Tough Texas Opioid Drug Defense Attorneys
Fighting those accused of opioid drug crimes in Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, and Central Texas
The opioid epidemic has taken the lives of many Texans. Many residents of Killeen and other parts of Texas suffer from the addiction of opioid painkillers. While many uses of opioid are legal if they are properly prescribed, other recreational uses are illegal. Convictions for the illegal possession, delivery or manufacture of opioids can result in long-term prison sentences and substantial fines.
The Killeen opioid defenses lawyers at Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm understand and assert every available legal defense - to have the charges dismissed, negotiated to less severe charges, or to present your case before a jury with the aim of obtaining an acquittal. We work to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained and to challenge the prosecution’s case by arguing that there is a reasonable doubt about the government’s drug offense case against you.
What drugs are considered opioids?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, opioids are an illegal class of drugs that include:
- Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl
- Pain relievers (which may be legal if properly prescribed – but are otherwise illegal) such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and other drugs.
Misuse of opioids can cause dependencies and addiction. When used correctly under a health care provider's direction, prescription pain medicines are helpful. However, misusing prescription opioids risks dependence, addiction, and an overdose.
According to Johns Hopkins University, prescription opioids are generally used to block pain signals between the body and the brain. They can also create feelings of a “high” or happiness. Side effects include constipation, nausea, tiredness, slow breathing, and confusion. Regular use of the prescription opioids can create dependencies which necessitate ever-increasing doses. High doses and misuse can lead to breathing difficulties and fatal overdoses. Common names for opioids include smack, dust, Oxy, Percs, and “hillbilly heroin.”
What are the federal and Texas classifications of opioids?
Opioids, like methamphetamine and cocaine, are classified as Schedule II drugs under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous drugs while Schedule V drugs are considered dangerous but less dangerous than Schedule I, II, III, and IV drugs. The schedules reflect the risk of abuse, the risk of addiction, and the medical uses of the drug.
Texas classifies drugs through the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The classifications are similar to the federal schedules. The most dangerous drugs are classified as Penalty Group I drugs. Opioids are classified as Penalty Group I drugs.
What are the penalties for opioid drug crimes in Central Texas?
Federal and state laws both have severe penalties for the manufacture, delivery, and possession of all scheduled and penalty group drugs. The length of the prison time and the amount of the fines depends on the type of drug involved and the quantity of the drugs involved. Larger amounts suggest that someone who possessed the drugs may have had the intent to deliver or sell the drugs.
Texas penalties for possession of opioids are divided as follows:
- Less than one gram. A state felony. Jail time ranges from 180 days to two years.
- Between one gram and less than four grams. A third-degree felony. Prison time ranges from two to 10 years.
- Between four grams and less than 200 grams. A second-degree felony. Prison time ranges from two to 20 years.
- Between 200 grams and less than 400 grams. A first-degree felony. Prison time ranges from five to 99 years.
- Over 400 grams. A felony. Prison time ranges from 10 to 99 years.
Penalties can be increased if there are minors involved, if the drugs were allegedly sold or manufactured in a school zone, or if there are other applicable enhancements. There are also substantial fines which increase as the amount of the opioids involved increase.
How can a Killeen attorney help with my drug crime defense?
Common defenses that our opioid crime defense lawyers assert on behalf of defendants include contesting the admissibility of the drugs based on:
- Illegal searches and seizures
- Failure to obtain a warrant to search and seize the opioids
- Failure to maintain the chain of custody of the drugs
- Violation of a defendant’s Constitutional rights
- Showing that there was a valid prescription for the opioids
There may be other defenses depending on the basis for seizing the evidence, the control and use of the drugs, the chemical analysis of the drugs, and other factors.
What other charges might I face along with opioid charges?
In additional to possession, delivery, and manufacture charges; defendants involved with opioids may be charged with Texas crimes that relate to the following:
- Using the opioid medications of a family member or a friend
- Stealing prescription pads or forging a physician’s signature
- Pretending to be a physician
- Using the identification documents of someone else
- Going to multiple doctors to get more of the opioids
Consult with an experienced Killeen opioid drug crime defense attorney today
At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our Killeen drug crime defense lawyers assert your rights as soon as you contact us. We speak with witnesses, with the police, and with the prosecution on your behalf. We try suppression hearings before judges. We aggressively work to have evidence suppressed and negotiate with prosecutors. For help with any opioid-related drug offense, call us at 254-680-4655 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. Our locations include Killeen and Harker Heights.