CHAPPELL, LANEHART & STANGL

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Lubbock Drug Crimes & Defense

Drug Charges

Drug arrests can lead to strict interpretation of the law in Texas courts. In West Texas, each jurisdiction, drug cases are handled differently. Whether it is possession, conspiracy or distribution, drug offenses lead to serious consequences. If accused, it is critical to have a criminal defense attorney on your side, someone who can defend your reputation and protect your liberty.

Federal vs. State Charge

A majority of drug cases follow state laws, although drug quantities, types of substances, and intent to distribute can lead to a federal crime. Drug manufacturing, cultivation and distribution operations in West Texas are typically prosecuted in federal courts. Location can also determine a federal charge, such as distributing to those under 21 in a school, at a Post Office or another federal property.

Preparation for Trial is Critical

Every drug case is unique, and legal strategies differ based on the description of a controlled substance, quantity, whether an arrest happened on the streets, at home or while driving. Hire an experienced criminal attorney, board certified in criminal law. At Chappell, Lanehart & Stangl, our team extensively researches the nature of your arrest and prepares for trial. Our comprehensive approach has delivered reduced sentences and even dismissed cases for West Texas citizens charged with drug crimes.

Most drug cases which involve first time offenders and small possession charges of less than a 1 gram may result in probation with community supervision. However, probation is not guaranteed.

West Texas Drug Trends

Drugs in West Texas tend to follow national trends. Addiction to methamphetamine (yellow, crystal and white), heroin and opioids are on the rise. Prescription drug charges for pain killers are becoming more common. Marijuana and THC use in many forms is increasing with students, Texans with medical conditions, and the general public. Other drugs that have seen an increase include cocaine, in both powder and crack form, and stimulants.

Fentanyl is one drug that isn’t as prevalent in West Texas as other areas of the country. There are many reasons for this, and geography plays a role.

West Texas’ geography and proximity to Mexico leads to higher activity of drug cartels, drug manufacturing and distribution. Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2014, is causing more arrests for Texans driving home from Colorado.

Drug Statistics in Texas

  • Drug Possession
  • Drug Sale & Manufacturing

From the Texas Department of Public Safety

In an effort to produce reliable crime statistics for law enforcement administration, scholars, researchers, members of the media, and the public at large seeking information on crime in Texas, the TXDPS UCR program collects crime data from local law enforcement agencies. Source

drug-bust

Areas of Practice

Defendant Receives Minimum Sentence for Federal Drug Charge

A felony drug charge following a plane crash is rare. So is receiving the minimum sentence when caught with 160 pounds of marijuana. In 2013, a plane traveling from California to Houston stopped for a refuel in Plains, when it made an emergency landing. Chuck Lanehart’s client, the pilot of the plane received 24 months in prison for a conviction that could have earned 20 years in federal prison.

Client Receives New Trial After Successful Appeal

Chuck Lanehart successfully appealed a search warrant for a client accused of running a meth lab in his machine-shop business. The Texas 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo reversed a conviction on drug charges in 2002, resulting in a new trial. The case was ultimately dismissed.

Texas law classifies drugs into four major penalty groups, while marijuana and LSD are in groups all on their own.

Penalty Group 1:  Opioids (including painkillers like codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone), opiates (heroin), cocaine, morphine, methamphetamine, ketamine, mescaline, psilocybin and similar hallucinogens.

Penalty Group 1A: LSD is the only drug in Group 1A. Less than 20 units results in a State Jail Felony.

Penalty Group 2: Ecstasy (MDMA), PCP, hashish and other THC compounds derived from cannabis (marijuana)

Possession of less than 1 gram of penalty group 1&2 is a minimum state jail felony which could have a fine of up to $10,000 and minimum time in jail of 180 days. More than a gram and the punishment becomes a 3rd degree felony and up.

Penalty Group 3: Opioids and opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1, benzodiazepines and sedatives like Valium and others, anabolic steroids, Ritalin, and other prescription drugs that have either a stimulant or depressant effect and potential for abuse.

Penalty Group 4: Opioids and opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1, and a range of prescription medications and various chemical compounds that have a potential for abuse. Penalties are similar to those for Penalty Group 3.

Small quantities of drugs in group 3 and 4 result in a Class A Misdemeanor which is up to 180 days in jail and no more than a $4,000 fine. Groups 3 and 4 tend to be legal drug possession without a valid prescription. Larger quantities can result in 2nd and 1st degree felonies.

While many northern states continue to legalize marijuana, possession and distribution of cannabis carries stiff penalties.

There are now multiple ways to consume marijuana from edibles to joints, waxes, whole plants and oils. Unfortunately, many assume the law treats all equally. In Texas, edibles which contain THC concentrate are considered a felony of any amount. Marijuana in loose leaf form is treated as a misdemeanor in smaller quantities but can still result in 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

In recent years, arrests have increased during traffic stops, at homes, apartments and student housing. Whether you were pulled over and under the influence, searched by a K9 unit or a neighbor called the cops while at home, get the expert defense you deserve.