are times when this is the best option for a person that is actually guilty of the offense in which they are charged. The attorneys at the Jimenez Law Firm will evaluate your case and give you solid legal advise as to whether this option is right for you. Additionally, you will have the comfort of knowing that if this turns out to be the best option for you, you have a qualified team of litigators to go to court and fight for you.