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The differences between a misdemeanor and a felony drug charge

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Texas law can charge drug crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies. Consequences include fines, prison time and a permanent criminal record.

Misdemeanors and felonies can both affect your future by ruining your ability to hold jobs, qualify for financing, find housing and earn certifications. Which charge you get depends on several factors.

The classification of the drug

Texas classifies controlled drugs into five different classes. Drugs within a class that has a lower number have a high likelihood of substance abuse. Therefore, they come with higher penalties. Possession of Class 1 and Class 2 drugs, such as opioids and hallucinogenics, will land you a felony charge.

The amount of the drug

How much of the drug you have will affect your charges. The law measures amounts of drugs differently depending on the type. For example, police measure marijuana by the number of plants but measure cocaine by weight. Having a Class 3 or higher drug above the possession limit could land you a drug trafficking or other felony charge.

The context of the drug

How the police caught you with the drug has a direct impact on your criminal charges. Simple possession is sometimes a misdemeanor, but you could face possession with intent to distribute. This is a federal charge that includes the manufacturing and distribution of drugs. Manufacturing of Class 1, 2 and 3 drugs are almost always felonies.

The severity of your charges depends on a combination of the above three factors. Keeping aware of how Texas prosecutes different drug charges can help you know what to expect.