New Texas Drug Laws Recently Went Into Effect; Georgetown Criminal Defense Lawyer Analyzes Drug Offenses and Penalties in Texas

The 82nd Texas legislature included bath salts and synthetic marijuana products in the Texas Controlled Substances Act on September 1, 2011 under SB 331 and HB 2118. Georgetown criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Price discusses the changes to Texas’ drug laws, and the potential offenses and penalties an individual could face if they are charged with and convicted of a drug crime.

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An individual that has synthetic marijuana or bath salts in their possession can be charged with a variety of drug offenses in Texas, including possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute and drug manufacturing.

Georgetown, Texas (PRWEB) March 02, 2012

The Texas legislature recently amended the state’s drug laws by adding bath salts and synthetic marijuana to the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Michael J. Price, a criminal defense attorney in Round Rock, analyzes the effect this new legislation will have on Texas residents.

House Bill 2118 and Senate Bill 331 both became effective on September 1, 2011 and added certain chemically made substances, including bath salts, synthetic marijuana, spice and K2 to the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

According to Georgetown drug possession lawyer Michael J. Price, “Substances such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts are sold in many shops throughout the state and have been legal to purchase in the past. Unfortunately, most Texas residents do not know about the change in the state’s drug laws, and will now be charged with a criminal offense if they are caught with these types of substances in their possession.”

The text of SB 331 created Penalty Group 2-A, which added any quantity of a synthetic chemical compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and mimics the effects of naturally occurring cannabinoids, including substances such as synthetic marijuana, spice and K2.

Additionally, HB 2118 added the cocaine-like synthetic substance commonly known as bath salts to Penalty Group 2 and includes substances such as Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, MDPV, Mephedrone, Cloud Nine, Ivory Wave and Blue Silt.

“An individual that has synthetic marijuana or bath salts in their possession can be charged with a variety of drug offenses in Texas, including possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute and drug manufacturing,” stated Price, a drug defense lawyer in Round Rock.

The Texas Controlled Substances Act classifies every controlled substance into one of four different penalty groups, which are used to establish the criminal penalties for anyone charged with a drug offense in the state. The penalty groups range from Penalty Group 1, which can result in the most serious criminal penalties to Penalty Group 4, with the least serious criminal penalties for drug offenses.

Penalty Group 2 (PG-2) of the Texas Controlled Substances Act contains substances that have a high potential for abuse, but are used for some medical purposes. Examples of substances in this group are magic mushrooms, mescaline, psilocin and psilocybin.

“The punishments for a Penalty Group 2 drug conviction in Texas are severe and can lead to jail or prison time and steep fines, depending on the offense an alleged offender is charged with. For example, possession of a PG-2 controlled substance can result in a felony conviction, ranging anywhere from a state jail felony to a felony of the first degree, depending on the amount of the substance. A conviction for possession with intent to sell or distribute a PG-2 substance can result in even more serious penalties,” said Price.

According to SB 331, possession of synthetic marijuana in Penalty Group 2-A can result in criminal charges varying from a Class B misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree, depending on the amount of the synthetic substance.

As defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code:

  •     A class B misdemeanor drug possession offense is punishable by a jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $2,000;
  •     A class A misdemeanor drug possession offense is punishable by a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine up to $4,000;
  •     A state jail felony drug possession offense is punishable by a jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $10,000;
  •     A felony of the third degree drug possession offense is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000;
  •     A felony of the second degree drug possession offense is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000;
  •     A felony of the first degree drug possession offense is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

Michael J. Price of the Law Office of Michael J. Price is a criminal defense attorney in Georgetown who represents individuals charged with criminal offenses throughout Central, Texas including the surrounding areas of Williamson County, Bell County, Round Rock, Cedar park, Killeen, Temple, Harker Heights, Leander, Taylor, Belton, Hutto, Nolanville and Salado.


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