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Drug-free zones may affect possession charges

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2021 | drug offenses | 0 comments

The Texas Controlled Substances Act classifies an offense as a felony if law enforcement arrests an individual in a drug-free zone. According to the Lone Star State’s Health and Safety Code, a drug-free zone includes schools, playgrounds and video game or youth recreational facilities.

An offense allegedly carried out within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or youth center may result in a felony charge. Drug-free zones also consist of colleges, universities and medical or dental centers used for teaching students to treat patients.

Certain defenses may help avoid felony convictions

Individuals found inside of a private residential home located within a drug-free zone may have a defense against a felony charge. A defense, however, may require proof that a minor was not present at the time of the offense. Providing testimony or records of a child’s whereabouts may counter a prosecutor’s attempt to persuade the court to deliver a felony conviction.

An individual may also show evidence of the property’s boundaries falling outside of a drug-free zone. The court may accept a detailed map produced by a county or municipal engineer as proof of boundary lines. If the property’s zoning has recently changed, for example, an updated map may help avoid a felony conviction.

Schoolteacher arrested for possession

As reported by KVIA ABC-7, officials arrested and charged a Texas schoolteacher with possession of THC, the primary chemical compound in marijuana. Texas law prohibits on-campus possession of a controlled substance; the school district terminated the charged individual. If convicted, the former teacher may have a felony record.

According to the Lone Star State’s penal code, giving a child marijuana or any other controlled substance is a felony. An individual found and arrested with illicit substances inside of a drug-free zone may face enhanced penalties. A strong defense, however, may reduce the severity of the court’s outcome.