Possession of a Controlled Substance in Texas | Fort Worth Possession Defense

Possession of a controlled substance in Texas refers to the unlawful custody, care, or control over drugs categorized into various penalty groups. Possession of a Controlled Substance in Texas as a criminal offense is spelled out in Chapter 481 of the Health and Safety Code, with the Penalty Groups (PG 1, 1-A, 1-B, 2, 2-A, 3, and 4) defined in Subchapter B with the offense and penalties in Subchapter D. Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 481.115 – 481.118, the categorization of substances into the penalty groups is baed on potential for abuse and accepted medical use, although this has often been the center of much debate. Penalties for possession vary depending on the type and amount of the substance, ranging from a Class B misdemeanor to enhanced first degree felonies.

Possession of a Controlled Substance and Penalty Groups in Texas

The punishment for drug possession in Texas depends on which penalty group the drug falls into and the quantity of the drugs. There are nine drug penalty groups under Texas law (PG1, PG1-A, PG1-B, 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.)

What Penalty Group is a Drug?

One of the challenges with the penalty groups in Texas is that if you look at Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code all of the drugs are listed by their chemical names. Even a common drug like methamphetamine can be difficult to find unless you know the exactly chemical compound you are looking for. To address this challenge we have put together the first and only comprehensive list of chemical names and street names for drugs in Texas penalty groups. You can find it in the PDF below:

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 and heroin. Marijuana — which, yes, is still illegal in Texas — is in its own, less serious penalty group. [Fentanyl just got moved to its own penalty group: 1-B.]

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.

Juveniles are often charged with drug offenses in Texas. Meet our juvenile law specialist.

If your case is in Dallas, visit our Dallas Drug Defense page.

The stakes are high. Hire the best lawyers.

How 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, 1-B (new), 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
PG1B – Fentanyl
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 1-B Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1-B
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)
  • Codeine
  • GHB
  • Opium
  • Methadone
  • Hydrocodone over 300 grams (including in Vicodin)
possession of a controlled substance penalty group 1
Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1. You might see this listed as Poss CS PG1.

Punishment for Possession of a Controlled Substance 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 or analogues of LSD. LSD is not grouped with other drugs because it is sold by the dose while other drugs are sold by weight.

Punishment for Possession of a Controlled Substance 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 units 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

fentanyl possession in texas

Penalty Group 1-B

The only controlled substance in penalty group 1-B is Fentanyl , along with its isomers and analogs.

Punishment for Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1-B

Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1-B (PG1-B) Offense Level Punishment Range
Under 1 Gram State Jail Felony  180 days – 2 years in State Jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
1-4 Grams Third Degree Felony  2-10 years in prison, and a fine of not more than $10,000
4-200 Grams Second Degree  2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
200-400 Grams First Degree 5 – 99 years in prison or life, and a fine not to exceed $10,000
Over 400 Grams Enhanced First Degree 10 – 99 years in prison or life, and a fine not to exceed $100,000

Fentanyl is a focus of prosecutors across the state. Texas has launched a War on Fentanyl. Prosecutors look fo way to file these as manufacturing or delivery charges and are always on the look-out for the newest fentanyl charge: fentanyl murder.


Penalty Group 2

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

pg2 texas
Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2. You might see this listed as Poss CS PG2.

Punishment for Possession of a Controlled Substance 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.

possession of a controlled substance 2A
Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2A. You might see this listed as Poss CS PG 2A.

Punishment for Possession of a Controlled Substance 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 of a Controlled substance penalty group 3
Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 3. You might see this listed as Poss CS PG3.

Punishment for Possession of a Controlled 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 Possession of a Controlled Substance 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?

Did you know that certain possession of controlled substance charges cannot result in a jail or prison sentence?

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 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.

The best criminal defense lawyers don't let a single moment define your life.

Will My Driver’s 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.

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Fort Worth Possession of a Controlled Substance Defense Lawyer

Call 817-203-2220 today for a free consultation.

Texas Drug Penalty Groups Possession vs. Manufacture or Delivery


Texas Drug Penalty Groups

Penalty Group 1

Amount Punishment Range for Possession Punishment Range for Delivery or Manufacture
Less than 1 gram State Jail Art. 481.115(b) State Jail Art. 481.112(b)
1 gram or more, but less than 4 grams Third-degree felony Art. 481.115(c) Second-degree felony Art. 481.112(c)
4 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Second-degree felony Art. 481.115(d) First-degree felony Art. 481.112(d)
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams First-degree felony Art. 481.115(e) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 years or life, and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.112(e)
400 grams or more Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 years or life, and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.115(f) Enhanced first-degree felony: 15–99 years or life, and a fine up to $250,000 Art. 481.112(f)

Penalty Group 1-A

Amount Punishment Range for Possession Punishment Range for Delivery or Manufacture
Fewer than 20 units State Jail Art. 481.1151(b)(1) State Jail Art. 481.1121(b)(1)
20 or more units, but less than 80 units Third-degree felony Art. 481.1151(b)(2) Second-degree felony Art. 481.1121(b)(2)
80 units or more, but less than 4,000 units Second-degree felony Art. 481.1151(b)(3) First-degree felony Art. 481.1121(b)(3)
4,000 units or more, but less than 8,000 units First-degree felony Art. 481.1151(b)(4) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 years or life, and a fine up to $250,000 Art. 481.1121(b)(4)
8,000 units or more Enhanced first-degree felony: 15–99 or life, and a fine up to $250,000 Art. 481.1151(b)(5) Enhanced first-degree felony: 15–99 years or life, and a fine up to $250,000 Art. 481.1121(b)(5)

Penalty Group 1-B (fentanyl or any derivative)

Amount Punishment Range for Possession Punishment Range for Delivery or Manufacture
Under 1 gram State Jail Art. 481.115(b) State Jail Art. 481.1123A)
1-4 grams Third-degree felony Art. 481.115(c) Second-degree felony Art. 481.1123(b)
4-200 grams Second-degree felony Art. 481.115(d) First-degree felony Art. 481.1123(c)
200-400 grams First-degree felony Art. 481.115(e) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 years or life, and a fine up to $200,000 Art. 481.1123(d)
Over 400 grams Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 years or life in a state prison, and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.115(f) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 years or life, and a fine up to $200,000 Art. 481.1123(f)

Penalty Group 2

Amount Punishment Range for Possession Punishment Range for Delivery or Manufacture
Less than 1 gram State Jail Art. 481.116(b) State Jail Art. 481.113(b)
1 gram or more, but less than 4 grams Third-degree felony Art. 481.116(c) Second-degree felony Art. 481.113(c)
4 grams or more, but less than 400 grams Second-degree felony Art. 481.116(d) First-degree felony Art. 481.113(d)
400 grams or more Special first-degree felony: 5–99 or life and a fine up to $50,000 Art. 481.116(e) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 or life and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.113(e)

Penalty Group 2-A

Amount Punishment Range for Possession Punishment Range for Delivery or Manufacture
Less than 2 ounces Class B Art. 481.1161(b)(1) State Jail Art. 481.113(b)
2 ounces or more, but less than 4 ounces Class A Art. 481.1161(b)(2) Second-degree felony Art. 481.113(c)
4 ounces or more, but less than 5 pounds State Jail Art. 481.1161(b)(3) First-degree felony Art. 481.113(d)
5 pounds or more, but less than 50 pounds Third-degree felony Art. 481.1161(b)(4) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 or life and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.113(e)
50 pounds or more, but less than 2,000 pounds Second-degree felony Art. 481.1161(b)(5) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 or life and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.113(e)
2,000 pounds or more Special first-degree felony: 5–99 or life and a fine up to $50,000 Art. 481.1161(b)(6) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 or life and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.113(e)

Penalty Group 3

Amount Punishment Range for Possession Punishment Range for Delivery or Manufacture
Less than 28 grams Class A misdemeanor Art. 481.117(b) State Jail Art. 481.114(b)
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Third-degree felony Art. 481.117(c) Second-degree felony Art. 481.114(c)
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams Second-degree felony Art. 481.117(d) First-degree felony Art. 481.114(d)
400 grams or more Special first-degree felony: 5–99 or life and a fine up to $50,000 Art. 481.117(e) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 or life and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.114(e)

Penalty Group 4

Amount Punishment Range for Possession Punishment Range for Delivery or Manufacture
Less than 28 grams Class B Art. 481.118(b) State Jail Art. 481.114(b)
28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams Class A Art. 481.118(c) Second-degree felony Art. 481.114(c)
200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams Second-degree felony Art. 481.118(d) First-degree felony Art. 481.114(d)
400 grams or more Special first-degree felony: 5–99 or life and a fine up to $50,000 Art. 481.118(e) Enhanced first-degree felony: 10–99 or life and a fine up to $100,000 Art. 481.114(e)


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