The proximity of Texas borders to Mexico has resulted in major drug trafficking throughout the state. Texas lawmakers are aware that the flood of contraband controlled substances and illegal drugs requires strong legislation.
Texas has some of the harshest drug laws in the nation.
Drug paraphernalia in Texas
Heavy fines and incarceration occur with the illegal sale or use of drugs. People understand that laws are severe whenever law enforcement finds drugs in the wrong place. People rarely think of drug paraphernalia laws.
Drug paraphernalia is generally considered to be any device used to introduce a drug into the body, to conceal a drug or to ingest a drug. This can include items with legitimate legal use, such as a syringe for a diabetic person stolen by a drug user. Drug paraphernalia can be difficult to identify; sellers disguise them in several ways.
Penalties for drug paraphernalia possession
If drug paraphernalia possession (without the presence of drugs) is, as many believe, the bottom rung on the ladder of drug crime and punishment, it is still not a place Texans want to stand. The sanctions against drug-delivery systems seem small compared to those for drug trafficking.
Possessing drug paraphernalia is not the equivalent of a finding a parking ticket on a windshield—a slap on the hand to prevent someone from parking illegally again. Being caught with drug paraphernalia involves worse consequences than getting a traffic ticket. Actions and charges include the following:
- Simple possession – Class C misdemeanor and fines up to $500
- Intent to sell – Class A misdemeanor, a year in jail, with fines up to $4,000
- Sales to a minor under age 18 – Felony charge, with time in jail
Drug paraphernalia of any degree also results in suspension of a person’s driver’s license for six months, or if under the age of 21, loss of a driver’s license for 12 months. It does not matter if the paraphernalia is in a person’s vehicle or house, he or she will still lose the right to drive for several months. Drug paraphernalia is a separately charged offense from drugs found on the person or in his or her possession. People who offend more than one time will get increasing fines and jail sentences for second or more offenses.
People who receive drug offense charges have the right to seek help in mitigating punishment. The lowest rung on the ladder of Texas drug charges is surprisingly high off the ground. People are better off not climbing that ladder; the higher up they go, the further they can fall.