Texas law is very clear, the possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony offense. Possession is defined as being in direct control or having direct access to the drug.
The State of Texas considers cocaine a dangerous, addictive drug and the precursor of other crimes like robbery, murder, and theft. For this reason, the possession of cocaine, crack, or even crack-pipes, residue, and trace amounts of the drug will result in an arrest and a felony drug charge in the state of Texas.
Georgetown Cocaine Possession Attorney | Williamson County, TX
If you were arrested for possession of cocaine, there may be some options available to keep you out of jail, but not very many. Attorney Jackson F. Gorski at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has extensive experience defending people who are facing criminal charges for drug offenses in Austin and can represent you in court.
Call 512-960-4646 to schedule your first consultation with The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski as soon as possible.
Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County.
- Penalties For Cocaine Possession
- Additional Penalties For Cocaine Possession In Texas
- Defenses for Cocaine Possession
- Additional Resources
Penalties for a cocaine possession charge vary in Texas depending on the amount of cocaine an individual has in their possession. All the penalties for cocaine possession are felonies. These charges can significantly impact an individual’s life—anyone charged with cocaine possession in Texas should consult with skilled defense counsel for legal representation.
Depending on the amount of cocaine an individual is found to possess, the penalties can vary as follows:
- Less than one gram – State felony, up to a $10,000 fine and a sentence of 180 days to two years in jail
- One gram to four grams – Third-degree felony, up to a $10,000 fine, and a sentence between two to ten years in prison
- Four grams to two hundred grams – Second-degree felony, up to a $10,000 fine and a sentence between two to twenty years in prison
- Two hundred grams to four hundred grams – First Degree Felony, up to a $10,000 fine and a sentence between five to life (99 years) in prison
- Greater than four hundred grams – A sentence between ten years and life imprisonment (99 years) and a maximum fine of $10,000
Although the above penalties are severe in and of themselves, there are additional consequences that someone with a cocaine possession charge on their criminal record will encounter. A charge for cocaine possession on an individual’s criminal record will likely limit many future opportunities. Employers, banks, and housing authorities often run background checks before extending employment offers, loan offers, or lease agreements. The loss of these opportunities can wreak havoc on the individual’s life.
There may also be even more additional penalties for the accused person, such as losing their Texas driver’s license and losing the right to vote and to possess a firearm. It is essential for an individual who has been charged with cocaine possession to obtain the services of a skilled attorney.
In proving that an individual committed the crime of possession of cocaine, the prosecution will have to show evidence to establish all the elements above beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high bar for them to meet. As a defendant, the individual can bring defenses that the prosecution must overcome to prove the elements of a crime. Bringing a defense makes the prosecution’s job harder, and the individual has a better chance of not being charged with a crime.
In many cases, our attorneys have helped our clients avoid conviction on charges that otherwise would have caused them to serve lengthy jail sentences. With an applicable defense, they have decreased the penalties served. This gives our clients more freedom and saves them money if they are required to pay monetary fines.
When an individual has been charged with the possession of cocaine, we may consider the use of the following defenses if applicable in the case; illegally seized evidence, violation of Miranda rights, non-ownership of the drugs, and incorrect identification of the substance.
Illegally Seized Evidence
Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officers must only search a person or their surroundings if they reasonably suspect a crime. Without reasonable suspicion that develops into probable cause to search or a search warrant, they may have committed an illegal search and seizure, and any evidence they may have found for a crime cannot be used.
When we think law enforcement has found evidence through an illegal search and seizure, we will bring a motion to suppress the evidence. For law enforcement to be able to search a residence, they must have a valid search warrant. Without the search warrant, they may still be able to search the home, but they must have a valid warrant exception. Otherwise, the individual must have given law enforcement permission. Any evidence they may have obtained illegally will likely be thrown out.
Miranda Rights Violation
If the accused was arrested for cocaine possession, the arrest and interrogation might be improper if the suspect was not adequately advised of their Miranda rights. Under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, every citizen has the right to avoid potentially incriminating themselves with anything they may say. As a result, when an individual is taken into detention, they must be read their Miranda rights, including their right to remain silent and a right to the representation of an attorney. If there is a Miranda rights violation, where the accused was not read Miranda rights in their entirety or if they were improperly or untimely given, this may be a powerful objection to the prosecution’s proposed use of certain evidence.
The Accused Didn’t Possess The Cocaine
One of the main elements of the crime of the possession of cocaine was that the cocaine was indeed the property of the person accused of the crime. We might show that the drugs were not the accused’s property by analyzing the entire situation. We can use this defense if the person did not know about the drugs and the drugs did not belong to them.
Chain Of Custody And Identification Errors
If law enforcement seizes evidence from an individual’s home, vehicle, or person and claims the substance is cocaine and then charges the individual with the possession of cocaine, we will make the prosecution prove that the substance seized was indeed cocaine. If law enforcement officers incorrectly identified the substance, we can use this as a defense.
Another defense we may be able to use in connection with the identification of the substance is a chain of custody issue. Once law enforcement seizes the substance, they must keep a log of how much of the substance there was and where it has been. This is called the chain of custody. By keeping these records, law enforcement is trying to ensure that the substances from two crimes are neither interchanged nor in unauthorized people’s hands. When the substances are getting tested, there is a chance for the chain of custody to be changed and broken. If this happens and we can prove the evidence is incorrect or was mishandled, we may also bring this as a defense.
Adult Substance Use Services – The Texas Department of Health and Human Services provides free, confidential help for individuals in Texas who may be suffering from a substance use disorder.
Texas Controlled Substances Act – The Texas Controlled Substances Act explains the possession of cocaine charge in Texas and the penalties.
Austin Cocaine Possession Lawyer | Travis County, TX
If you have been arrested for cocaine possession, it’s important to understand that you have legal options to fight back against prosecution. The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has years of experience defending Texans accused of drug offenses and can provide legal counsel throughout the entire process. Attorney Jackson F. Gorski will help you find the best possible strategy to fight the charges.
Call 512-960-4646 to schedule a free consultation today. The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown, TX.