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Common Drug Offenses

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DRUGS AND PUNISHMENT

Criminal Drug offenses should not to be taken lightly, because a conviction for a drug related offense can be devastating. The penalties are stiff, the fines are high, and the risk to the well-being for you and your family is immeasurable.

Zuniga Law Offices, P.C. will fight to protect your rights and protect your loved ones. Dialing 713-DRUGLAW is the first step to avoiding exposure to the punishments listed below.

These punishments do not include court costs, probation fees , drug testing fees, and other expenses that can devastate a person or family financially. If you receive a conviction for a drug offense you may lose your License, your Liberty and it can destroy your life. Call 713-DRUGLAW now.


DRUG CHARGES

An arrest or conviction of a drug charge can have a tremendous impact on your life. It can affect your employment, career, finances, family/ personal relationships, and freedom. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a drug offense, you should seek help from a trusted professional. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for a free consultation.

A person commits an offense if they carry out or attempt to unlawfully manufacture, alter, refill, deliver, sell, transfer, or use a dangerous drug, or a controlled substance.

Texas law divides drug charges into two categories of dangerous drugs, and controlled substances. Controlled Substances include any substance, drug, adulterant or dilutant listed in Schedules I through V or Penalty Groups 1, 1-A, or 2 through 4. Some of these drugs include:

  • Amphetamines - Meth
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines – Xanax, Valium
  • Benzoylmethylecgonine - Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Codeine or Hydrocodone with an NSAID or acetaminophen - Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet
  • Cough suppressants with codeine
  • Dextropropoxyphene - Darvon, Darvocet
  • Diacetylmorphine - Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Ketamine
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide - Acid
  • Marinol
  • Mescaline - Peyote
  • Methadone
  • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) – Ecstasy, Molly
  • Methylphendiate - Ritalin
  • Morphine
  • Opium
  • Oxycodone - OxyContin, Percocet
  • Phenylcyclidine- PCP
  • Psilocybin - Mushrooms
  • Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) – Marijuana, Hash

Dangerous drugs are a device or drug that is unsafe for self medication, and which does not fall under to category of a controlled substance. This includes a drug or device which bears or is required to bear a legend. Dangerous drugs include but are not limited to:

  • Pesudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Dextromethorphan

MARIJUANA

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A marijuana charge can have a serious impact on a person’s life. It can hinder or completely eliminate a person’s chances of getting a job, getting into school, renting property, or receiving a loan. If you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana crime, it is important to seek advice from a knowledgeable attorney. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for your free consultation.

A person is in violation of the law if they knowingly possess, use, sell, transfer, grow, distribute or traffic any usable amount of marijuana in any form including but not limited to: buds, seeds, leaves, hash, oil, edibles, or resin.

USABLE AMOUNT

Texas treats marijuana differently than other drugs. Texas does not prosecute for trace amounts of marijuana. This means the marijuana must be a large enough quantity to “get high” off of, or a usable amount. There is no hard rule for what is considered usable. This is up to the discretion of the judge.

MARIJUANA CHARGES

Texas recognizes several marijuana crimes including but not limited to the following:

  • Cultivation of Marijuana (growing any amount of marijuana plants)
  • Felony Marijuana Possession (4 oz or more)
  • Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession (4 oz or less)
  • Possession of Paraphernalia (equipment for marijuana use)
  • Sale or Distribution of Marijuana
  • Trafficking Marijuana
  • DWI (under the influence of marijuana)
  • Falsifying drug test

PENALTIES

Penalties for marijuana alone can be significant, but the subsequent impact on a person’s life can be even greater. If you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana crime, call 713-DRUGLAW today to speak with a trusted lawyer about protecting your future.


DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DWI)

An arrest or conviction of a DWI can have a tremendous impact on your life. It can affect your employment, career, finances, family/ personal relationships, and freedom. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a DWI, you should seek help from a trusted professional immediately. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for a free consultation.

A person can be arrested or charged with a DWI if they are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, or if the person is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Punishment for DWI varies depending on the number of convictions:

FIRST OFFENSE

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Three days to 180 days in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to a year
  • Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

SECOND OFFENSE*

  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • One month to a year in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

THIRD OFFENSE*

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in prison
  • Loss of driver license up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

*After two or more DWI convictions in five years, you must install a special ignition switch that prevents your vehicle from being operated if you've been drinking.


FEDERAL CHARGES

A federal crime is a crime that is illegal under federal law, and is prosecuted in federal court. If you or someone you know is charged with a federal crime, it is imperative that you seek professional help immediately. Val Zuniga has years of experience in defending crimes at the federal level. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for a free consultation. We can assist you through every step of the legal process.


FELONY CHARGES

A felony is the most serious type of offense. Felony offenses carry harsh penalties of fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to life. Texas also recognizes the death penalty as a punishment for capital crimes. Other penalities include: loss of your right to vote, loss of your right to possess a firearm, and loss of driver’s license.

 In Texas, felonies are categorized by degree according to the chart below.

Offense

Penalty

 Capital Felony

 Life in prison without parole or Death

 First-degree

 5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

 Second-degree

 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

 Third-degree

 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

 State jail

 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable attorney about your case. Call 713- DRUGLAW today for your free consultation.


JUVENILE CRIMES

A Juvenile is a child under the age of 18. Juveniles can be charged with many offenses including traffic crimes, drug related charges, violent crimes, theft/ property crimes, sex crimes and evasion. These charges can significantly affect a child’s life forever. In some cases, children may even be tried as adults. Val Zuniga has many years of experience in representing juveniles in court. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for a free consultation.

IF YOUR CHILD IS ARRESTED

Having a child who has been arrested/ charged with a crime can be a frightening experience. Zuniga law offices can help answer your questions. Contacting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is the best thing to do in order to protect your child’s rights from the very beginning of the criminal process.

TEXAS JUVENILE PROCESS

In Texas, a juvenile is a child between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. If a child commits a crime or is arrested before their 18th birthday, they will likely be tried as a juvenile. When the child is arrested, the juvenile probation department will conduct an “intake” in order to determine if there is probable cause to believe that the child committed the offense, and meets the definition of a juvenile. At this point, a determination will be made about whether or not the child will be detained prior to trial.

A child generally will not be detained unless at least one of the following are found:

the child is likely to leave/be taken from the court’s jurisdiction;

the child has no parent or guardian, or does not receive adequate supervision or care from their parent/guardian;

the child is a danger to himself or others; or

the child has a previous conviction.

In cases in which the child is detained, the child will attend two hearings in juvenile court. First, a probable cause hearing will be held within 48 hours. Second, a detention hearing will be held within 1-2 business days.

Next, the child will face a two-part trial. The first stage is the adjudication phase. During this phase, a jury will determine whether the child committed the charges against the child are “true” or “not true.” This must be unanimous decision made by the jury. A child may decide to opt out of this first phase, and enter a “stipulation.” A stipulation is equivalent to pleading guilty. In this case, the process will move directly to phase two.

The second phase of the juvenile trial is the disposition phase. This is when the child will receive their sentence. This phase is generally conducted by a judge only. The judge will decide which punishments the child will receive.

JUVENILES TRIED AS ADULTS

In Texas, it is possible that a child may be certified as an adult. In this case, the child will stand trial and punishment as an adult with the exception of the death penalty. A child cannot receive the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18. These cases typically arise when the child commits a serious offense, or when the child is a repeat offender. Generally a child cannot be certified as an adult for offenses committed before the age of 15 except when a child 14 or over commits capital offenses, aggravated controlled substance felonies, or first degree felonies.

JUVENILE RECORDS

Juvenile records can be accessed by police, judges, employers and schools. The only way to protect these records is to seal them. This limits access to only criminal justice professionals. Some juvenile offenses which may be expunged include:

  • A misdemeanor punishable by fine committed prior to the age of 17
  • An offense committed by a minor under the Alcoholic Beverage Code  
  • A conviction for Failure to Attend School

If you believe that you, or a juvenile you know is eligible for expunction, call 713-DRUGLAW today to protect your future.


VIOLATION OF PROBATION

A violation of your probation is a serious offense in Texas. Many judges do not take this lightly. If you are in violation of your probation, you could face the maximum sentence. Call 713-DRUGLAW today to rest assured that your rights are protected.

THE PROCESS

One a person is charged with violation of probation, the state will Move to Adjudicate Guilt, or Move to Revoke Probation. The alleged violator will have to come before the judge in a hearing to discuss the alleged probation violation. In this hearing, the state will only have to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the alleged violator has broken their probation. This means that the state only has to show that the evidence is more likely true than not. Then, the burden shifts to the defendant to negate the state’s allegations. It takes a skilled attorney with experience to overcome this heavy burden. If you or someone you know has been charged with violation of probation, call 713-DRUGLAW today for your free consultation.


EARLY TERMINATION

In Texas, a judge has the authority to terminate a defendant’s probation early under certain circumstances. This is not an absolute privilege of the defendant; early termination is up to the discretion of the judge. Judges consider certain things such as: the severity of the offense, the defendant’s history, statements from the defendant’s probation officer, the inconvenience that the probation has on the defendant’s work or living circumstances.

In order to qualify for early termination, the defendant must:

-       complete a minimum of 1/3 of their probation or 2 years of their probation

-       pay all restitution, costs, court fees, and fines on time

-       complete all court ordered treatment and counseling

-       fulfill all conditions of probation

-       not be convicted of any of the following crimes while on probation

  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Felony which involves a deadly weapon
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Sexual Abuse of Young Child
  • DWI
  • First Degree Burglary with intent to commit certain sex crimes
  • First Degree Criminal Solicitation
  • First Degree Injury to a Child
  • Indecency With a Child
  • Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury
  • Murder, Capital Murder
  • Online Solicitation of a Minor
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography
  • Prohibited Sexual Conduct
  • Repeat offenses of Indecent Exposure
  • Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Unlawful Restraint or Kidnapping of child under 17
  • Criminal Attempt, Criminal Conspiracy, or Criminal Solicitation to commit any offense listed above

If you feel that you or someone you know is qualified for early termination of probation, call 713-DRUGLAW today for a free consultation. Don’t let probation get in the way of your life for any longer than it has to.


DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A domestic assault is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury, threatening bodily injury, or causing offensive bodily contact with a family member. Furthermore, if a weapon is involved, an offender may be charged with aggravated assault which is an increase in charge and punishment.

Domestic assault may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Either way, a domestic violence charge should not be taken lightly. In some cases, if you are charged with domestic violence, you can be prohibited from returning to your home or anywhere else that the victim might be. Furthermore, a domestic assault conviction can have a severe impact on many areas of your life. If you or someone you know is charged with a domestic violence crime it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for your free consultation.


VIOLENT CRIMES

A violent crime charge is an extremely severe offense. This can significantly affect your life during the judicial process, and long after. If you or someone you know is charged with a violent crime it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately in order to assure that your rights are protected every step of the way. Val Zuniga has years of experience, and many victories representing clients who have been charged with violent crimes. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for your free consultation.

Violent crimes include but are not limited to:

  •  Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Assault by threat
  • Offensive contact
  • Assault of a public servant
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Homicide
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter

Penalties range from fines all the way up to capital punishment. These penalties can have a serious effect on the person convicted, and their friends and family. In some cases, a violent crime conviction can keep you from ever seeing your children or loved ones again. If you or someone you know has been charged with a violent crime, CALL 713-DRUGLAW today to speak with an attorney who is experienced in this field.


WEAPONS CHARGES

While the second amendment grants citizens the right to bear arms, there are many limitations on this right. There are thousands of gun laws and regulations at both the state and federal level. These laws can be difficult to decipher and follow for a person who is unfamiliar with legislature. Many state and federal jurisdictions have laws which regulate the use, sale, manufacture, possession, transfer, and carrying of weapons. Further, there are prohibitions on when and where a firearm can be carried and used. Some weapons crimes include but are not limited to:

  • Automatic weapons (illegal sales, altering weapons illegally, possession of an unregistered assault weapon
  • Drug-related Gun Charges
  • Firearm Smuggling
  • Illegal/Unauthorized Weapons Sales
  • Interstate Transportation of Firearms
  • Making Firearm Accessible to a Child
  • Possession of Deadly Weapon in Penal Institution
  • Possession of Prohibited Weapon
  • Possession of Stolen or Illegally Altered Firearms
  • Possession or Use of a Firearm in a Federal Facility
  • Possession or use of a Firearm in Connection with the Commission of a Felony
  • Possession or use of prohibited types of ammunition
  • Possession, Manufacture, Sale of Transfer of Hoax Bomb
  • Unlawful Carrying of Handgun
  • Unlawful Carrying Weapons
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Unlawful Possession of Metal or Body Armor by Felon
  • Unlawful Possession of Weapon in Places where Weapons are Prohibited

When dealing with weapons, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney for advice. Call 713-DRUGLAW today if you or someone you know has been charged with a weapons crime. Val Zuniga has years of experience defending the accused at both the state and federal level.


SEAL / EXPUNGE CRIMINAL RECORDS

BENEFITS OF HAVING YOUR RECORDS SEALED

A criminal history can have a significant impact on various areas of your life. With the competitive job market, it is important to do everything in your power to protect your private information from prospective employers or schools. A criminal record could significantly decrease job opportunities, and admittance into colleges.

In the state of Texas, a record can be sealed in two ways depending on the specific circumstances of the case. The first is Expunction, and the second is Non-Disclosure. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for your free consultation.

EXPUNCTION OF A CRIMINAL RECORD

Expunction is the process of permanently removing information about an arrest, charge or conviction from a person’s permanent record. In order to be eligible for expunction, a case must fall under one of the following:

  • An arrest for a crime that was never charged;
  • A criminal charge that was ultimately dismissed;
  • Certain qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offenses;
  • Conviction of a minor for certain alcohol offenses;
  • Conviction for Failure to Attend School;
  • Arrest, charge or conviction on a person’s record due to identity theft by another individual  that was actually arrested, charged or convicted of the crime;
  • Conviction for a crime that was later acquitted by the trial court or the Criminal Court of Appeals;
  • Conviction for a crime that was later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the US President.

Furthermore, the court will not grant an expunction for any of the above cases to adults who have received deferred adjudication, probation, or have been convicted of a felony within five years of the arrest the person is seeking to have expunged. In addition, the court will not grant expunctions if the offense is part of a criminal transaction and the applicant for the expunction has charges pending for a different crime that occurred during the same transaction. Lastly, a person cannot seek an expunction until the statute of limitations for the crime has run out.

Seeking an expunction is a complex process. If you or someone you know would like to have their records expunged, call 713-DRUGLAW for a free consultation.

NON-DISCLOSURE OF A CRIMINAL RECORD

If a case is not eligible for expunction, non-disclosure may be appropriate. Non-disclosure makes criminal records inaccessible to civilians. What this means is that only criminal justice professionals will have access to these records. In order to be eligible for non disclosure, a person must wait until the statutory waiting period has passed, and cannot be convicted of any charges during this statutory waiting period. The following offenses are not eligible for non disclosure.

CRIMES NOT ELIGIBLE FOR NON-DISCLOSURE

  • Abandoning or Endangering a Child
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Capital Murder
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Family Violence Offenses
  • Incest
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual
  • Murder
  • Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Stalking
  • Unlawful Restraint, Kidnapping, or Restraint of a Child Less than 17 Years Old
  • Violation of Protective Order or Magistrate’s Order

If you believe your record is eligible for non-disclosure, call 713-DRUGLAW today in order to protect your personal information.


ARREST WARRANTS

In Texas, arrest warrants are issued in order to authorize the arrest and detention of a citizen. An arrest warrant has no expiration, and may be served at any time. This includes at your home or job, on the road, or at any public or private function in which an officer may recognize you. An arrest warrant should not be ignored or avoided. Many people are unaware of outstanding warrants until the time of their arrest. If you or someone you know has an outstanding warrant Zuniga Law Offices can help. Call 713-DRUGLAW for your free consultation.


CRIMINAL APPEALS / POST CONVICTION

A conviction in a trial court is not always the final judgment of a case. If you are tried and convicted of a crime, you may be entitled to appeal you case. This means that your case may be reviewed by a higher court for errors or misinterpretations that were made at the trial level. An appellate court may reverse or modify a determination if they find error. An appellate court is different than a trial court in that there is no jury at the appellate level. It is simply an oral or written argument submitted to the judge or judges in order to review any errors made at the trial level.

A court may grant an appeal for many errors including but not limited to:

  • Constitutional Issues
  • Discover Issues
  • Error in the Jury Selection Process
  • Excessive Bail
  • Failure to Disclose Favorable Evidence
  • Hearsay Violations
  • Improper Identification of the Accused
  • Improper Jury Instruction
  • Legality of Arrest
  • Validity of the Indictment
  • Violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure
  • Violation of the Rules of Evidence

The appellate process is very complicated. If you or someone you know is facing an appeal at the state or federal level, it is important to contact an attorney who has experience in defending at the appellate level. Val Zuniga has years of experience defending cases in both state and federal appellate courts. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney. It is important to understand your rights every step of the way. Zuniga Law Offices, P.C. can help.


WHITE COLLAR CRIME

A white collar crime is a financially motivated non- violent crime. This term encompasses a wide array of unlawful activity. Financial rules and regulations can be tough to decipher. At both the federal and state level, investigations and audits have intensified. Furthermore, civil lawsuits for white collar crimes can cost the alleged violator hundreds of thousands, or in some cases, millions of dollars. White collar crimes include but are not limited to:

  • Bank Fraud
  • Blackmail
  • Bribery
  • Cell Phone Fraud
  • Computer Fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Currency Schemes
  • Embezzlement
  • Environmental Schemes
  • Extortion
  • Forgery
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Insider Trading
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Investment Schemes
  • Kickback
  • Larceny
  • Racketeering
  • Securities Fraud
  • Tax Evasion
  • Telemarketing Fraud
  • Welfare Fraud
  • Weights and Measures

The legal process for a white collar criminal charge can be lengthy and complex. If you or someone you know has been charged with a white collar crime it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney. Call 713-DRUGLAW today for a free consultation.


THEFT AND PROPERTY CRIMES

A conviction of a property crime can have severe impact on your life. If you have been charged with a property crime it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights throughout the entire process. Property crimes include but are not limited to:

Theft- taking property of another without consent

Burglary- enters a habitation of another without consent with intent to commit felony, theft, or assault

Criminal Mischief- damage of another’s property

Criminal Trespass- entering the property of another without consent

Robbery- theft plus threatening to cause or causing bodily injury to another

Aggravated Robbery- Robbery with a deadly weapon, of a person above 65 yrs, or of a disabled person

Arson- starting a fire with the intent to destroy or damage property

Tampering- altering, removing or obliterating certain types of property

Val Zuniga has years of experience in defending alleged assailants in this complex area of law. Call 713-DRUGLAW today if you or someone you know has been charged with a property crime.


INTERNET / CYBER CRIMES

With the rapid advancements in technology, new legislation has been passed on internet and cyber crimes. This is a complex area of the law which requires the help of experienced professionals. Call 713- DRUGLAW today to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney about your case.

Internet/ Cyber Crimes include but are not limited to:

  • Breach of Computer Security
  • Denial-of-service Attacks
  • Electronic Terroristic Threats
  • Identity Theft/Fraud
  • Network Intrusions (hacking)
  • Online Impersonation
  • Online Solicitation of a Minor
  • Tampering with Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine
  • Tampering with Governmental Records
  • Web Site Defacements

Penalties for Internet/ Cyber Crimes

Due to the wide range of internet crimes, penalties also vary in severity. Internet crimes can be prosecuted at the state and federal level. Furthermore, internet crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the circumstances. Due to the fact that this is a new and complex area of law, it is imperative that you speak to a criminal defense attorney if you are charged with an internet crime. Call 713- DRUGLAW today for your free consultation.

Defenses for Internet/ Cyber Crimes

There are many affirmative and mitigating defenses for internet and cyber crimes available. Call 713- DRUGLAW today to have your case reviewed by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.


SEXUAL OFFENSES

A sexual offense conviction can have devastating impact on a person’s life. A conviction can affect what type of job you can have, where you can live, and even your rights to your own children.

Sexual offenses in Texas include:

Criminal Solicitation of a Minor

Aggravated Kidnapping

Public Lewdness

Indecent Exposure

Indecency With a Child

Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student

Sexual Assault

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Prohibited Sexual Conduct

Prostitution

Promotion of Prostitution

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution

Compelling Prostitution

Obscene Display or Distribution

Obscenity

Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to a Minor

Sexual Performance by a Child

Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography

There are many affirmative and mitigating defenses available for sexual crimes. Don’t let a sexual offense charge ruin your life. If you or someone you know has been charged with a sexual offense, call 713-DRUGLAW today to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your rights.