prescription drugs being poured out

An Overview of Drug Crimes in Texas

Did you know that sharing a drug prescribed to you by your doctor can be considered delivery of a controlled substance? While most think of drug crimes as those portrayed in movies, drug crimes are more common than you expect. Our drug crimes attorneys at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC share an explanation of the state of drug crimes in Texas.

Drug Schedules

Drugs are categorized into five drug schedules, I, II, III, IV, and V. Schedules are created by the DEA based on the risk of drug abuse. Due to the perceived risk of schedule I drugs, they are unable to be prescribed for medical use, unlike drugs in schedules II - V.

Penalty Groups

Texas has four penalty groups and two penalty subgroups used to control substance use, manufacture, and sale. In addition to these penalty groups, enhancements can be added to the potential sentence if the crime was conducted with children, in a drug-free zone, and in other circumstances. A drug-free zone is an area within 1,000 feet of a public or private school, playground, youth center, daycare, university, or other locations of higher education.

Drug schedules and penalty groups are not the same: drug schedules are federally regulated while each state sets unique penalty groups. However, drug schedules and penalty groups often share the characteristic of ranking drugs by potential abuse and harm to the individual.

Group 1 (PG1)

Penalty group 1 regulates opiates and opium derivatives. Examples of opium derivatives and other group 1 regulated substances include:

  • Morphine,
  • Heroin,
  • Cocaine,
  • Rohypnol, medically known as flunitrazepam,
  • Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth,
  • PCP,
  • GHB, and
  • Ketamine.

These substances have punishments that range from state jail felonies and less than $10,000 in fines for less than a gram of possession, manufacture, or delivery, to life in prison and less than $250,000 in fines for possession, manufacture, or delivery of the substance for greater than 400 grams.

Group 1-A (PG1-A)

This penalty group solely regulates lysergic acid diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD. LSD is separated into its subgroup as it is measured in units rather than grams; however, it does carry the same punishments as its PG1 counterparts.

Group 2 (PG2)

Penalty Group 2 relegates hallucinogenic substances, depressants, and compound derivatives from 2-aminopropanel. Examples of Group 2 substances include:

  • DMT,
  • MDMA, also known as “Molly,”
  • BSP,
  • Psilocybin, also known as “magic mushrooms,”
  • Mescaline,
  • Phenylacetone,
  • Amphetamine,
  • Vyvanse,
  • Qualuude,
  • MDPV, and
  • Mephedrone.

While less dangerous than PG1 drugs, they carry harsh punishment if convicted.

Group 2 - A (PG2-A)

Penalty Group 2A regulates drugs that mimic the pharmacological effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids. Examples of PG2-A drugs include:

  • THC oil,
  • Wax or dabs, known as “concentrate,” and
  • Synthetic cannabinoids, known as “spice.”

CBD is legal in Texas as long as it contains less than 0.3% of THC and does not fall under this classification.

Group 3 (PG3)

Group 3 regulates stimulants, depressants, Nalorphine, compounds containing narcotics, compounds containing other substances, peyote, appetite suppressants, Dextropropoxyphene, and non-exempt anabolic steroids. Drugs regulated under this classification may seem familiar due to their medical use; however, your doctor must prescribe them for legal use.

Examples of PG3 drugs include:

  • Xanax, medically known as alprazolam,
  • Ritalin, medically known as methylphenidate,
  • Valium, medically known as diazepam, and
  • Ativan, medically known as lorazepam.

Group 4 (PG4)

Penalty group 4 regulates drugs containing compounds with small quantities of narcotics and include quantities of non-medicinal compounds. Examples of PG4 drugs are drugs prescribed by your doctor that are not included in any of the three penalty groups above.

Enhancements for Groups 1 - 4

Along with the base penalties for each group, there can be enhancements of punishment depending on if children were involved in the crime, usage was done in the presence of a child, or if force was used in the crime. Enhancements may also apply depending on the location of delivery, if death or bodily injury was involved, or if the drug was a prescription delivered to a person other than the intended user.

Enhancements often are additional jail time or increased monetary fines reflecting the severity of the offense.

What If I Was Prescribed One of the Drugs Above?

Some drugs regulated by the state of Texas do have medical uses and can be prescribed by your doctor, such as Vyvanse, appetite suppressants, and other drugs included in Penalty Groups 1 through 4. After fulfillment by your pharmacist, the prescription’s container may have the phrasing “Caution: Federal law prohibits dispensation without prescription” or “Rx only,” to remind you the prescribed individual should be the only one taking them.

Even though you may be prescribed one of these medications to treat a medical condition, you cannot share them with others for recreational or medicinal use. Sharing these drugs is considered delivery of a controlled substance and you can be charged with additional enhancements.

If you are wrongfully arrested after using a controlled substance prescribed by your doctor, you will need to prove that these drugs were prescribed to you and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Cofer & Connelly, PLLC Criminal Defense Attorneys

At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, we can do more. We understand the gravity of a drug crime arrest and we can help you fight the charges with our team of skilled criminal defense attorneys. With a 90% dismissal or reduction rate for drug crime felonies in 2021 and 100% of our drug crimes clients avoiding jail, we understand how to deliver the best possible results for our clients’ legal issues.

Were you arrested for a drug crime in Texas? Call our team at (512) 991-0576 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can fight to protect your legal rights and win your case.