Facing Drug Trafficking Charges in Austin, TX?
Drug trafficking is a serious offense in Texas, as it involves the distribution, transportation, or sale of illegal drugs. The state's laws on drug trafficking are stringent and come with severe penalties, including lengthy prison time, hefty fines, and even federal criminal charges and sentences.
When facing such severe consequences, it's essential to have a skilled and experienced legal team on your side. At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, we have a proven track record of successfully defending clients against a wide range of drug charges in Austin and throughout Texas. Let us help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and provide the defense you need during this challenging time.
Texas Drug Trafficking Laws
Drug trafficking refers to the illegal production, distribution, and sale of controlled substances, such as narcotics, hallucinogens, and prescription drugs, across state or national borders. The offense involves a complex network of individuals and organizations that work together to transport and distribute these substances, often for financial gain. Drug trafficking is a serious criminal offense and is typically subject to severe penalties under both federal and state laws in the United States.
Texas is known for having some of the strictest drug laws in the country, and it has its own set of laws governing drug trafficking. The state classifies drugs into different schedules based on their potential for abuse and medical use. Drug trafficking laws in Texas are typically tied to these schedules.
To be convicted of drug trafficking in Texas, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- Possession: The defendant had actual or constructive possession of illegal drugs.
- Intent: The defendant had the intent to distribute, sell, or transport the drugs.
- Quantity: The quantity of drugs in possession exceeds a specified threshold, which varies depending on the type of drug.
- Knowledge: The defendant was aware of the nature of the substances in their possession.
- Criminal Enterprise: In some cases, the prosecution may attempt to link the defendant to a larger criminal organization or conspiracy.
Penalties for drug trafficking in Texas vary depending on the type and amount of the controlled substance involved, as well as the defendant's criminal history. In general, the larger the quantity and the more dangerous the drug, the more severe the penalties.
In some cases, drug trafficking offenses can result in federal charges, which typically carry even more severe penalties than state charges. This can happen if the trafficking operation crosses state lines or involves large quantities of drugs.
Types of Drug Trafficking Offenses in Texas
- Manufacture or Delivery of Substance in Penalty Group 1
- Manufacture or Delivery of Substance in Penalty Group 1-A
- Manufacture of Substance in Penalty Group 1: Presence of Child
- Manufacture or Delivery of Substance in Penalty Group 2 or 2-A
- Manufacture or Delivery of Substance in Penalty Group 3 or 4
- Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession of Miscellaneous Substances
- Delivery of Marihuana
- Delivery of Controlled Substance or Marihuana to Child
- Possession or Transport of Certain Chemicals with Intent to Manufacture Controlled Substance
- Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia
- Transfer of Precursor Substance for Unlawful Manufacture
- Manufacture or Delivery of Controlled Substance Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury
Possible Defenses to a Drug Trafficking Charge
Here are some common legal defenses that may be used in drug trafficking cases:
- Lack of Knowledge or Intent: One possible defense is to argue that you were unaware of the presence of drugs or that you had no intent to engage in drug trafficking. This can be challenging to prove, but if you can show that you had no knowledge of the drugs or that they were planted on you without your knowledge, it might be a valid defense.
- Illegal Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. If evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, it may be possible to have that evidence suppressed in court.
- Chain of Custody Issues: The prosecution must prove that the substances seized are, in fact, illegal drugs. If there are issues with the chain of custody - that is, the proper handling and documentation of the evidence from the time of seizure to the trial - it may cast doubt on the reliability of the evidence.
- Entrapment: If law enforcement agents induce or pressure an individual into committing a drug trafficking offense that they would not have otherwise committed, an entrapment defense may be raised. To establish entrapment, the defendant typically needs to show that they were not predisposed to commit the crime and that law enforcement initiated and encouraged the criminal behavior.
- Duress or Coercion: If you can demonstrate that you were forced or threatened into participating in drug trafficking against your will, you might have a duress or coercion defense. This defense relies on showing that you reasonably believed that you or your family's safety was in immediate danger.
- Illegal Stop or Arrest: If the police did not have a valid reason to stop or arrest you in the first place, this could be a basis for a defense. Your attorney may argue that the initial stop or arrest was not supported by reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
- Constructive Possession: In some cases, it may be possible to argue that you did not have actual possession of the drugs but were merely in proximity to them. Proving this defense can be complex and may require showing that you had no control over the drugs.
- Mistaken Identity: If there is a case of mistaken identity and you were not the person involved in the drug trafficking activity, you can assert this as a defense.
- Violation of Rights: If your constitutional rights were violated during the arrest, interrogation, or any other part of the legal process, your defense attorney may seek to have evidence excluded or the case dismissed.
- Substantial Assistance: In some jurisdictions, you may be able to negotiate a reduced sentence or have charges dropped if you provide substantial assistance in identifying or prosecuting others involved in drug trafficking.
Why Choose Us?
If you or a loved one is facing drug trafficking charges in Austin, Texas, it's crucial to act quickly and secure experienced legal representation. The consequences of a conviction can be life-altering, and you deserve the best defense possible.
Our legal team is known for its strategic defense tactics. We will challenge the evidence against you, question law enforcement procedures, and explore any potential violations of your constitutional rights. If your case goes to trial, you can trust our Austin drug trafficking lawyers to vigorously defend your rights in the courtroom.
We understand that facing drug trafficking charges can be emotionally challenging. Our team provides compassionate support and guidance throughout the legal process, ensuring you are informed and empowered.
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