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Fentanyl—An Increasing Area of Focus for Texas Law Enforcement

Nov. 16, 2022

According to Texas officials, 92% of Texas opioid overdoses of those 0-17 in 2020 involved a synthetic opioid such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opioid, but it’s 50 times stronger than heroin, so it’s fatal in even small doses—as little as two milligrams. Facts such as these have Texas law enforcement and other state agencies redoubling their efforts on fentanyl-related prosecutions. If you’ve become involved in any fentanyl-related case, you should immediately get an experienced criminal defense attorney—like the Law Office of Kenneth W Mullen PC—to defend you.

How is Fentanyl Classified in Texas?

Fentanyl—commonly known as Apache, China Girl, Murder 8, and TNT—is classified as a “controlled substance” prohibited under Texas law. It is categorized as one of “Penalty Group 1” drugs, along with methamphetamine and ketamine.

If someone is convicted of possession of even one gram of fentanyl for personal use, that’s a state jail felony with a possible sentence of up to two years in state jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. The severity of charges escalates depending on how much fentanyl a person has in their possession.

Unsurprisingly, the sale and distribution of fentanyl is also a felony, with increasing penalties for the amount delivered, as well as the presence of other escalating factors.

In addition to state laws, fentanyl is prohibited under federal law. Federal prosecution has dramatically increased in recent years, with the number of Fentanyl trafficking offenders increasing by 4,711% from 2014 to 2018.

Experienced defense attorneys like the Law Office of Kenneth W Mullen PC understand the stakes for those accused of a fentanyl-related crime. Defendants cannot count on the government for any leniency. Of those accused of federal fentanyl-related crimes, 41% had little to no previous criminal record. Yet 97% of fentanyl offenders went to prison and did so for an average of 74 months.

The Good Samaritan Law in Texas

In the State of Texas, one particularly complicated scenario can occur. What if you’re in possession of a small amount of drugs or paraphernalia when you witness someone else overdose?

To encourage calling for help, “The Good Samaritan Law” is intended to protect those who seek medical assistance for a drug overdose. In other words, if the police helped someone because you called 911, the police aren’t supposed to use any drugs in your possession against you. However, there are limitations to this protection. It’s only available for those with a “small amount” of drugs. However, it doesn’t apply to those with a previous drug conviction or those who have already called for help for another overdose within the past 12 months.

Get Help From an Experienced Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

Complications like these reaffirm the importance of having a great criminal defense lawyer with you for any fentanyl-related issue. If you have been arrested for fentanyl possession or any other drug crime, don’t wait. Contact the Law Office of Kenneth W Mullen PC for a free consultation.