If you possess any type of controlled or illicit drugs, then you will likely be in violation of the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Before a conviction for drug possession can be obtained, a prosecutor must be able to successfully prove past a reasonable doubt that a defendant both intentionally and knowingly possessed and/or had complete control over a controlled substance that they have no prescription for.

Under state law in Texas, drugs are placed in four different classes. Each one has its own specific classification and set of penalties. The only drug that is independent of these classes is marijuana.

Texas is the one state in the union that has perhaps some of the harshest penalties in terms of drug possession. Here is some of the most basic information regarding laws, penalties, and potential defenses, which there may be several of depending on the specific charges that have been levied against you. In cases such as this, it is highly recommended that you first speak to an attorney prior to either admitting guilt or accepting any type of a plea deal.


Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 6, Subtitle C, Chapter 481, Section 481.115 – 481.123

Potential Defenses

  • The defendant didn’t know that they were in possession of a controlled substance.
  • The drug was never intended to be consumed by a human.
  • There was recently an approved new drug application for the substance under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and/or the drug has been approved for investigational use under this act, which exempts the defendant from prosecution.
  • The drug is classified as medicinal marijuana.
  • The drug has been legally prescribed by a doctor.
  • There is an insufficient quantity of the drug.


The penalties for these laws can vary depending on a few different factors, such as the following:

  • Quantity
  • Drug type
  • The manner in which the drug was stored and/or concealed
  • Possession of additional drug paraphernalia
  • Previous convictions

The most basic penalty for drug possession is at least a Class B or Class A Misdemeanor offense. This gives the offender up to a year in county jail, as well as a fine totaling no more than $4,000; however, this depends on the type of drug involved. Depending on what illicit drug is involved, the penalty can range from a third degree felony to a first degree felony. The maximum penalty in Texas for drug possession is a prison sentence of 99 years or life and/or a fine totaling up to $250,000.

Marijuana-Specific Issues

Individuals found to be in possession of marijuana run the risk of being charged with a Class B Misdemeanor offense. This can carry a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine totaling no more than $10,000, but only if you possess two ounces or less of marijuana. The highest possible penalty can be life in prison, as well as a fine of up to $50,000, but only if you possess over 2,000 pounds of marijuana.