In a state with the toughest drug laws in the country, cocaine crimes in Texas are a priority for law enforcement and prosecutors. Because it is prone to abuse and high probability of addiction, crimes involving cocaine carry some of the harshest penalties under the criminal code. Apart from the criminal penalties courts can impose, conviction of a cocaine crime can leave someone with a criminal record that can affect the person’s ability to obtain employment or drive a car.
Why is Cocaine so Dangerous?
Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca bush found in part of South America. Powered cocaine is snorted or injected while crack cocaine is smoked. Regardless of how it is consumed, the effects of cocaine on a person’s brain occur quickly and with intensity.
There are no safe levels or frequency for the use of cocaine. The body develops a tolerance to cocaine that forces a user to resort to higher doses to achieve the same result. Cocaine is highly addictive, and sudden discontinuance of its use can cause symptoms of withdrawal that include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Aches, pains, chills and tremors
Houston Cocaine Crimes
Possession of less than one gram of cocaine is a felony in Texas. The seriousness of the charges increase from a state jail felony to an enhanced first-degree felony as the amount of the drug possessed by an individual increases.
Other cocaine crimes include possession with the intent to sell or distribute. Sale or distribution of cocaine is treated as a serious offense by prosecutors who routinely ask courts to impose lengthy prison sentences on those convicted of the charges.
Penalties and Consequences of Houston Cocaine Crimes
Possession of less than a gram of cocaine is punishable by state jail sentence of up to 2 years and a $10,000 fine. Possession of a gram or more of cocaine can result in a prison sentence from 2 to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. As the amount of the drug increases, the prison sentence increases up to 99 years in prison for possession of 400 grams or more of cocaine.
Texas laws authorize the imposition of penalties in addition to those imposed at sentencing. For example, the state can suspend the driver’s license of a person convicted of cocaine possession. Any property, such as a car or boat, used to commit cocaine crimes can be seized by the police and sold at public auction.
A Houston Cocaine Crimes Lawyer can Help
Cases involving cocaine crimes frequently include evidence seized from a suspect by law enforcement agents. Houston criminal defense attorney Justin T. Surginer might be able to help someone charged with cocaine crimes. Successful evidence challenges might lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges or a lighter sentence.