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The Laws in Texas: Possession of Opioids

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Has your doctor ever written you a prescription for painkillers? If so, then you likely already know how much relief these drugs can provide for those in need. These types of drugs do have a dark side, though. They can be very addictive and harmful in large doses.

As a result, both the federal government and the state of Texas have criminalized the possession of opioids without a prescription. What exactly are Opioids, and what’s the law in Texas? What should you do if you’re charged with an opioid-related crime? Learn all the answers and more below.

What’s an Opioid?

You may have heard about the opioid crisis – but, what exactly are opioids, anyway? Opioids are defined as a specific group of drugs that interact with the brain and the body’s opioid receptors. These receptors are what alert our body to painful sensations. When these drugs interact with the receptors, the user experiences a euphoric state that’s marked by pain relief.

These unique properties make opioids very useful in the medical field. On the other hand, they’re also a popular recreational drug because they produce an addictive high. Here’s a list of some of the most common types of opioids:

  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin

You’ve likely heard about many of these drugs in the news. Misuse is increasing, while availability appears to be increasing. Learn more about the laws surrounding possession below.

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The Laws in Texas: Possession of an Opioid

If you have a valid medical prescription for an opioid, then you’re legally allowed to ingest the substance. Never share your prescriptions with anyone else, and only take them as directed by your doctor. There are specific risks associated with medical opioid use that you should discuss with your doctor.

If you don’t have a prescription, then there’s no legal reason for you to be in possession of an opioid. The law in Texas is clear – all opium derivatives are classified as a group one drug.

Group one drugs are the most severely punished substances. Less than one gram of an opium derivative is a felony charge. The reason why the state of Texas punishes group one drugs so severely is that they consider these substances very addictive and dangerous.

If you get charged with possession of an opioid in Texas, that means the state must prove you had control over the drug. You must have been in custody, control, actual care or management of the opioid.

Consequences of an Opioid Possession Charge

The consequences of getting convicted of opioid possession in Texas are steep. There are a number of factors that could impact your sentence including:

  • The amount of the substance you were in possession of
  • Prior convictions
  • Whether police believe you were selling the drug
  • If you also possessed paraphernalia

At a minimum, a conviction can mean at least two years behind bars. You’ll also face hefty fees ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000. If you are charged with a first-degree felony, then you could get sentenced anywhere from 15 to 99 years in prison.

Steps to Take After Getting Arrested

Did police accuse you of possessing an opioid? If so, then you likely got handcuffed right away. Police may have explained the situation to you, but you never really got an opportunity to defend yourself. You probably spent the night in jail pondering over how you’ll collect bail.

Does this situation sound familiar?

If you find yourself accused of such a serious crime, then it’s important to navigate the situation delicately. You need to be aware of and uphold your rights every step of the way. Take the following steps after getting arrested for opioid possession in Texas:

  • Utilize your right to remain silent
  • Do not answer an officer’s questions without an attorney present
  • Obey the officer’s commands
  • Do not attempt to resist arrest
  • Follow all commands while going through the booking process

For most, this notion doesn’t make sense. Innocent until proven guilty, right? While this notion holds true in court, it’s an officer’s job to charge you with the crime and arrest you. It’s your responsibility to follow an officer’s commands even if you’re not guilty.

Whether you can arrange for bail or not, it’s important to use your right to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney, one will get appointed to you. State representation still trumps no representation, so use this option if it’s the only one you have.

If you can afford to hire a lawyer, then it’s best to seek out one who has specific experience defending clients against opioid possession charges. They’ll be more prepared to help you construct the best defense possible in your circumstances. Learn more about that below.

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Constructing a Defense Against Opioid Possession Charges

How can you possibly defend yourself against possession charges? There are a few different defense strategies available to you, but you and your attorney will have to discern which one applies in your circumstances. Here’s an overview of the most common possession defense strategies:

  • Arguing a mistake of fact (you weren’t in possession of the drug or the substance isn’t an opioid)
  • Claiming the officer violated your right to be free of unlawful search and seizure
  • Entrapment
  • You have a valid prescription
  • The officers violated other constitutional rights during your arrest

The goal of crafting this defense strategy is to clear you of any guilt. Sometimes, though, the prosecutor’s evidence against you is extensive. If this sounds like your situation, then you may have limited options. You and your attorney should discuss whether a plea deal agreement would be beneficial or not.

Getting Charged With Possession of an Opioid in Texas

Were you or a loved one recently charged with possession of an opioid in Texas? Recognize the gravity of the situation; the accused’s freedom is at risk. The person charged with the crime was likely taken directly to jail. Once you’ve arranged bail, your next step should be to contact a defense attorney.

Not long ago, President Trump declared that the opioid crisis is a public health emergency. That means courtrooms in Texas are more likely to favor harsh sentences for the accused. Don’t risk your freedom by attempting to represent yourself. Reach out to an attorney and begin constructing a solid defense strategy now.

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