February 16, 2024

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Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid that’s at the center of public health concerns across the nation, especially in Texas. Most illicit drugs aren’t seen favorably in our society – But, as of late, fentanyl is one of the most addictive and deadly substances on the streets. Since there’s such a high chance of addiction and overdose, Texas has implementented some of the strictest laws regarding its production, possession and distribution. 

If you’ve been charged with possession of fentanyl in Texas, you should have a firm grasp on the tough legal landscape surrounding the drug. Further, you’ll need a savvy and experienced drug crimes lawyer to help you fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact The Napier Firm today for your free consultation. 

Continue reading to learn the ins and outs of fentanyl drug charges in Texas, including what fentanyl is, how it’s categorized, penalties,f and the effect of new laws. Get started now. 

What is Fentanyl?

Seemingly overnight, fentanyl has become a focal point in drug-related criminal charges in Texas. Its legal classification extends far beyond just fentanyl to include various analogues – Which can be defined as substances with chemical structures similar to Schedule I or II controlled substances (per Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(6)). These analogues are specifically designed to mimic or even take the effects of controlled substances like fentanyl to another level – One that’s even more dangerous. 

According to the  Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.106, any offenses that involve the manufacturing, delivering, or possession of controlled substances extends to these analogues. Their chemical makeup and effects make them uncomfortably close to substances found in those key penalty groups

Furthermore, Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.102 meticulously and specifically lists many types of fentanyl under Penalty Group 1. They include derivatives like: 

  • Acetyl-alpha-methylfentanyl
  • Beta-hydroxyfentanyl, and 
  • Others

These are all recognized and scrutinized due to their high potency and potential for abuse and death. Understanding the breadth and scope of substances encompassed by fentanyl charges in Texas is crucial. It highlights the wide and overstretching range of compounds that can lead to serious legal consequences.

Penalties For Possession of Fentanyl in Texas

The penalties for possession of fentanyl in Texas are incredibly severe – Thus, reflecting the substance’s dangerous and deadly nature. These penalties can vary widely based on the amount in possession and can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Learn more about potential penalties below. 

  • Less than 1 gram: State jail felony, Up to 2 years in jail and fines.
  • 1 to 4 grams: Third-degree felony, 2 to 10 years in prison and potential fines.
  • 4 to 200 grams: Second-degree felony, 2 to 20 years in prison and fines.
  • 200 to 400 grams: First-degree felony, 5 to 99 years in prison and very significant fines.
  • Over 400 grams: Enhanced first-degree felony, potentially resulting in a lifetime sentence and beyond hefty fines.

Trafficking fentanyl carries even more strict and severe penalties, highlighting the state’s ongoing commitment to combating the fentanyl crisis. Continue reading to learn more. 

Penalties for Trafficking Fentanyl in Texas

If you think the penalties for possession are harsh, you’ll be shocked by the potential consequences for trafficking fentanyl in Texas – It’s serious, to say the least. It can be prosecuted by the state and federal government. If convicted, you’d face potentially overlapping and/concurrent incarceration sentences. These penalties are mostly designed to reflect the dangers of this potent opioid and its potential for widespread harm, destruction, and abuse. 

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State Penalties for Trafficking Fentanyl

Under Texas law, the penalties for fentanyl trafficking vary based on the amount of the substance in question involved. These penalties can range from state jail felonies to first-degree felonies. The specific charges can include:

  • State Jail Felony: Less than one gram, up to two years in state jail.
  • Third-Degree Felony: Between one and four grams, 2 to 10 years in prison.
  • Second-Degree Felony: Between four and 200 grams, prison sentence of  2 to 20 years.
  • First-Degree Felony: Over 200 grams, 5 to 99 years or even life in prison.

Federal Penalties For Trafficking Fentanyl

The penalties above just touch on the potential consequences if convicted on a state level. However, if you’re trafficking the drug, you’ll also be subjected to federal prosecution – Especially if it involves crossing state lines or the nation’s borders. 

Federal penalties for fentanyl trafficking are severe (to say the least) and can include:

  • Substantial Prison Time: Several years to life imprisonment, depending on how much you trafficked and whether aggravating factors exist. 
  • Hefty Fines: Traffickers can face significant fines that could go into millions of dollars for larger quantities.
  • Asset Forfeiture: The car, house, investments, etc. of convicted traffickers could (and most likely will be) seized as part of the legal penalties.

Both state and federal authorities operating within Texas are actively involved in combating fentanyl trafficking due to the drug’s high profile. The severity and harshness of the penalties reflects the seriousness with which these offenses are viewed. This, among many other reasons, is why it’s incredibly important to understand the legal implications of involvement with fentanyl.

New Texas Laws Concerning Fentanyl

Recent legislative changes in Texas have introduced new laws to address the ever growing fentanyl crisis in the state. The aim of these laws is to strengthen the state’s response to the trafficking and possession of fentanyl. Some of the measures that could affect those charged with fentanyl possession/sale/trafficking,  include much harsher penalties for traffickers and increased resources for law enforcement agencies in their fight against fentanyl-related crimes.

Will First Time Fentanyl Offenders Go to Jail in Houston?

Potentially, yes. In Houston, first-time fentanyl offenders could face jail time, especially given the severity of the substance. However, depending on the circumstances, the court may consider alternative sentences like probation or pretrial diversion programs for those accused of minor offenses that don’t have a prior criminal history. The outcome largely depends on the amount of fentanyl involved, circumstances of the case, and your drug crime lawyer’s defense strategy – Which, underlines your need to work with an attorney you can trust. 

Contact a Houston Attorney For Fentanyl Charges Today

Are you or a loved one facing fentanyl charges in Houston or the surrounding area? If so, you’ll need legal representation that has your best interest at heart and will relentlessly defend you in court.  

At The Napier Law Firm, our Texas criminal defense attorneys are here to help you understand the charges against you, navigate the legal system, and mount an effective defense for fentanyl possession and trafficking offenses in Texas. 

You’re not alone in this, we’re here to help you fight for the absolute best outcome in your case – Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation with a fentanyl possession attorney in Texas today.