The State of Texas and the United States take drug offenses seriously, as reflected in the phrase "the War on Drugs." Drug cases, including cocaine and marijuana, are particularly attractive to police because these cases result in forfeitures as well as government grants.
Controlled substance offenses can range in punishment from a misdemeanor to the most serious felony, depending on the type of drugs involved, the amount, and whether the drugs were merely in one's possession or were also in delivery or distribution. A drug case can be a federal or State case. Prescription drug cases are becoming increasingly prosecuted in State court, particularly in Houston and Harris County, Texas. Whatever the charge, a conviction for a drug offense may carry with it collateral punishment, such as a driver's license suspension.
Typically, a defense in criminal drug cases generally falls into three categories:
(1) The alleged drugs were not in fact illegal,
(2) Law enforcement illegally obtained the drugs due to an unlawful search or seizure, or
(3) The defendant did not knowingly or intentionally possess the drugs.
Forfeiture is common in controlled substance cases. When a forfeiture occurs, the government confiscates funds or property associated with criminal activity. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure contains various provisions addressing forfeiture.
Conspiracy is also a common charge in controlled substance cases. This is because drug conspiracy can be easier for the prosecutor to prove than possession, distribution, or delivery of illegal drugs. Specifically, all that is required to prove a conspiracy, such as a drug conspiracy, is an agreement to commit a crime along with an overt act carrying out the agreement.
Because of the special challenges of drug cases, including the complexity of search and seizure law and of forfeiture, it is especially important to hire a qualified drug defense lawyer. Neal has experience and expertise in defending drug cases. Before deciding to open his own Houston criminal law office, Neal was a lawyer for over ten years with legendary Texas criminal defense attorney Dick DeGuerin, where Neal established an outstanding reputation in his own right. At the Houston law office of Dick DeGuerin, Neal defense of drug cases ranging from simple possession to complex conspiracies. Neal is among an elite group of Texas lawyers who are both Board Certified, Criminal Law--Texas Board of Legal Specialization and in the College of the State Bar of Texas. An authority no less than the State Bar of Texas explains why you should choose a Board Certified lawyer.
Many times, Neal has prevented drug offenses from being charged or has gotten them dismissed or reduced. He has successfully handled forfeitures. Of course, every case is different and individual results may vary depending on the facts of a case. Rest assured, your case is as important to Neal as it is to you, as shown in testimonials about him.
For further information, read Neal's blog on drug cases. Here is his popular blog post on drug cases:
Although the United States had laws on the books prohibiting the use of certain psychoactive substances as early as 1914, the term "War on Drugs" was not used to describe the federal government's policies until the year 1969. The following year, the Nixon administration enacted the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. At the heart of these new policies was the Controlled Substances Act, which categorized specific controlled substances into five different categories listed as Schedules. Drugs that were perceived as having the most potential for abuse and no known medical benefit were listed under Schedule I. To this day, relatively harmless recreational drugs like marijuana and ecstasy are still listed as Schedule I substances alongside dangerous substances like heroin and crystal meth. This gave rise to criminal defense lawyers who specialize in drug defense. Sometimes, these lawyers are referred to as "drug lawyers" or "drug defense attorneys."
With the long reach of the DEA and the stiff penalties for minor drug offenses in today's society, it is easy to forget that the war on drugs has only been the official policy of the federal government for a relatively short time. While the intentions of the war on illicit psychoactive substances was clearly launched with the best of intentions, a growing number of citizens, politicians, and law enforcement agents are coming to the realization that these policies doing more damage to our society than good. For decades, criminal defense lawyers, particularly criminal law firms that commonly defend drug cases, have railed against the War on Drugs as being a waste of resources. An increasing portion of the population is calling to the end of the criminalization of certain illicit substances and a complete rethinking on how we address our nation's drug problem.
Because of the stiff penalties for drug use and drug trafficking, recreational drug users of soft drugs like marijuana and ecstasy are forced to obtain their supplies from the black market. This leads some drug users to become involved in the criminal drug trade.
While the social costs of the war on drugs is considerable, some of the biggest victims of this war are drug users themselves. These are the tragic casualties of the drug wars. The vast majority of individuals who use drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy are functional members of society who do not otherwise engage in criminal activities. These individuals, if charged, require criminal defense lawyers to represent them. Due to the arcane laws governing recreational drug use, these individuals find themselves dealing with a criminal element of our society that they would never have otherwise approached. While California has seen the light in legalizing marijuana, Texas unfortunately has not. Even a conviction of a very minor drug infraction, such as possessing a useable quantity of marijuana, can haunt an otherwise upstanding member of our community for the rest of their life. We criminal lawyers, particularly the drug defense attorneys, have in Houston and Harris County, Texas, repeatedly eyewitnessed the casualties of the drug wars.