Fentanyl is a highly potent and dangerous opioid that’s classified under Penalty Group 1 in Texas. Being caught with fentanyl can lead to severe penalties, including substantial fines and long prison sentences. To better navigate fentanyl charges, one may need the assistance of an experienced Texas drug crimes defense lawyer. Learn more about fentanyl offenses in Texas, the associated laws and how to defend someone against these criminal charges.

Williamson County Fentanyl Possession Defense Attorneys

Facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming experience. If an individual has been charged with possession of fentanyl, they will need a skilled and dedicated criminal defense lawyer who understands the intricacies of the Texas legal system. Price & Twine, PLLC defends those accused of drug crimes in Williamson County and surrounding areas of Georgetown, Round Rock, Leander, Cedar Park, and surrounding areas. Including Killeen and Temple in Bell County Texas. When someone is charged with a criminal offense, they don’t have to face it alone; an experienced criminal defense attorney can work to defend the case and obtain the most favorable outcome possible. Call our firm at (512) 354-1880 to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case and discover how we can help you.

Fentanyl Possession Information Center

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The Classification Of Controlled Substances In Texas

In Texas, controlled substances are categorized into different penalty groups, which range from 1 to 4. These classifications are detailed under Section 481.101 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. For the purpose of criminal penalties, substances are divided based on their perceived danger, propensity for abuse, and any recognized medical applications. Fentanyl falls under Penalty Group 1, which includes some of the most dangerous and highly regulated substances.

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Offenses And Penalties For Possessing Fentanyl In Texas

When it comes to possessing fentanyl in Texas, the laws are stringent. According to Section 481.115 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, it is a criminal offense to intentionally or knowingly have possession of a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 1, like fentanyl, without a valid prescription or authorization.

State Jail Felony For Small Amounts

If the amount possessed is less than one gram, the offense is classified as a state jail felony.

Felonies For Larger Amounts

As the amount increases, so do the penalties. Possessing one gram or more but less than four grams is a third-degree felony. Four grams to less than 200 grams is a second-degree felony, and 200 to 400 grams is a first-degree felony.

Severe Penalties For Extreme Cases

Possession of 400 grams or more is punishable by a term of not less than 10 years and up to life imprisonment, along with a fine that could go up to $100,000.
Special Defense Provisions

There are specific defense provisions within the law for individuals who request emergency medical assistance in response to a possible overdose, either for themselves or another person. This defense, however, is not applicable under certain conditions, such as if the person was already under arrest, committing another offense, or had previously utilized this defense.

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Defenses For Fentanyl Possession Under Texas Law

In addition to broad criminal defenses like lack of intent or mistaken identity, Texas law provides specific defenses in the context of fentanyl possession under Penalty Group 1, as outlined in Section 481.115 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Below are some of the particular defenses available according to the statute.

Requesting Emergency Medical Assistance For Overdose

Under Section 481.115, one defense available is if the individual was the first to request emergency medical assistance in response to a possible overdose for themselves or another person. This defense comes with additional requirements:

  • The request for medical assistance must occur during an ongoing medical emergency.
  • The person must remain at the scene until medical assistance arrives.
  • The individual must cooperate with medical and law enforcement personnel.

Limitations On The Defense For Requesting Medical Assistance

However, this defense has limitations, as explained in Section 481.115. The defense is not available if:

  • Law enforcement was already in the process of arresting the individual or executing a search warrant at the time of the medical emergency call.
  • The individual was committing another offense at the time, other than specific drug-related offenses mentioned in the statute.
  • The individual had previously been convicted or placed under deferred adjudication for a related offense.
  • The individual had invoked this defense within the 18 months preceding the date of the current offense.

Admissibility Of Evidence

While the law allows for a defense under these circumstances, it’s essential to note that evidence obtained as a result of the emergency call may still be admissible for other offenses for which the defense is not applicable.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Fentanyl Charges In Texas

Q. What Is Penalty Group 1?

A. Penalty Group 1 includes highly dangerous and regulated substances. Fentanyl is categorized under this group, making it subject to severe penalties if one is caught possessing it without proper authorization.

Q. What Are The Penalties For Possessing Fentanyl?

A. The penalties for possessing fentanyl are determined by the amount in one’s possession:

  • Less than 1 gram: State jail felony
  • 1 to less than 4 grams: Third-degree felony
  • 4 to less than 200 grams: Second-degree felony
  • 200 to 400 grams: First-degree felony
  • Over 400 grams: Punishable by a minimum of 10 years up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000

Q. Is There A Defense For Possessing Fentanyl?

A. Yes, one specific defense under Section 481.115(g) is if the individual was the first to request emergency medical assistance for an overdose situation, either for themselves or another person. The person must remain at the emergency scene until assistance from medical personnel arrives, and they are required to cooperate with law enforcement and medical assistance personnel.

Q. When Is The Defense For Requesting Emergency Medical Assistance Not Applicable?

A. This defense is not applicable if law enforcement was in the process of arresting the individual, if the individual was committing another offense at the time, or if the individual had previously invoked this defense or had prior related convictions.

Q. Can Evidence Obtained During An Emergency Call Be Used Against Me?

A. Yes, evidence obtained as a result of the emergency medical assistance request can still be used for offenses where the defense is not applicable, according to Section 481.115(i).

Q. Are Prescription Fentanyl Users Subject To These Penalties?

A. No, individuals who possess fentanyl as a result of a valid prescription from a medical practitioner are generally exempt from these penalties.

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Fentanyl Info and Resources

Harm Reduction Issues – Fentanyl – Learn about harm reduction when it comes to the use of Fentanyl from the National Harm Reduction Coalition. The NHRC is a nationwide nonprofit organization that advocates for evidence-based strategies for people who use drugs. The organization strives to reduce and prevent overdoses by advocating for policies like fentanyl testing strips and syringe access. The NHRC opposes the criminalization policies of the war on drugs.

Texas Doubles Down on Ineffective Drug Policies that Could Cost Lives – Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy examines how Texas has increased penalties for Fentanyl possession and distribution but has failed to implement policies that could increase access to testing strips and treatment. The article demonstrates how Texas policies are ineffective for dealing with drug crises and instead continue to take a punishment-first approach to dealing with drug problems, specifically Fentanyl.

Fentanyl: One Pill Kills – Texas Department of Health and Human Services discusses fighting the Fentanyl crisis. The HHS has put together several Public Service Announcements regarding Fentanyl in an effort to curb its usage and increase awareness of the dangers.

Killing Painkiller – Rise of fentanyl poisoning in Williamson County and what we are doing to stop it – This article by the Wilco Sun examines the rise in Fentanyl poisoning deaths that have occurred in Williamson County, Texas. It tells the story of family members of some of those who have lost loved ones to Fentanyl and their efforts to raise awareness in their communities.

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Retain A Texas Fentanyl Possession Lawyer | Price & Twine, PLLC

The complexities involved in fentanyl offenses make it crucial to consult an experienced Texas Fentanyl possession defense lawyer. They can help you through the specifics of your case and help form an effective defense strategy based on the available evidence and how the law applies to your situation. Understanding the Texas statutes surrounding fentanyl offenses is vital due to the severe penalties involved. Specific defenses do exist, but they are conditional and require a deep understanding of the law. Therefore, it is crucial to consult a Texas Fentanyl Offense Lawyer when facing such serious charges.

Legal problems can escalate quickly if not dealt with in a timely manner. Contact the seasoned Wilco criminal defense lawyers at Price & Twine, PLLC to help you every step of the way. Our firm defends people charged with fentanyl possession, distribution, and other drug charges in Georgetown and surrounding areas. We aim to get the optimal outcomes for our clients, and that starts with you reaching out. Feel free to call us at (512) 354-1880 to request a free consultation to initiate the first step towards securing your future.