Collin County Cocaine Crimes Attorneys
While cocaine itself can be dangerous and highly addictive, what many people in Texas do not know is that the criminal penalties for drug crimes involving cocaine are quite severe. In Texas, possession of even a small amount of cocaine (less than a gram) is still considered to be a felony.
If a person is caught with cocaine and charged with simple possession, manufacture, or delivery, he or she will probably face criminal charges. Luckily, there are federal and state protections in place that limit how law enforcement officers collect their evidence, when they can search an individual or their property, and how they deal with suspects after an arrest.
The Collin County cocaine possession lawyers at Rosenthal Barbieri have experience defending clients accused of cocaine-related drug crimes. We know the tricks that law enforcement and prosecutors use, and we have the experience and knowledge necessary to defend against them. If you or someone close to you has been accused of cocaine possession, contact us today for a free consultation to walk you through your legal options.
Cocaine Possession and Penalties
Under the Texas law, it is illegal to knowingly possess cocaine, coca leaves, or any cocaine-containing substances or derivatives. Although the Texas government and Collin County does not distinguish between crack and powder cocaine, federal law treats the two differently and levies harsher penalties against crimes involving crack cocaine.
The 2010 Fair Sentencing Act sought to make ratio and penalties for amounts of crack cocaine and powder cocaine more equitable, but crimes involving crack cocaine are still prosecuted more severely, especially if the defendant is charged with federal drug offenses.
Being found guilty of cocaine charges can have serious ramifications for your future employment, reputation, and educational opportunities. With all charges involving cocaine carrying felony-level penalties in Texas, you may face the following negative consequences of a conviction:
- Possible deportation for immigrants
- Payment of court costs
- Loss of custodial rights to children
- Loss of eligibility to vote
- Restricted ability to own firearms
- Stringent limitations on future employment (you will be prohibited from working in certain professions, and background checks will show your cocaine charge)
In order to convict you of cocaine possession charges, the prosecutor must prove that the substance you possessed was, in fact, cocaine or contained cocaine (typically through a lab report). They also must prove that you knowingly and intentionally had the drug in your possession at the time of the arrest.
The amount of cocaine in your possession when you were arrested is used to determine the penalty:
- Less than 1 gram – State jail felony
- Between 1 and 4 grams – Third-degree felony
- Between 4 and 200 grams – Second-degree felony
- Between 200 and 400 grams – First-degree felony
- More than 400 grams – First-degree felony
Why Do I Need a Cocaine Crimes Lawyer?
A drug charge can gravely alter the course of your life, but it doesn’t have to. An experienced and knowledgeable Collin County drug crime attorney can perform a thorough investigation into police methods and use his knowledge of such cases to avoid harsh sentences.
No matter what amount of cocaine you are charged with possessing or the severity of the crime, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can help protect you from predatory police tactics, help you avoid self-incrimination, and perform a thorough investigation into possible police misconduct and all available evidence.
Many drug crimes charges involve illegal searches that violate an individual’s constitutionally protected rights against unlawful search or seizure. If an illegal search was made, a motion can be made to suppress any physical evidence. In many of these cases, such motions can lead to a successful dismissal of any charges.
Rosenthal Barbieri is the largest criminal defense law firm in Collin County, and we are proud of our reputation for passionately defending our clients. If you have questions or want to contact our experienced legal team for a free consultation, reach us online or call us at (972) 369-0577.
With our seven lawyers on staff and years of experience protecting the rights of our clients in Collin County, we have the experience and resources to handle any cocaine offense. Prosecutors are rarely willing to offer a plea bargain to defendants without legal counsel, so one of our lawyers can help negotiate a reduction or dismissal of your criminal charges.
The Cases We Handle
Our trial-tested experience with a wide range of different cases allows us to handle any of the following types of cases:
- Cocaine possession, from <1 gram to over 400 grams
- Possession with intent to distribute
- Cocaine paraphernalia charges
- Manufacture or delivery of cocaine
- Manufacture or delivery of controlled substance causing death or serious bodily injury
- Charges in drug-free zones such as school zones
- Crack cocaine charges
- Federal cocaine charges
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
People arrested for possession of cocaine often have many questions. Although the best way to have all your questions answered is to contact our Collin County criminal defense lawyers at [phone number] for a free consultation, here are some of the most common questions individuals have after being charged:
What are the Laws and Penalties Regarding Cocaine Possession?
Here’s a quick guide:
|State Jail Felony||180 days-1 year jail; up to $10,000 fine|
|1-4 grams||Third Degree Felony||2-10 years prison; up to $10,000 fine|
|4-200 grams||Second Degree Felony||2-20 years prison; up to $10,000 fine|
|200-400 grams||First Degree Felony||5-99 years prison; up to $10,000 fine|
|>400 grams||First Degree Felony||
10-99 years prison; up to $100,000 fine
Note also that the severity of the charges and the degree of the felony can also be increased by other factors, such as whether the drug was identified as powder or crack cocaine, if the arrest was made within close proximity to a school or playground, or if the charges are part of a federal drug conspiracy case.
What Are Some Common Defenses in Cocaine Possession Trials?
- Pursuing Enrollment in a Drug Court Program: Some individuals accused of crimes involving cocaine may have the option of deciding to undergo supervision by a drug court, including counseling and drug testing. This option is not available to everyone and can be difficult, but it usually leads to all serious charges being dismissed.
- Supplying Evidence for Reasonable Doubt at Trial: If your attorney can show a jury that there is a reasonable possibility that you did not knowingly and intentionally possess cocaine, you might avoid any conviction.
- Filing a Motion to Suppress Evidence: If your rights were violated through illegal search or seizure, as often happens with vehicle searches, any physical evidence cannot be used against you by the prosecutors.
- Seeking Dismissal of Charges: If your lawyer’s motion to suppress evidence succeeds, there may not be enough evidence remaining that can connect you with the crime, so a motion to dismiss all charges can be filed.
Will a Cocaine Possession Conviction Affect the Status of My Driver’s License?
Yes. The Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) will suspend the license of any driver who is convicted of any drug or controlled substance offense for 180 days. You will also be required to complete a 15-hour class in an authorized Drug Education Program. To get your driver’s license reinstated, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee, obtain a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) from an authorized insurance company (which must be maintained for two years from the date of conviction), and submit the certificate of completion for the required Drug Education Program.
Cocaine Crime Statistics
More arrests are made each year in Texas for cocaine possession than for any other drug, except marijuana. In 2016, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that 27,006 cocaine possession arrests were made, while 4,645 arrests were made for cocaine manufacturing.
Cocaine is also cited as the reason for admittance for more individuals entering drug rehabilitation centers in Texas more than any other drug except marijuana. More than 2,000 people entered rehab programs in Texas for cocaine in 2017.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for cocaine possession, know that there are several legal options you can pursue to put this event behind you. The attorneys at Rosenthal Barbieri have years of trial-tested experience and a well-earned reputation in Collin County for successfully fighting for the rights of our clients.
Call our legal team at (972) 369-0577 for a completely free legal consultation to find out your best course of action. With a knowledgeable lawyer on your side, it is possible to get harsh penalties reduced and possibly even get your charges dismissed. Instead of speaking with authorities, contact our lawyers today to regain the peace of mind and sense of normalcy that you are accustomed to.