Drug crimes are serious offenses that can have long lasting effects on your freedom, public record, and ability to work in certain careers. Crimes like possession, trafficking, and distribution carry stiff penalties under the Texas legal code. Marijuana possession laws in Texas are some of the strongest in the country. How do these drug laws change in Drug Free Zones in Texas?
Houston drug attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss answers frequently asked questions about Texas Drug Free Zones. As a narcotics defense lawyer in Houston, Strauss has years of experience representing clients charged with a Houston drug crimes. Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of Texas Drug Free Zones.
Drug Free Zone Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are Drug Free Zones? Federal, state and local laws increase penalties for illegal drug activity in Drug Free Zones (DFZ). In Texas, many of the DFZ are based on the idea of protecting children from exposure to drugs. Many DFZ’s are related to the boundaries around schools.
2. Are there various types of DFZ? Yes, there are various types of Drug Free Zones. The most common type is the area around a school. Other types of DFZ’s in Texas include youth centers, playgrounds, and institutes of higher learning. These DFZ’s extend one thousand feet from the perimeter of the premises. Other facilities like swimming pools and arcades have a smaller perimeter (300ft) that carries the same penalties.
3. What if the school is privately owned? Texas drug free zone laws do not distinguish between public or private ownership. Private shoots enjoy the same DFZ protection as public schools. Remember, the focus is protecting the children of Texas from encountering illegal drugs.
4. How Tough Are The Penalties? Like most of the laws that govern illegal drugs in Texas, the penalties associated with DFZ’s are very, very harsh. The penalties will always be more severe, starting with the sentence and fines. For example, small quantity possession of a controlled substance is commonly a class A misdemeanor. Inside a DFZ, that escalates to a third degree felony.
5. How are penalties structured for school DFZs? As you can imagine, the Drug Free Zones around schools carry the strongest penalties. Any drug offense is a felony. No questions asked.
Defense Help for Illegal Drugs in a Drug Free Zone
If you have been charged with a drug offense in a Drug Free Zone, contact drug crimes defense attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss. Strauss can review your case for possible defenses. Privately owned playgrounds that restrict access to paying member and tenants may not qualify as Drug Free Zones. Any reduction in penalties may help stop your charge from staying permanently on public record. For more information about Drug Free Zones and a consultation of your case, contact the Law Office of Lisa Shapiro Strauss today.