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DA shifts focus from marijuana possession: What is next?

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has indicated the office will not make misdemeanor marijuana a priority. For those caught with less than four ounces of marijuana, the offense will not appear on their record if they attend a drug education class. It's basically a across-the-board pre-charge diversion program.

What will the prosecutor's office target with the $26 million budget that had been directed at marijuana cases?

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Prescription drug abuse and possession of prescription medications is one area likely to receive more scrutiny. A routine traffic stop could thus become much more problematic if a law enforcement officer observes a plastic bag containing pills.

A football recruit faces drug charges

Recently. a Texas football signee was charged with prescription drug possession. The high school student was accused of selling prescription meds (20 Xanax pills and $1,300 were found in his possession) within 1,000 feet of a school in Oklahoma. He apparently also admitted to selling the anti-anxiety drugs when confronted by a school administrator.

Texas places prescription drugs under the general umbrella of the Texas Controlled Substance Act. Most prescription drugs fall onto the list of Schedule I substances, including:

  • Oxycontin, Vicodone and Hydrocodone for pain management
  • Adderall and Ritalin used to treat attention deficit disorder
  • Valium and Percocet along with Xanax for anxiety

Schedule I controlled substance possession carries the most serious consequences.

The amount in your possession, any previous criminal record and where you were when arrested can affect the severity of a criminal charge. School zone violations will easily lead to enhanced charges. A charge for felony possession could easily lead to jail time and fines up to $10,000.

For young people, like the high school student, future opportunities could be severly limited with a conviction. The Texas coach for instance released a statement indicating he would wait for the legal process to work and then take action.

Sharing and storage issues

The law requires that you only possess these powerful medications with a doctor's prescription. It is unlawful to share prescription drugs.

You can also open yourself up to uncomfortable questions and possible arrest simply by removing pills from their containers. You should not combine prescription medicines into a pill container or plastic baggie for a three-day trip across the state. Instead, make sure to keep the pills in bottles labeled with your prescription.

If you are accused of a drug crime, seek counsel right away from Ken or Judy at Mingledorff Law Firm. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to help you minimize the potential consequences.

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