Drug Charges

Killeen Methamphetamine Drug Defense Attorneys

Defense for drug charges in Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, and throughout Central Texas

Anyone who possesses, sells, or makes methamphetamine in Texas can be charged with federal or state crimes – or possibly both. Meth is considered a controlled substance, and therefore a dangerous drug. Methamphetamine charges are felonies. Convictions of felony drug charges usually mean years in prison and substantial fines.

At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our Killeen drug defense lawyers represent individuals facing charges for methamphetamines and other drugs. We also work to negotiate plea agreements to reduce the charges and/or lessen the amount of any sentence, or have your charges dismissed altogether. Our attorneys are ready to try your case before a jury of your peers when the prosecution refuses to make fair plea bargain offers.

What is methamphetamine?

According to Drugabuse.gov, methamphetamine is an extremely strong addictive stimulant. It’s also known as meth, crystal, ice, and blue. The drug generally is a “white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.” It’s known to affect the user’s central nervous system. Symptoms include a sense of euphoria, decreased appetite, talking a lot, and increased activity. Unlike its parent, amphetamine, methamphetamine generally gets to the brain in large amounts, making it the stronger and more dangerous drug. It does have limited, rarely prescribed, medical uses such as a treatment for “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and as a short-term component of weight-loss treatments.”

What drug schedule are methamphetamines?

The Federal Controlled Substances Act categorizes certain drugs as Schedule I through Schedule V, based on the health dangers they pose – such as the potential for abuse, the lack of accepted medical use for treatment, the likelihood of psychological or physical dependencies, and other factors.

Methamphetamine is categorized as a Schedule II drug – “unless specifically excepted or unless listed in another schedule.” Schedule II drugs:

  • Have a high potential for abuse
  • Have “a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” – with “severe restrictions”
  • May lead to “severe physical dependence or high psychological dependence” if abused.

Texas categorizes drugs into various penalty groups. Methamphetamine is categorized as a Penalty Group I drug.

For both the federal and state statutes it is illegal to possess, sell, or manufacture controlled substances of any schedule or any penalty group. Just possessing the chemicals and paraphernalia (scales or baggies, for example) is generally also illegal.

 

What are the penalties for methamphetamine charges?

The penalties vary depending on whether the offense is a federal crime or a state crime.

Federal charges for methamphetamines

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), if a person knowingly or intentionally intends to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense “50 grams or more of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, and salts of its isomers or 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, or salts of its isomers,” that person can face imprisonment anywhere from 10 years to life. If another person dies or suffers seirous bodily injury, the minimum sentence is 20 years. The fine, depending on the circumstances, can run between $10 million and $50 million. Texas charges for methamphetamines

In Texas, the punishment depends on the type of drug (which penalty group) and the quantity of the drug.

The penalties for Penalty Group 1 (the group that includes methamphetamine) vary in the following ways:

  • Less than one gram is a state jail felony. State jail felonies carry a 180-day to a two-year penalty.
  • One gram or more and less than 4 grams is a 3rd degree felony. The sentence for a third-degree felony is two to 10 years.
  • Four grams or more and less than 200 grams is a second-degree felony. This sentence is two to 20 years.
  • 200 grams or more and less than 400 grams is a first-degree felony. The sentence for a first-degree felony is five to 99 years.
  • 400 grams or more is life imprisonment or a term of 10 to 99 years. The fine can be up to $100,000.

There are also substantial fines for all drug amounts.

Texas charges for methamphetamines

In Texas, the punishment depends on the type of drug (which penalty group) and the quantity of the drug.

The penalties for Penalty Group 1 (the group that includes methamphetamine) vary in the following ways:

  • Less than one gram is a state jail felony. State jail felonies carry a 180-day to a two-year penalty.
  • One gram or more and less than 4 grams is a 3rd degree felony. The sentence for a third-degree felony is two to 10 years.
  • Four grams or more and less than 200 grams is a second-degree felony. This sentence is two to 20 years.
  • 200 grams or more and less than 400 grams is a first-degree felony. The sentence for a first-degree felony is five to 99 years.
  • 400 grams or more is life imprisonment or a term of 10 to 99 years. The fine can be up to $100,000.

There are also substantial fines for all drug amounts.

What is a suppression hearing in Texas?

The main strategy in a methamphetamine case, or any drug case with the possibility of lengthy sentences and large fines, is to try to suppress the evidence of the drugs. Suppression hearings are hearings heard before a trial to determine if some evidence, such as the results of drug tests, is inadmissible.

Experienced Killeen methamphetamine defense attorneys often argue that evidence should be excluded because:

  • The search of the defendant of the defendant’s possession was unreasonable
  • There was no warrant to conduct a search
  • The chain of custody of the drugs has been broken
  • The drug evidence was based on statements made in violation of the defendant’s Constitutional rights
  • Other arguments depending on the facts of the case

Drug evidence may also be inadmissible at trial if the defendant was not in possession of the drugs or for other reasons. Mary Beth Harrel has published writings about the suppression of evidence, and is a well-respected speaker on the issue.

What are the benefits of a plea bargain?

If the evidence of the methamphetamine evidence in your drug case can’t be suppressed, then our Killeen defense lawyers work to negotiate a plea bargain because the risk of a jury trial is often too dangerous. Often, prosecutors will stack the deck with a large number of charges which can be negotiated down to the core offense. The prosecution (federal or state) may be looking for the defendant to help them file charges against those manufacturing and selling the drugs in return for a lighter sentence.

Killeen methamphetamine possession defense attorneys

At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our lawyers are smart and tough. We have the experience to fight prosecutors due to our strong record in representing defendants for over 20 years. Our felony drug charge lawyers are skilled at finding the flaws in the government’s cases and the issues that might lead to a dismissal of the charges or a fair plea bargain result. If you’ve been arrested for a methamphetamine charge, call us at 254-680-4655 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Killeen, and Harker Heights.