Texas law administers severe penalties for drug possession. The law classifies most drug crimes as felonies, leading to harsh penalties and lasting consequences. Your teen may face thousands of dollars in fines and jail time.
However, minors have several legal options available that can reduce their sentence and expunge their record. Without these legal protections, your teen will carry the burden of a juvenile drug charge for the rest of their life.
Drug charges carry harsh penalties
Texas considers most drug charges as felonies but will issue misdemeanors for small amounts of certain drugs. The charge’s severity is highly circumstantial in Texas, requiring a solid legal defense and full understanding of the law. Minimum penalties for these misdemeanors include:
- Probation: During probation, your teen must submit regular drug tests to their probation officer, perform community service and submit to random searches.
- Drug treatment: Most drug charges come with mandatory enrollment in a drug treatment program.
- Jail time: Class A or B misdemeanors come with a jail sentence of up to 180 days.
- Fines: Misdemeanors comes with up to $2,000 in fines.
- Driver’s license suspension: Even a small amount of drugs could lead to a six-month suspension of your teen’s driver’s license.
Felony drug charges carry much harsher penalties. Depending on the quantity and class of drugs, penalties may include up to $250,000 in fines and life in prison.
Legal recourse is available
Most Texas courts will drop misdemeanor drug charges against a juvenile in exchange for probation, fines and enrollment in a treatment program. First-time offenders stand a better chance of avoiding jail time by working with a lawyer familiar with Texas’ complex drug laws. An attorney can help seal your teen’s criminal record too. As long as your teen is not a habitual offender or involved in gang activity, a juvenile court will automatically restrict their record, limiting its impact on your teen’s life. Courts may also offer to seal a record upon successful completion of a drug treatment program and probation.
Secure legal help that will fight the whole way
The best way to limit the impact of a misdemeanor drug charge on your teen’s life is by avoiding the charge altogether. A local attorney can work with judges on limited sentencing, reduced fines and potentially dropping the charges altogether.