Drug charges in Texas can lead to jail time, career consequences and a lifelong criminal record. Despite the severity of these possible consequences, a surprising number of people accused of a drug-related infraction in Texas will simply plead guilty. The problem with this approach is that there is no guarantee that a judge will be lenient when sentencing someone just because they chose to plead guilty to the charges against them.
Rather than hoping for the best, those accused of a substance-related crime in Texas often benefit from partnering with a criminal defense attorney to fight the charges they’re facing. There are numerous potential responses to drug charges in Texas that can help someone minimize the impact those allegations have on their life. These are some of the most common ways for people to respond to Texas drug charges other than pleading guilty.
1. They challenge a search or the validity of evidence
Sometimes, police officers and other law enforcement authorities break the law in their eagerness to enforce it. Searches of personal property that violate someone’s constitutional rights could lead to invalid and unusable evidence. Other times, there may be questions about how police processed and handled the evidence.
2. They request drug court proceedings
When there is strong evidence against an individual and also documentation that they have a history of a substance abuse disorder, it could be possible for them to avoid a criminal trial by having their case heard in the Texas drug courts.
Drug court proceedings can eliminate the criminal penalties someone faces and allow them to move on with their life without a permanent criminal record. The drug courts involved frequent meetings and hearings combined with supervision and randomized drug testing. When someone fulfills all the obligations set by the courts, they can potentially avoid conviction and the lasting consequences it would have on their life.
3. They provide an alternate explanation
Someone arrested because of drugs in their vehicle could challenge the prosecutor’s claim of constructive possession by submitting evidence that shows they work unaware of the item’s presence in the vehicle and therefore did not have control over it. There may be similar options for those who get arrested for something that officers find in their homes. Presenting an alternate explanation for the presence of a drug or seeming suspicious behavior is a viable strategy in many cases. A well-developed claim may raise reasonable doubt about someone’s involvement in criminal activity and could potentially help them defend against their pending charges.
Reviewing the state’s evidence with a legal professional is an important step for those who hope to fight drug charges in Texas, as doing so can inform a strong defense strategy.