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Does Texas impose heavy punishments for drug paraphernalia?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2020 | Criminal Defense

People who handle illegal drugs often need devices or tools to cultivate them or inject them into their bodies. These devices are drug paraphernalia, and under Texas law, an officer could arrest you for having them. The major question you might have is whether you could serve a lot of jail time if an officer finds you with paraphernalia. 

The exact punishment for drug paraphernalia may vary. In some circumstances, you might not have to serve jail time at all. However, there are situations in which a Texas prosecutor could levy a more severe charge for having paraphernalia. 

Misdemeanor charges

Under Texas law, a charge of paraphernalia may take the form of a misdemeanor charge. A Class C misdemeanor is the least serious, as you would not have to serve jail time and would have to only pay a maximum of $500 in fines. However, if the law finds you gave paraphernalia to another person, your charge may go up to a Class A misdemeanor, which could land you in jail for a year and fine you up to $4,000. 

Felony charges

When drug cases involve minor children, the penalty becomes harsher. It is one thing if law enforcement believes you have given paraphernalia to another adult. It is quite another if the law suspects you have passed it to a minor. If so, a prosecutor may charge you with a state jail felony. 

To charge you with a state jail felony, according to Texas law you must have given paraphernalia to someone younger than 18 years old. The recipient must also be at least three years younger than yourself. Upon conviction, you could serve a jail sentence lasting up to two years. This does not count any penalties you incur from convictions from other drug charges.