Drug-related charges in Texas can come with severe penalties. However, depending on your location, if you are caught possessing, manufacturing, selling or distributing illegal drugs near a school or public park, you may face heightened penalties.
Read on to learn more about how your location can impact the sentence you face for drug-related offenses.
Where do I face heightened penalties?
Texas law extends school zones to other public places too. Manufacturing or delivering illegal substance, including marijuana, is punishable by a third-degree felony charge if it is:
- In, on or within 1,000 feet of a college, youth center or playground
- Within 300 feet of a public swimming pool or video arcade facility
- On a school bus
If the drug being manufactured or delivered would normally be prosecuted as a second-degree felony charge, the penalty is heightened to a first-degree felony charge if it occurs in these areas.
The minimum term of jail time is increased by five years and the maximum fine for the offense can be doubled if a drug-related offense occurs in, on or within 1000 feet of a school, youth center playground or school bus.
However, in Texas and 8 other states, an exception to these drug-free zone laws can be made if the following are all true
- The incident occurred within a private residence
- No children were present
- The defendant did not profit from the offense
Other exceptions may apply depending on the details of the case. If you may be facing drug-related charges, contact a criminal law attorney to discuss your circumstance. An attorney can evaluate whether you may avoid heightened penalties and help you negotiate the best outcome for your unique situation.