If police officers in Texas suspect you of criminal activity related to drugs, they may arrest you. A prosecutor will review the evidence and charge you with the most serious offense that they can give in the circumstance.
People often don’t realize until after their arrest that even simple drug possession can sometimes be a felony offense in Texas. Possession of prescription drugs or marijuana concentrates can lead to an automatic felony charge in certain cases.
Even if someone faces a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony one, the penalties in court and the lasting social consequences of a drug charge could forever alter their lives. How can those accused of drug charges in Texas protect themselves?
One of the most common strategies in drug cases will involve questioning the evidence the state has. For example, maybe the officers assumed that a substance was a drug but didn’t have it tested by a laboratory until after arresting you. Maybe there are contamination issues that made you police failed to properly secure the crime scene or they didn’t maintain accurate chain of custody records.
There could also be grounds to challenge any evidence gathered when the police violated your rights while trying to build the case against you. Anytime there are issues with how the state gathered, handled or analyzed evidence, that could help your defense.
In theory, the state can charge you with a criminal offense when police officers find something illegal in your home or your vehicle, even though you maintain you weren’t aware that those items were there. Those accused of a crime because the police find drugs near them or on their property could try to prove those drugs belonged to someone else.
Sometimes, those accused of drug offenses recognize that they have a substance abuse issue and would like to regain control over their lives. Texas does have adult drug treatment courts that offer an alternative process for those accused of addiction-related nonviolent offenses. If you go through the drug courts instead of the criminal courts, you could avoid a criminal record and the penalties that a judge might sentence you to in criminal proceedings.