Drug Possession & Sale


Jesse Quackenbush is an experienced criminal defense lawyer. He has over 28 years experience representing individuals accused of serious drug crimes before state and federal courts in Texas, New York and New Mexico.
Serious Felony Drug Crimes in Texas
Drug offenses in Texas are among the most serious in the state’s arsenal of criminal laws. Penalties of drug violations can be extremely severe and carry with them a host of collateral consequences.

A drug charge in Texas does not necessarily mean a drug conviction. There are several effective defenses for narcotics offenses that a talented drug crimes attorney with experience investigating the circumstances surrounding a search and arrest for a drug crime should know and be able to use to your advantage. Mr. Quackenbush can use his knowledge and experience to create a successful defense strategy and force the government to follow the law and meet its burden of proof.

Defense Strategies in Drug Cases
For instance, a knowledgeable and prepared criminal defense lawyer could demonstrate that your arresting officers did not have probable cause to search your home, vehicle, or person. He could show that you were a victim of entrapment, or argue that the drugs belonged to someone else and were not intended for human consumption. It is even possible that drugs found in your vicinity, or even in your vehicle, were hidden, unknown to you and therefore not in your possession. There are many possible successful defenses in drug cases, if your lawyer dedicates the time and resources to investigate your case and is familiar with the facts and law.

Never Talk to the Police or Federal Agents
If you believe you are being investigated for a drug trafficking crime, or have already been arrested or charged with this type of offense, consult with a knowledgeable attorney with experience in drug defenses immediately. Your lawyer can listen to your side of the story before helping you determine the best possible defense strategy in the unique circumstances of your case. With the help of a drug crimes attorney, you may be able to avoid prison.

Texas Drug Laws
Texas courts look at five primary factors in determining what sentence should be imposed after a conviction for any of the above drug offenses:
• The type of drug involved. For example, a drug found in penalty group 1 (heroin) will result in a much harsher sentence than a drug found in penalty group 3 (prescription drugs).
• The amount of drugs involved. Greater amounts of the same drug, regardless of the penalty group, will result in a longer sentence.
• The purpose for which the drug is used. A simple possession is less severe than intent to distribute, manufacture, or deliver drugs.
• Location of violation. Drugs possessed or sold near schools or day care centers, for example, are treated more harshly than on an average street corner.
• Whether the drug offense was tired to another offense. Drug offenses associated with crimes of violence or involve the possession or use of a firearm will result in a significantly more severe sentence.

Texas Drug Statutes
Manufacture or deliver of controlled substances (drugs)
• Minimum Punishment: Confinement in jail for a term of not more than 2 years, or less than 180 days, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00.
• Maximum Punishment: Confinement in prison for life or for a term of not more than 99 years nor less than 15 years, and fine not to exceed $250,000.00.

Possession of controlled substances (drugs)
• Minimum Punishment: Confinement in jail for a term of not more than 180 days, and a fine not to exceed $2,000.00, or both.
• Maximum Punishment: Confinement in prison for life or for a term of not more than 99 years not less than 10 years, and fine not to exceed $250.000.00.

Delivery of Marijuana
• Minimum Punishment: Confinement in jail for a term of not more than 180 days, a fine not to exceed $2,000.00, or both.
• Maximum Punishment: Confinement in prions for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 10 years, and a fine not to exceed $100,000.00.

Possession of Marijuana
• Minimum Punishment: Confinement in jail for a term of not more than 180 days, a fine not to exceed $2,000.00, or both.
• Maximum Punishment: Confinement in prison for life or for a term of not more than 99 years nor less than 5 years, and a fine not to exceed $50,000.00.

These offenses are set out in Chapter 481 of Health and Safety Code. There are fine penalty groups in this chapter. Each group designates the offense and punishment. The groups are governed by two factors: the type of the drug and the quantity involved. Sections 481.032 contains exhaustive lists (with new drugs added each year) that are in Penalty Groups 1, 1-A, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Consequences of Drug Convictions
There are also many collateral consequences for having been convicted of a drug offense in Texas.
• Employment: Many occupations (such as barber, plumber, nurse, etc.) require a license to work. Section 53.021 of the Texas Occupations Code authorize Texas licensing authorities to revoke, suspend, or deny a license to anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.

• Education: Any student convicted of the possession or sale of a controlled substance can lose or be denied financial assistance under the Federal Student Loans and Grants program, or the forfeiture of a prepaid scholarship.
• Asset forfeiture: Serious drug convictions can result of forfeiture of cash, vehicles, homes, personal property, and businesses.
• Firearm: A drug conviction of more than one year will result in loss of the right to own or possess a firearm or ammunition.
• Housing: Federal housing policies permit the exclusion of drug offenders from federally subsidized or funded housing.
• Civil rights: A drug conviction results in the loss of the right to vote, run for public office, be appointed to a public office, or serve on a jury.

Because of the wide range of criminal penalties associated with drug offenses and the vast array of civil penalties disqualifications and disabilities associated following drug convictions (and, yes, probation is a conviction), anyone charged with a drug offense needs an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney.

Federal Drug Crimes
There are significant misconceptions about federal crimes. Many people assume that federal crimes are “white collar” or “national security” offenses. Nothing could be further from the truth. Approximately 55% of all federal prisoners, more than 30,000 of them, stand convicted of drug offenses. The U.S. congress has enacted 38 drug statutes that proscribe penalties and fines for 165drug related offenses. The higher end of these offenses carries penalties of 10 years to life imprisonment with $10 to $50 million fines while the lower end of these offenses carries penalties of 3 years imprisonment and fines up to $250,000.

Crimes with Mandatory Minimums
Below is a list of drug offenses that carry a mandatory minimum sentence under 28 U.S.C § 841.
• Heroin
• Cocaine
• Crack cocaine
• Marijuana
• Methamphetamine

The mandatory minimum can be 5 to 10 years without parole depending upon the quantity of the drug involved.

The five-year minimum drug case can double to 10 years with one prior felony conviction while the 10-year minimum drug case can double to 20 years with a prior felony conviction.
Both the five-year and ten-year minimum cases increase to a mandatory minimum of 20 years if a death results. The minimum increases to life without parole if both a death results and the offender has one prior felony conviction.

Finally, the ten-year mandatory minimum drug type increases to life without parole if the offender has two or more prior felony convictions.

Forfeiture of Property and Money
As with Texas drug convictions, federal drug convictions can also lead to civil forfeitures that result in the loss of personal property, including cash, homes, vehicles, planes, and other personal belongings.

The proceeds from forfeited property go into the coffers of law enforcement agencies, not the government treasury. Thus, the police have an incentive to seize and forfeit as much property as possible, regardless of whether it is actually tied to an offender’s drug activity.

Drug Convictions can Destroy Lives, Professions
Beyond these serious to severe penal consequences, federal drug convictions have significant personal collateral consequences. They can disqualify you for a job in the health care industry, government, private security, law enforcement, many areas of the criminal justice system, and any other job requiring a security clearance.

They can, and most likely will, have adverse impact on your employment prospects with companies that routinely run criminal background checks prior to their decision to hire. They can also have a serious impact on your ability to rent a suitable residence as property owners also frequently run background checks, refusing to rent or lease to drug offenders.

Federal Drug Task Forces
Federal and state laws enforcement officials often work together on drug enforcement offenses. They generally employ “task forces” that generally target one individual with the hope that he or she will lead them to a wider network of suspects. The primary objective of these kinds of investigation is to develop reasonable, articulable suspicion to arrest the initial target with the hopes that law enforcement can pressure the individual into cooperating with them to make a case against the wider network.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer with Experience
If you find yourself in a position facing a serious drug charge, you should immediately seek a qualified criminal defense lawyer who has experience defending individuals accused of serious drug charges. A skilled criminal defense attorney is more likely than not to develop a successful defense strategy against the drug charge, or, in the correct circumstances, to have the charge dismissed altogether.

Possible Defense.
Defenses against drug charges include: unlawful search and seizures, faulty crime lab analysis, lost or tampered with evidence, drugs that were planted, drugs that belong to someone else, entrapment, or the medical marijuana exception.

Developing these defenses requires a criminal defense lawyer who has the knowledge and experience necessary to apply the law to your case. In the proper circumstances your lawyer should have access to a team of investigators, paralegals, and experts, who can assist in providing a vigorous and thorough defense investigation, strategy preparation and trail plan that will lead to a successful outcome in the case.

The primary goal of the Quackenbush Law Firm is to produce the best outcome for our clients: dismissal of charges, acquittal at trial, verdict of a lesser offense, or the lowest sentence possible should a guilty verdict be rendered.

Reasonable Bail
A successful defense in a serious drug case begins with efforts to get you released on bail as soon as possible.

Obviously, detention in jail pending trail is not the best situation for our clients. No one wants to spend a day in jail. But pre-trial detention also interferes with our ability to communicate freely with our client and interferes with their ability to assist in preparing a defense. Pretrial detention is not good for the client, not good for the defensive strategy and interferes with personal obligations. Therefore, we demand bail in every case possible.

Too Many Lawyers Give Up
97 percent of all federal drug offenders plead guilty to a reduced charge or to a lower recommended sentence than would result from a trial. We do not, however, undertake a plea bargain strategy unless our client directs us to do so. If the Government proffers a deal, we are ethically bound to convey that deal to you. At that point it is our duty to convey to the client the pros and cons of such an agreement, including the legal ramifications and consequences of a guilty plea. But the ultimate decision to enter into a plea bargain rests exclusively with you. It is your life and we will respect whatever decision you make regarding plea agreement or trial, we stand behind you 100 percent and will fight for the best possible result under the circumstances.

Our legal system is supposed to be fair and just. We know that is not always the case. Our duty,  is to fight for the fairness and justice that the Government is not always willing to extend to our clients. The Government’s prosecution of drug crimes is often rife with prosecutorial misconduct, unethical behavior before and during the trial, and an overzealousness that translates into downright meanness. We provide our clients a safeguard against these Government actions.

At the Quackenbush Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of people accused of drug crimes in both state and federal courts. Our firm is headed by Jesse Quackenbush, a Amarillo based criminal lawyer who has helped countless clients across Texas defeat drug charges of all kinds, from complicated drug trafficking and distribution cases down to minor possession charges that would have had a major impact of the lives of our clients.

Mr. Quackenbush has the experience, talent, and knowledge you need to fight back against overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement agents. With Jesse Quackenbush in your corner, you will be in the best position possible to have your drug crime charges dismissed or reduced and avoid the life-altering penalties to your freedom and future. Call now for your free consultation (806) 374-4024 .