In drug cases, law enforcement officers often search a person’s home or vehicle before seizing controlled substances. The criminal defense attorney will first determine if there are any grounds to file a motion to suppress the drugs or other evidence gathered during the search. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy know how to use the mistakes made by law enforcement officers to help you resolve the case under the most favorable terms.

Drugs can be seized in a variety of circumstances including the execution of an arrest warrant or search warrant. The most common reason for a search in a drug case is because of a routine traffic stop. No matter the circumstances, we can help you learn more about how to protect your rights in these cases. Our attorneys are particularly familiar with the tactics used by the Narcotics Detectives with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office.

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Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

If you are accused of a drug crime in Texas, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy to discuss your case. We can help you understand how problems with the way the drugs were seized can lead to the suppression of the evidence. Also, learn more about how local law enforcement officers use confidential informants and undercover sting operations to make a drug crime arrest.

During a consultation to discuss your drug case pending in Fort Worth or Tarrant County, our attorneys can help you understand important defenses that can be used in your case. Call (817) 422-5350 today to discuss your case.

Deferred Prosecution Program in Tarrant County for Drug Crimes

Some drug crimes are eligible for deferred prosecution. These programs are expensive and difficult for a person not interested in seeking drug treatment and counseling. Talk with a criminal defense attorney about the pros and cons of entering the deferred prosecution program in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, TX.

The drug offenses eligible for DPP under Track B include:

  1. Possession of controlled substance (PG1), under 1 gram – (SJF)
  2. Possession of marihuana 2-4 ounces, drug-free zone – (SJF)
  3. Possession of a dangerous drug – (M)
  4. Possession of controlled substance (PG2A), under 1 gram – (M)
  5. Possession of controlled substance (PG2A), under 2 ounces – (M)
  6. Possession of controlled substance (PG3), under 28 grams – (M)
  7. Possession of marihuana under 2 ounces, drug-free zone – (M)
  8. Possession of marihuana 2-4 ounces – (M)
  9. Possession of marihuana under 2 ounces – (M)
 

The main benefit of entering the deferred prosecution program in Tarrant County for a drug crime is that after the program is completed, the application may be entitled to an immediate expunction under Art. 76.011 of the Texas Government and Article 55.01 of the code of criminal procedure.

Confidential Informants and the Entrapment Defense

Many drug cases involve an undercover investigation by narcotics officers. These officers often attempt to manufacture drug crimes by entrapping a person using an undercover officer or confidential informant. After the arrest, the officers will then interrogate the person detained with the goal of getting them to confess to the crime. The officers might then start asking questions about whether the person arrested can “flip” on a co-defendant or “set up” another individual for a more serious offense. Before you agree to work with law enforcement officers, it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney about your rights.

Narcotics Detectives with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office often make controlled buys and conduct reverse sting operations. The officers also use surveillance to gather intelligence about suspected drug dealers and traffickers. Narcotics detectives often work with federal and other state agencies during investigations into drug trafficking. Although most lower-level drug crimes are prosecuted in state court, higher-level drug investigations often lead to drug charges in federal court.

If your case involved the use of an undercover officer or confidential informant, then the entrapment defense might apply. The entrapment defense can be used in narcotic cases when law enforcement manufacturers a crime by a person not predisposed to commit the offense. A person can be entrapped regardless of whether they are charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute, sale or delivery, manufacturing, cultivation, or trafficking.

The courts in Texas have found that the affirmative defense of entrapment can be tested and determined at a pretrial hearing as provided in Article 28.01, § 1(9). To establish an entrapment defense, it must be shown that the defendant engaged in the conduct charged because he was induced to do so by a law enforcement agent or confidential informant who used persuasion or other means likely to cause persons to commit the offense. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 8.06(a).

Entrapment does not occur, however, merely because the law enforcement officer or confidential informant provided the person an opportunity to commit the offense.

Types of Controlled Substances in Fort Worth, TX

The most commonly prosecuted crimes for controlled substances in Tarrant County, TX, involve the following drugs:

  • marijuana
  • cocaine
  • heroin
  • methamphetamine
  • ecstasy
 

Criminal offenses for prescription medications are becoming more common. Criminal offenses for the possession or distribution of prescription medications can include:

  • OxyContin
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Xanax
  • Vicodin
  • Adderall
  • Codeine
  • Valium

Law Enforcement Agencies that Investigate Drug Crimes in Tarrant County, TX

Our attorneys are familiar with the tactics used by local law enforcement agencies in Tarrant County, TX, that investigate drug crimes including:

After an investigation begins or after an arrest is made in the case, having an experienced Fort Worth drug crime attorney at your side can make all the difference.

The DFCM Basic Track for Drug Crimes in Tarrant County, TX

Pursuant to an administrative order dated September 16, 2013, the courts in Tarrant County have implemented a Differentiated Felony Case Management System (DFCM) for different types of felony drug cases under a basic track. Drug crimes in Tarrant County that take the basic track include:

  • Delivery of a controlled substance, PGl < 1 gr.;
  • Possession of a controlled substance, PGI <1 gr.;
  • Delivery of a controlled substance, PGIA, <20 units;
  • Possession of a controlled substance, PGIA, <20 units;
  • Delivery of marihuana > 1%: oz.; and
  • Possession of marihuana > 4 oz.

Additional Resources

Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division – The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division investigates violations of the laws related to illegal narcotics including the production, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and chronic use of illegal drugs, as well as the associated money laundering of drug proceeds commonly associated with drug-related offenses. Narcotics Detectives with the TCSO make undercover purchases, control purchases, conduct reverse operations, and stings and conduct surveillance as well as gather intelligence. To combat drug trafficking in Tarrant County, Narcotics Detectives work with federal and other state agencies to combat drug trafficking. During a recent four-year period ending in 2013, the TCSO Narcotics Division made 331 Felony Arrests and 131 Misdemeanor Arrests. The TCSO Narcotics Unit also confiscated illegal narcotics with an estimated street value of $5,596,519.

High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program (HIDTA) Task Force – Members of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division work with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in order to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking. The mission of HIDTA includes reducing the production, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and chronic use of illegal drugs, as well as the attendant money laundering of drug proceeds.

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Drug Crimes | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy fight drug and narcotic crimes throughout Tarrant County including drug possession, the distribution of narcotics, trafficking in controlled substances, and drug manufacturing or cultivation.

Call us for a consultation to discuss the pending drug charge, the minimum and maximum penalties that come with a conviction, and important defenses that can be used for an outright dismissal of the criminal charge. Whether you are charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute, distribution, manufacturing, cultivation, or trafficking, call (817) 422-5350 to discuss your case with an attorney today.

Texas Penal Code § 1.07(39) defines possession as “actual care, custody, control, or management.” In most cases, possession is considered either actual or constructive.

Actual possession involves drugs being found on the person of an alleged offender, whether the drugs are in their hands, pockets, or a purse or backpack. Constructive possession involves drugs being found in a place in which multiple people had access. A person can be charged with a drug crime based on constructive possession when authorities believe the alleged offender was the person who was the owner of the drugs involved.

Drug Penalty Groups are established in the Texas Controlled Substances Act to classify certain groups of drugs. The Drug Penalty Groups include Penalty Group 1 under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.112 which includes oxycodone, methamphetamine, heroin, hydrocodone, cocaine, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and other opiates, Penalty Group 1-A under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.1121 which includes Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, and other compounds, Penalty Group 2 or 2-A under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.113 which includes amphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), methaqualone, and other hallucinogens, and Penalty Group 3 or 4 under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.114 which includes halazepam, zolpidem, ketazolam, alprazolam, lorazepam, tetrazepam, flurazepam, clonazepam, lysergic acid including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, secobarbital, fludiazepam, clorazepate, medazepam, diazepam, and pentobarbital.
The Texas Tribune reported in June 2015 that Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, also known as Senate Bill 339, legalizing low-THC cannabis oils as treatment for certain medical conditions. “I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana, nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes,” Abbott said before the signing, according to the Tribune. “As governor, I will not allow it; SB 339 does not open the door to marijuana in Texas.” The Texas Tribune also reported in July 2019 that prosecutors across Texas had dropped hundreds of low-level marijuana charges and indicated they would not pursue new ones without further testing because of a new law that legalized hemp and hemp-derived products, like CBD oil. An unintended consequence of the hemp law is it effectively decriminalized marijuana because many state agencies do not have the testing needed to distinguish legal hemp from illegal marijuana.
Your employer has the ability to review your criminal record and you could indeed face possible job loss if the employer deems a drug conviction to be a fireable offense. Not all employers necessarily learn about drug charges, however. You can often give yourself the greatest employment protection by fighting your criminal charges to achieve a resolution other than a conviction that will not cause as many problems.

Drug crime convictions will appear on criminal records and can impact far more than just your job status. When you are applying for an apartment or housing, the landlord could very well use your drug conviction against you and make it the basis for a denial. Similarly, people who are applying for professional licensing can also face similar struggles in gaining approval because of drug convictions. Students at colleges can also face discipline from their institutions for certain drug crimes.

Yes. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) states that if you are convicted of a drug crime, your driver license will be suspended for 180 days, You could also be required to complete a 15-hour class in an authorized Drug Education Program, pay a $100 Reinstatement fee in addition to any other outstanding fees owed, and obtain a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) from an authorized insurance company that must be maintained for two years from the date of conviction. If you did not have a driver’s license at the time of a drug crime, you could be denied the issuance of a driver license for 180 days.

Police officers typically must have a warrant to search you or your property. When it comes to a traffic stop, an officer only needs to have probable cause to search your vehicle. In many cases, the alleged odor of marijuana is frequently cited as the basis for a motor vehicle search. You always have the right to clearly state that you do not consent to any search. When you do not consent to a search and police find drugs in your vehicle, an attorney may be able to claim that the search violated your Fourth Amendment rights and seek to have the criminal charges dismissed.

Absolutely. While DWI is commonly associated with alcohol, a person can be arrested for being intoxicated by drugs as well. Keep in mind that intoxicated is defined by Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) as meaning having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more but also “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.” When a police officer suspects a driver is under the influence of drugs, a “drug recognition expert” will usually be summoned to complete a series of tests to determine if an alleged offender is impaired by drugs. Drug recognition experts typically follow the same 12-step process, which is a breath alcohol test, an interview of the arresting officer, a preliminary examination and first pulse, an eye examination, divided attention psychophysical tests, vital signs and second pulse, dark room examinations, an examination for muscle tone, a check for injection sites and third pulse, the subject’s statements and other observations, an analysis and opinions of the evaluator, and a toxicological examination. This process is clearly flawed since the interview of the arresting officer is the second step in the process and the subsequent tests often serve to act as more of a confirmation bias.
Possibly. Expungement (or expunction) is only available to people who were acquitted of the crimes for which they were charged, were convicted but subsequently found to be innocent, were convicted but were subsequently pardoned, were charged but the case was later dismissed and the statute of limitations has expired, or were arrested but not formally charged. Drug crimes are not included in the possible offenses that prohibit orders of nondisclosure to seal records, so it may be possible to seal a criminal record with a drug conviction.
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