With a 300% rise in the count of Houston area heroin overdoses in the past decade, law enforcement agencies are taking an aggressive approach to curtailing the pervasiveness of this drug on Houston streets, resulting in a number of arrests and over-prosecution of people who are sometimes guilty of nothing more than having their doctor’s prescribe them addictive pain-killers, only the cut the prescription expecting the patience to get over urges of medicinal opiates cold turkey.
Demand is created by the pharmaceutical industry, patients are abandoned, “the streets” fill the drug-void left by the health-care industry, the patient enters the criminal underworld for a “fix”, and end up busted for heroin possession.
The dangers of heroin are increasingly clear. The drug has caused a 400% rise in the deaths of young whites and latinos in rural towns and suburban areas all over Texas making a criminal offenses involving heroin taboo, and a high priority prosecutorial target of District Attorneys state-wide regardless of whether or not the defendant is using or selling.
Houston & Heroin
For a first hand look at the rise of heroin use in Houston from another perspective, see the following news report from ABC 13 Houston.
Heroin & Texas Criminal Law
Texas law classifies heroin as a dangerous drug. All heroin defendants face felony prosecution.
Penalties for Heroin Possession in Texas
With the radar of law enforcement keenly focused on heroin, and Texas being known as a strict state when it comes to drug law enforcement, a defendant convicted of heroin possession will be looking at sentencing commensurate with the amount of the heroin they’ve been arrested in connection with.
|Amount of Heroin
||Crime Classification||Possible Punishment|
|Less than 1 Gram||State Jail Felony||180D – 2 yrs. Jail – $10K Fine|
|1 Gram-3.99 Grams||3rd Degree Felony||2-10 yrs. TDCJ – $10,000 Fine|
|4-199 Grams||2nd Degree Felony||2-20 yrs. TDCJ – $10,000 Fine|
|200-399 Grams||1st Degree Felony||5-99 yrs. TDCJ – $10,000 Fine|
|400 Grams||Enhanced 1st Degree Felony||10-99 yrs. TDCJ – $100,000 Fine|
As with other drugs in Penalty Group 1 such as cocaine and meth, minimal criminal penalties for people convicted of criminal offenses involving heroin start at 2 years with a maximum sentence being life imprisonment for cases involving more than 400 grams of heroin. The presence of scales or packaging material may show intent to distribute which will garner a stronger sentence.
Circumstances that will influence sentencing in heroin cases are listed below.
- The amount of the drug in your possession at the time of arrest.
- How the drug was concealed.
- The presence of heroin, and paraphernalia like packaging material, measurement devices, and cash.
- Past convictions for other crimes, or similar crimes, will also become a determining factor when it comes to sentencing.
Attorney Tad Nelson Can Help With Heroin Cases
If you, a family member, or someone you love has been arrested for a criminal offense involving heroin make sure to contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson and Associates as soon as possible so we can begin work a formulation of a defense strategy for your case.
Each case we handle that involves heroin will require a unique defense strategy based on the details of the arrest making it important to talk with us as soon as possible when dealing with drug cases.