What To Know About Drug-Free Zones And Texas Criminal Charges
Many people in Texas have heard about “drug-free zones,” yet it can be difficult to know what areas are classified as drug-free zones and what that definition means if you are facing drug charges under Texas law. In short, there are certain areas identified as drug-free zones under Texas law, and any drug offense committed in a drug-free zone can result in more serious charges than if the same offense were committed in an area that is not designated as a drug-free zone. Anytime you are facing drug charges of any type, you should have a Texas drug crimes defense attorney on your side. Hiring a defense lawyer is especially important if your charges involve one of the designated drug-free zones under the Texas Health and Safety Code.
Our Texas criminal defense attorneys can provide you with more information about drug-free zones and how they can impact the charges you are facing.
What is a Drug-Free Zone Under Texas Law?
There are various drug-free zones in Texas, but generally speaking, a drug-free zone include:
- Area within 1,000 feet of a school;
- Area within 1,000 feet of a youth center;
- Area within 1,000 feet of a school ground;
- Area within 300 feet of a public swimming pool; and
- Area within 300 feet of a video arcade.
Increased Penalties for Drug Offenses in Drug-Free Zones
When a drug charge is alleged to have occurred in a drug-free zone, the charges are increased. For example, a drug charge that would have been a state jail felony is increased to a felony of the third degree with accompanying penalties. Similarly, a drug crime that would have been charged as a felony of the third degree is increased to a felony of the second degree if it is alleged to have occurred in a drug-free zone.
The increase in penalties can mean that a misdemeanor is increased to a felony, and that a conviction will result in jail time. When a felony is increased, you could face many additional years in jail upon conviction simply because an offense occurred in a drug-free zone.
Defending Against Drug Charges in a Drug-Free Zone
When you are facing drug charges in a drug-free zone, many of the same defenses you would use for any other drug charges (i.e., those outside a drug-free zone) may be applicable to your case. For example, you may be able to prove that you have a valid prescription for the drug that led to your arrest, or that you were unlawfully searched because the police did not have probable cause. Or, if you were induced by a law enforcement official to carry drugs into a drug-free zone, such as a school or playground, the defense of entrapment could be applicable. Many other defenses could apply, as well.
You should seek advice about the best defense strategy for your case by talking with a criminal defense attorney.
Contact a Temple Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
Are you facing drug charges in Texas that include potentially harsher penalties because of a drug-free zone? You should get in touch with one of the aggressive Temple drug crimes defense attorneys at The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez, PLLC to begin working on your defense.