If you are like most people, the idea of being arrested for possession of a controlled substance brings to mind street drugs like marijuana and cocaine. But did you know under Texas law, you can also be charged with possession of a controlled substance if you have a prescription drug without a valid prescription?
It is illegal in Texas to possess controlled substances like hydrocodone without authorization. If convicted of the same, you face similar punishment as if you had possessed an illegal street drug.
If you have been arrested for possession of hydrocodone in the Houston, Texas area, Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. may be able to help. Attorney Doug Murphy is Houston's best drug defense lawyer, and he has a long list of successful outcomes to prove it. The consequences for a conviction for possessing hydrocodone illegally are severe, but with the right Houston drug defense lawyer, you may be able to avoid a conviction entirely.
What is hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is an opioid derived from the opium poppy. It can be used as a painkiller but also serves as a powerful cough suppressant. It is best known by its brand names, Vicodin and Norco. Hydrocodone is synthesized in a similar way to morphine and is chemically similar to heroin.
The drug was synthesized for the first time in 1920 by German chemists. By 1943, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved it for sale in the U.S. It was first marketed in Germany as early as 1924, however, as the drug Dicodid. The use of hydrocodone grew rapidly in the United States, where it is used far more frequently than in other countries.
Physical Appearance of Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone is known for coming in many different formulations. It is frequently mixed with other drugs to treat a variety of ailments. Some of the most common combinations are for hydrocodone to be cut with over the counter pain relievers like Aspirin or Tylenol. While these drugs typically come in pill form, hydrocodone cough syrup is also extremely common.
Common Street Names
Outside of its trade names like Vicodin or Norco, hydrocodone is also known by several street names. Those street names include:
- Mr. Hyde
What are the Effects of Hydrocodone?
The best-known effect of hydrocodone is its ability to relieve moderate or even severe pain. But hydrocodone is extremely habit-forming, making it one of the most addictive painkillers around. The drug alters the way your body detects and responds to pain, making you feel worse if you develop a reliance on the drug and then try to wean off of it.
Additional side effects also exist, including:
- Mood Swings
- Dry mouth
- Dry throat
- Trouble Urinating
- Contracted Pupils.
Long term abuse of hydrocodone can lead to organ damage and ultimately death.
How is hydrocodone classified under federal law?
In the U.S., all controlled substances are sorted into categories known as drug schedules according to the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. In total, there are five different schedules under the act and every controlled substance is assigned to a schedule. Schedule V contains the least-regulated drugs, including many with a medical purpose, while Schedule I contains the most-regulated drugs that have little to no medicinal value. The schedule also takes into account just how addictive a substance is.
According to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, hydrocodone is a Schedule II drug due to its highly addictive nature. Other drugs in Schedule II include Cocaine, Ritalin, opium, methadone, morphine, PCP, and methamphetamine.
How is hydrocodone classified under Texas law?
In the State of Texas, drugs are classified differently than they are under federal law. Each controlled substance is placed into one of six drug penalty groups identified by the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The only drug listed in the federal drug schedules that isn't in a Texas drug penalty group is marijuana, which is treated differently under state law.
The six penalty groups are:
- Penalty Group 1
- Penalty Group 1A
- Penalty Group 2
- Penalty Group 2A
- Penalty Group 3
- Penalty Group 4.
Each drug penalty group has its own sentencing range. If you are convicted of possessing a drug in a certain penalty group, you will be sentenced to a penalty that corresponds to that group. Penalty group 1 carries the toughest penalties while penalty group 4 carries the weakest. That doesn't mean the consequences aren't severe; penalties go up based on the volume of a drug you are accused of possessing.
Under Texas law, hydrocodone is considered a member of penalty group 1. The drugs in this group are the most addictive and therefore carry the stiffest penalties. Other penalty group 1 drugs include codeine, opium derivatives, cocaine, methamphetamine, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and ketamine. Possession of even a small amount of a penalty group 1 drug is a felony. If you are convicted of possessing large amounts of hydrocodone you will face a maximum of 99 years in prison as well a fine of up to $100,000.
Hiring the Best Houston Drug Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for possession of hydrocodone, time is of the essence. The prosecutor and law enforcement involved in your case will begin gathering evidence against you immediately. It is in your best interest to hire a professional that can help defend your rights in a court of law. If your arrest occurred in or around Houston, Texas, consider attorney Doug Murphy.
Doug Murphy is one of Houston's top drug defense lawyers. He is a board-certified expert in criminal defense law with an extensive history of winning cases for his clients. He is a trial attorney at heart that prepares every case as if it will ultimately go to trial. This approach puts his clients in the best position to successfully fight the charges levied against them.
To discuss your case with the best drug defense attorney in Houston, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation today.