Drug Crimes, Criminal Law, Penalty Groups
May-June 2023

An at-a-glance chart of punishments for drug possession, delivery, and manufacture

By Hilary Wright
Assistant Criminal District Attorney in Tarrant County

Sorted by Penalty Group, the charts below show the offense level and punishment ranges for both possession and delivery or manufacture for all amounts.

* Pursuant to Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 42A.551, probation is mandatory for a person convicted of a state jail felony who has no prior felony convictions, if the current charge is for any offense above that is punished as a state jail felony with these limitations:  

            •          H&S Code 481.1151(b)(1) Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1-A: fewer than 5 units

            •          H&S Code 481.1161(b)(3) Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2-A: 1 pound or less

This does not apply if a jury assesses punishment of a state jail felony offense as laid out above and does not recommend probation. See Tex. Code of Crim. Proc. Art. 42A.551(e). Probation for these offenses is not mandatory if the person has any felony conviction that was not punished under Tex. Penal Code §12.44(a), including an adjudication of a deferred probation.

** The fine is required by statute. If no fine is imposed, it renders the judgment void, See Saldivar v. State, 542 S.W.3d 43 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, pet. denied); Barton v. State, 962 S.W.2d 132 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 1997, pet. ref’d); Scott v. State, 988 S.W.2d 947 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, no pet.).

*** Note the weight conversion between possession to manufacture or delivery from ounces to grams. It is unclear why the delivery portion of the statute is written this way, especially in light of the fact that 401 grams = 14.1449 ounces. Under the current language, possession with intent to deliver 401 grams of a substance under Penalty Group 2-A has a punishment range of 10–99 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine; but if you merely possess the same amount, it is punished as a state jail felony.

**** Pursuant to Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 42A.102, a judge may not grant deferred adjudication community supervision for this offense.