General Timeline and Penalties in Drug-Related Cases

What Is The General Timeline Of A Drug-Related Case? How Long Do These Cases Take To Be Resolved?

On a state level in Harris County or in Texas, it really depends on the individual court. Individual courts are often operated like businesses. They have different personnel. The judge may do things differently as opposed to another court; it just depends on how that court manages their docket, on how the cases speed along.

When talking about misdemeanor cases, generally those cases take two to three months from the first appearance at the court to some type of resolution. Felony cases can take about the same time, possibly even longer, depending on the evidence that may be available for review or might need testing. It also depends on what type of investigation the attorney might do to try to defend against the case. Those cases generally last from three to six months, possibly longer if you are going to contest some type of issue like have a motion to suppress evidence or even possibly go to trial.

Federal drug cases, where there can be multiple defendants charged in a conspiracy to distribute, possess or manufacture drugs, can take a short time or it could possibly take a couple of years for those cases to be resolved. It all depends on the amount of evidence, amount of attorneys involved in the case, especially if there are multiple defendants. Some federal drug cases may even have up to thirty-five defendants all involved in the same case. Those cases will have possibly thirty-five attorneys, several prosecutors and all of the evidence that would have to be reviewed in order to defend against those types of cases.

What Are The Mandatory Minimums As Compared To Other States When Talking About The Penalties In Drug Charges In Texas?

There can be mandatory minimums. For example, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence for all felonies unless somebody is eligible for probation. Probation or deferred adjudication probation would do away with the mandatory minimum, but if somebody is going to be sent to state jail, which is the lowest felony in the State of Texas, or if they are going to be sent to prison, there are mandatory minimum sentences. A mandatory minimum sentence means that if someone is charged with a state jail, the mandatory minimum is one hundred and eighty days, the maximum is two years. If someone is charged with a third-degree felony, the minimum is two years, the maximum is ten.

For a second-degree felony, the minimum is two years, the maximum twenty. First-degree felony, the minimum is five years, the maximum is life. You can also have a hybrid or an aggravated first-degree felony. Those are generally based on the amounts of the drugs or if someone is possessing with intent to distribute. Those factors can increase the mandatory minimums up to fifteen years. On the state’s side, those mandatory minimums do not reflect when someone may be eligible for parole.

Are Penalties Enhanced If There Are Minors Involved Or If Drugs Were Sold To Minors?

Yes. Penalties can be enhanced if someone is in a school zone selling or possessing the drugs. They can be enhanced if minors are involved. They can also be enhanced if they have on their persons or using a firearm in relationship to drug possession, distribution or on the federal level of trafficking crime.

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