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By Benson Varghese

Last Updated: June 22nd, 2021 at 4:13 PM
Published on: January 7th, 2020 at 6:06 PM

Controlled Substance Penalty Groups in Texas

The punishment for drug possession in Texas depends on what which penalty group the drug falls into and the quantity of the drugs. There are eight drug penalty groups under Texas law (PG1, PG1-A, PG-2, PG-2A, PG-3, PG-4, Dangerous Drugs and Marijuana). Drugs are categorized according to their addictive nature and whether they have any accepted medical purpose (as determined by the legislature, at least.)

Drug Possession in Texas

Drug possession charges are extremely common in Texas, but not all drugs are treated equally. Possessing four grams of methamphetamine, for example, is punished much more harshly than possessing a marijuana joint. That’s because all controlled substances fall into penalty groups in Texas, with Penalty Group 1 being the most addictive and dangerous.

Methamphetamine is in Penalty Group 1, along with crack, heroin and fentanyl. Marijuana — which, yes, is still illegal in Texas — is in its own, less serious penalty group.

Even though some penalty groups carry harsher penalties, it’s important to realize that all Fort Worth drug possession charges can negatively impact your life, resulting in jail time, fines, license suspensions, and a criminal record.

Here’s a look at the penalty groups in Texas and some answers to frequently asked questions.

What is a Controlled Substance in Texas?

A controlled substance is a drug or chemical whose use and distribution is tightly controlled because of its abuse potential or risk. This can include illicit drugs or prescription medications.

What is Possession of a Controlled Substance in Texas?

Under Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code – also known as the Texas Controlled Substances Act – an individual can be charged with possession of a controlled substance if he or she knowingly or intentionally possess any of the substances listed in the penalty groups without a valid prescription from a doctor, including drugs, dangerous drugs, chemicals, narcotics, stimulants, prescription pills, medications, synthetic substances and natural substances.

fort worth drug possession chargesHow are Drugs Classified in Texas?

Controlled substances are classified into penalty groups, which are based on the legislature’s beliefs about risks of abuse and whether or not there are accepted medical uses for a drug. Drugs are categorized into Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, 2-A, 3, and 4. Marijuana is in its own separate category, with its own penalties.

Before we go into detail about the various penalty groups for drugs in Texas, here’s a general overview of the penalty groups:

PG1 – Opiates, cocaine, meth, GHB, fentanyl, and ketamine.
PG1A – LSD
PG2 – Hallucinogens, including THC, central nervous system depressants
PG2-A – Synthetic marijuana/cannabinoids
PG3 – Stimulants and depressants like Ritalin, benzos, Xanax
PG4 – Narcotics that include codeine and morphine but have medical value

What are the Abbreviations in Fort Worth Drug Possession Charges?

POCS PG 1 Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1
POCS PG 1-A Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1-A
POCS PG 2 Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2
POCS PG 2-A Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2-A
POCS PG 3 Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 3
POCS PG 4 Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 4
DFZ Drug Free Zone
POMu2 Possession of Marijuana under 2 Oz

What are the Drug Penalty Groups in Texas?

In Texas, drugs are classified into Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, 2-A, 3 and 4. Here’s a breakdown of each group and their punishment ranges:

→ Penalty Group 1

The drugs in Penalty Group 1 are the most heavily regulated in Texas, as they pose no medical use whatsoever. They include the most dangerous and addictive drugs including:

  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Special K – Ketamine
  • Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
  • GHB
  • Hydrocodone over 300 grams (including in Vicodin)
  • Fentanyl

Punishment for Penalty Group 1

Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group One (PG1) Offense Level Punishment Range
Less than one gram State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
1 gram or more, less than 4 grams Third Degree 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
4 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Second Degree 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams First Degree 5 to 99 years in a state prison or life, and a fine of not more than $100,000
400 grams or more Enhanced First Degree 10 to 99 years or life, and a fine of not more than $100,000

→ Penalty Group 1-A

The only controlled substance in penalty group 1-A is Acid – LSD. LSD is not grouped with other drugs because it is sold by the dose while other drugs are sold by weight.

Punishment for Penalty Group 1-A

Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1-A (PG1-A) Offense Level Punishment Range
Fewer than 20 units State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
20 or more units, but less than 80 units Third Degree 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
80 units or more, but less than 4,000 units Second Degree 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
4,000 units or more, but less than 8,000 unites First Degree 5 to 99 years in a state prison or life, and a fine of not more than $100,000
8,000 units or more Enhanced First Degree 15 to 99 years or life, and a fine of not more than $250,000

→ Penalty Group 2

Penalty Group 2 drugs are slightly less dangerous than Group 1. Most hallucinogens fall into Penalty Group 2 and include:

  • MDMA, Molly, Ecstasy
  • Bath Salts (Many bath salts)
  • Adderall (Dextroamphetamine)
  • PCP (Phencyclidine, Angel Dust)
  • Mescaline (Peyote)
  • Mushrooms (Psilocybin)
  • Proposed legislation: Flakka (alpha-PVP)
  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol); see CBD Oil Prosecution in Texas
  • “Analogs” of the penalty group 2 drugs (designer drugs that are chemically similar to a listed drug and that produce similar effects)

Punishment for Penalty Group 2

Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2 (PG2) Offense Level Punishment Range
Less than one gram State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
1 gram or more, less than 4 grams Third Degree 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
4 grams or more, but less than 400 grams Second Degree 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
400 grams or more Enhanced first-degree felony 5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $50,000

→ Penalty Group 2-A

Penalty Group 2-A are synthetic marijuana, such as spice, K2, and other synthetic cannabinoids.

Punishment for Penalty Group 2-A

Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2-A (PG 2-A) Offense Level Punishment Range
Less than two ounces Class B misdemeanor 0-180 days in county jail and up to $2,000 fine
2 ounces or more but less than 4 ounces Class A misdemeanor 0-1 year in county jail, and up to $4,000 fine
4 ounces or more but less than 5 pounds State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
5 pounds ore more but less than 50 pounds Third Degree 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
50 pounds or more, but less than 2,000 pounds Second Degree 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
2,000 pounds ore more Enhanced first-degree felony 5 to 99 years in state prison or life, and a fine not to exceed $50,000

→ Penalty Group 3

Penalty Group 3 includes many controlled substances that are depressants or stimulants such as:

  • Valium
  • Xanax (Alprazolam)
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Hydrocodone less than 15mg/dose or less than 300 mg
  • Codeine less than 90mg/dose
  • Lorazepam
  • Zolpidem
  • Ritalin
  • Testosterone
  • HGH (Human Growth Hormone)

Fort Worth Drug Possession

Punishment for Penalty Group 3

Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 3 (PG-3) Offense Level Punishment Range
Less than 28 grams Class A misdemeanor 0-1 year in county jail, and up to $4,000 fine
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Third Degree 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
200 grams or more, but less thanÊ 400 grams Second Degree 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
400 grams or more Enhanced first-degree felony 5 to 99 years in state prison or life, and a fine not to exceed $50,000

→ Penalty Group 4

Penalty Group 4 is made up of a wide range of controlled prescription medications, which carry the potential for abuse including:

  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Motofen
  • Dangerous Drugs

Punishment for Penalty Group 4

Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 4 (PG4) Offense Level Punishment Range
Less than 28 grams Class B Misdemeanor 0-180 days in county jail and up to $2,000 fine
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Third Degree 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams Second Degree 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
400 grams or more Enhanced first-degree felony 5 to 99 years in state prison or life, and a fine not to exceed $50,000

What are Common Defenses for Texas Drug Crimes?

Common defenses for Texas drug crimes stem from improper searches and seizures, as well as issues that arise during the chain of custody of the evidence. There are a number of diversion programs in most counties, both for the first time offender and for offenders who are ready to make a substantial change in their lives.

Is Probation Mandatory for a First-Time Drug Offense in Texas?

Pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure 42.551, probation is mandatory for a person convicted of a state jail felony who has no prior felony convictions, if the current charge is for:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance u/1 Gram Penalty Group 1 481.115(b)
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance under 5 units, Penalty Group 1-A 481.1151(b)(1)
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance u/1Gram Penalty Group2 481.116(b),
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance 4oz to 5 lbs, Penalty Group 2-A 481.1161(b)(3)
  • Possession of a Marijuana 4oz to 5 lbs, 481.121(b)(3)
  • Possession a Prescription Form, 481.129(g)(1)

Probation for these offenses is not mandatory if the person had a previous felony conviction or was already on deferred for this offense.

Will My Driver License Be Suspended if I’m Busted for Drugs?

A conviction for a Fort Worth drug possession charge will result in a one-year license suspension if you are under 21. If you are over 21, a drug conviction will result in a six-month license suspension. If your driver’s license was suspended for a drug-related offense, you will need to complete a 15-hour Drug Education Program before DPS will reinstate your license.

Facing Fort Worth Drug Possession Charges? Contact Us.

If you or a loved one is facing a Fort Worth drug possession charge, it’s imperative to have a skilled, aggressive drug crime lawyer in your corner. We can help. Our team has decades of experience and a record of exceptional results handling all types of drug crimes. If there is an issue with your case, we will find it and fight for you every step of the way. Call 817-203-2220 today for a free consultation.

Drug Arrests in Fort Worth This Week

Drug Crimes
Charges
How many people have been arrested for drug crimes in Tarrant County this week?
35
possession of a controlled substance 1-4 grams - PG1; possession of a controlled substance under 1 gram - PG1; possession of a controlled substance 4 - 400 grams - PG2; possession of a controlled substance under 28 grams - PG2;
How many people have been arrested for drug crimes in Tarrant County this month?
420
possession of a controlled substance 1-4 grams - PG1; possession of a controlled substance under 1 gram - PG1; possession of a controlled substance 4 - 400 grams - PG2; possession of a controlled substance under 28 grams - PG2;
How many people have been arrested for drug crimes in Tarrant County in 2021?
3,160
possession of a controlled substance 1-4 grams - PG1; possession of a controlled substance under 1 gram - PG1; possession of a controlled substance 4 - 400 grams - PG2; possession of a controlled substance under 28 grams - PG2; possession of a dangerous drug
Fort Worth Drug Possession | Texas Controlled Substance Penalty Groups
2021-06-22T16:13:02-06:00
Varghese Summersett PLLC
Varghese Summersett PLLC