Killeen Cocaine Criminal Defense Attorneys
Strong advocacy for clients facing drug charges in Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, and Central Texas
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that is easily abused, and can cause severe physical and emotional harm. That is why the possession, delivery, manufacture, and trafficking in cocaine are generally illegal at both the state and federal levels. Anyone charged with a drug crime involving cocaine is likely to be charged with a felony, which can result in lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines.
At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our Killeen cocaine defense lawyers have been fighting for the rights of defendants for more than two decades. We have the experience and resources to forcefully defend cocaine criminal charges. We use every legal and factual argument that applies to show that evidence of drug possession and other drug charges should be dismissed. We work to convince prosecutors that charges should be dropped or reduced. When a just plea bargain isn’t offered or justice demands it, our tough trial lawyers try your case before a jury.
What is cocaine?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine is also called coke, blow, crack, snow, and rock. It is a powerful stimulant drug that is addictive. It is made from coca plant leaves. While there are limited medical uses for cocaine, such as a local anesthesia, it is primarily used as an illegal recreational drug. It’s often cut with talcum powder, cornstarch, or flour to generate more money. It’s also mixed with other stimulants such as synthetic opioids and amphetamine. Many overdose deaths are due to cocaine.
Most people snort the drug through their nose or rub it into their gums. It can also be dissolved and injected. Another popular method of use is to smoke cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal (also called ‘freebase cocaine’).
Short-term effects include “extreme happiness and energy,” extra-sensitivity to sound, touch, and sight, mental alertness, and paranoia. These short-term affects last for just a few minutes to an hour. Long-term effects include, depending on how the drug is used, nosebleeds, respiratory disorders, bowel decay, and an increased risk for contracting certain diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.
What are the federal cocaine drug laws?
The Federal Controlled Substances Act divides drugs (narcotics, stimulants, suppressants, hallucinogens, depressants, inhalants, and marijuana) into five Schedule categories. The most serious drugs are listed as Schedule I drugs. The least serious drugs are listed as Schedule V drugs. The drugs are placed into the various schedules based on:
- Their potential for abuse
- Whether there are any medical benefits
- Whether the drugs can lead to a physical or emotional dependency
- Other factors
Cocaine is listed as a Schedule II drug because it has some limited medical use, but is otherwise considered an extremely dangerous drug.
Federal law regulates the possession, use, distribution, manufacture, and importation of all scheduled drugs. There are also federal laws that provide penalties for racketeering, smuggling, trafficking, laundering money, and tax violations involving scheduled drugs such as cocaine.
What are Texas cocaine drug laws?
The Texas Controlled Substances Act, which can be found in the Texas Health and Safety Code, also classifies drugs into different categories called penalty groups. Texas classifies cocaine in the most serious group – Penalty Group 1.
In Texas, the possession, manufacture, and delivery of cocaine are illegal. The Texas Controlled Substances Act also defines these as follows:
- "Lawful possession means the possession of a controlled substance that has been obtained in accordance with state or federal law.” Anything else is considered to be illegal possession.
- Manufacture means:
- The production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, or processing of a controlled substance other than marihuana, directly or indirectly by extraction from substances of natural origin, independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes the packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.”
- By practitioners authorized to conduct research, teaching, or chemical analysis – provided no delivery is involved.
- By practitioners authorized to administer or dispense the drug as part of their professional practice.
Any other manufacture is considered to be an illegal manufacture.
- Delivery of cocaine. Deliver means “to transfer, actually or constructively, to another a controlled substance, counterfeit substance, or drug paraphernalia, regardless of whether there is an agency relationship. The term includes offering to sell a controlled substance, counterfeit substance, or drug paraphernalia.” Constructive is a legal term that generally means enabling someone to obtain possession of the drug/cocaine.
What are the penalties for cocaine drug crimes in Central Texas?
Generally, federal cocaine crimes are felonies which can result in sentences of 10 years to life, depending on the type of drug involved and the amount of the drug (usually weighed by grams). The sentence increases if someone is killed or is seriously hurt from the drugs. The fines can generally range from $10 million to $50 million.
For drug charges in Texas, convictions also depend on the type of drug (such as cocaine) and the amount of the drug. The penalties are most severe for drugs such as cocaine, which are in Penalty Group 1:
- Under one gram. This is a state jail felony. Convictions can result in 180 days to two years in jail.
- One gram to anything under four grams. This is a third-degree felony. Convictions can result in two to 10 years in prison.
- Four grams to anything under 200 grams. This is a second-degree felony. Convictions can result in two to 20 years in prison.
- 200 grams to anything under 400 grams. This is a first-degree felony. Convictions can result in five to 99 years in prison.
- More than 400 grams. This can result in 10 to 99 years in prison.
Anyone convicted of a state jail felony is confined to a jail that is separate and apart from the Texas Department of Corrections. State jails are generally less severe than jails or prisons in the Texas Department of Corrections system.
Are there enhanced penalties for cocaine crimes?
Penalties can be increased based on the following:
- The penalties and fines for larger amounts are more severe because a large amount often indicates that the defendant intended to sell/deliver (or “traffic”) the drugs.
- There are also substantial fines for each offense.
- The penalties can increase if the drug offenses occurred on or near a school property or school bus or if the drugs were intended to be delivered to a minor.
- In crack cocaine cases, the penalties may also be enhanced because it is often combined with other illegal substances.
How can a Killeen attorney help defend me on cocaine charges?
Our drug charge defense attorneys often assert the following arguments, when they apply, in cocaine drug cases:
- The police failed to obtain a warrant to search or seize the drugs
- The police didn’t have reasonable suspicion to seize the drugs
- The police and prosecution failed to properly account for the drugs – preserve the chain of custody
- The police failed to comply with the defendant’s 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment Constitutional rights
- In possession case, arguments can be raised that the defendant didn’t have actual possession of the drugs because they didn’t, for example, have control over the drugs.
- Other legal and factual arguments based on what the police assert and what actually happened.
Talk to a smart, tough, experienced Killeen cocaine defense attorney
Don’t wait. If you’ve been arrested for any cocaine-related drug crime, it’s best to speak with a skilled Killeen drug defense attorney and nobody anyone else – especially the police. At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, we guide each defense through the criminal justice system. We understand how early and aggressive representation can set the stage for more successful outcomes such as dismissals, plea bargains, and just jury trials. To make an appointment for an drug offense including cocaine, call us at 254-680-4655 or complete our contact form. We have offices in Killeen and Harker Heights.