Heroin Possession In Houston & Texas Law

By | July 27, 2021

Possessing or trafficking a controlled substance in the Houston area is a criminal offense that may carry quite severe punishments. If you or your loved one is arrested and charged with possession of heroin, retaining the services of an experienced defense lawyer can help you get useful legal advice.

In Texas, possession of heroin is pursued aggressively. The consequences are severe and may turn worse if convicted of manufacturing or distributing this drug. Of course, heroin is in Penalty Group 1, which means it carries some of the harshest penalties, including life in prison.

This post will discuss the penalties for a criminal conviction of possessing heroin. Keep reading to know what to do should you be arrested on drug-related allegations.

What is heroin?

How is it classified in federal and Texas laws?

Heroin is essentially an opioid drug known as diamorphine in the medical world. It is extracted from morphine, a natural substance derived from the seed pod of opium poppy plants. Considering that some of these plants are native to and grow in Mexico, the Lone Star state is cracking down on people who are arrested convicted of possession of heroin.

In most cases, the illegal form of heroin is a freebase drug that users can smoke or inject themselves with. Illicit heroin may also come in the form of black tar, which is sniffed. Taking heroin evokes that craved high sensation, which makes the user feel free and social.

In its purest form, heroin is a fine white powder. The black tar heroin is distinctive and comes as a dark, sticky substance, similar to tar.

Although Texas classifies drugs differently than they outline in the federal law, heroin is listed in groups that carry the most severe sentencing.

Under federal law, heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug because it is highly addictive and lacks medical value. It is also listed under Penalty Group 1 in the Texas Controlled Substance Act, Chapter 481. From this classification, it is clear that heroin falls under the groups to which the most severe sentencing is reserved.

Notably, unlike federal schedules, the Lone Star state classifies heroin and drugs, like Hydrocodone and Hydrocodone, that may have led to its addiction under the same penalty group.

Possession of small amounts of heroin is a felony. Possession of large quantities of this controlled substance usually results in the charges being upgraded to possession with intent to distribute, attracting a harsher penalty. Charges may also be enhanced by the presence of a minor, which prevents the alleged offender from reaching an acceptable plea agreement with prosecutors.

Types of heroin charges

As with any other controlled substance, the severity of heroin charges depends on whether the defendant was arrested on allegations of possessing, manufacturing, or delivering the alleged drug. Once convicted, sentencing depends on the amount, presence of a minor, and other factors.

That said, here are the types of charges associated with heroin:

  • Possession charges: This means the defendant knowingly or intentionally possessed heroin.
  • Manufacturing charges: Charges involving manufacturing of the alleged drug mean that the defendant had laboratory equipment or demonstrated various techniques of creating the drug.
  • Distributing or delivering charges: Generally, distributing drugs means giving or selling them to someone else, either directly or indirectly.

Penalties for heroin possession in the Houston area

Drugs in penalty group 1 are highly addictive and generally have no medical purpose. For this reason, they are heavily controlled, and possessing them carries severe punishments.

  • Less than 1 gram: Possessing, manufacturing, or distributing heroin under one gram is considered a state jail felony and is punishable by 180 days – 2 years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • 1 gram – 4 grams: Possessing this amount is a third degree felony, which carries 2-10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Manufacturing and delivering between 1- 4 grams of heroin is a second degree felony punishable by up to 20 years or up to a $10,000 fine or both.
  • 4 grams – 200 grams: Possession is a second degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine while manufacturing or delivering is considered a first degree felony, which attracts 5-99 years incarceration and/or fine of up to $10,000.
  • 200 grams – 400 grams: Possession is a first degree felony punishable by 5-99 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 or both. Manufacture or distribution of heroin amounts within this range enhanced felony 1 where the penalty is 10-99 years in prison and/or $100,000.
  • 400 grams or more: Possessing, manufacturing, or distributing over 400 grams of heroin is classified as an enhanced felony. Possession is punishable by 10-99 years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000, while the penalty for distributing or manufacturing is 15-99 years in prison and $250,000.

Understanding Heroin Possession Offenses in Houston

When arrested on charges of possessing, manufacturing, or distributing heroin in the Houston area, the first thing should be to ensure your rights are protected. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer will help you get justice and the necessary legal advice to win your case. Your lawyer will help you escape the unforgiving Texas criminal justice system.