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Child Involvement Increases Drug Law Penalties

The Collin County Law Group Sept. 27, 2019

Being charged with a violation of drug law can be scary enough. However, if children are involved in some manner with the crime, Texas prosecutors are empowered under state law to increase the charges, sometimes substantially. If these added charges are successfully prosecuted, the conviction can result in a greater loss of freedom and assets than if children were not a factor in a crime.

To involve a child in a drug crime can be considered a form of child endangerment. State law dictates that a person can be charged with endangering a child if the person uses drugs such as methamphetamine, morphine, or other drugs prohibited under Penalty Group 1 while in the presence of a child. Drug usage includes ingesting, injecting or inhaling the substance, or even just possessing the drugs in the presence of a child.

State law also provides for tougher punishments in the event a child is used in the manufacturing of illegal substances. Texas drug statutes specify that if a child is utilized to help manufacture or produce illegal drugs such as morphine, cocaine or methamphetamine, the punishment is increased one degree. An increase in penalties can occur even if the manufacturing is only conducted in the presence of a child. If force is used against a child, the punishment is upgraded a felony degree.

Penalties resulting from involving children in drug crimes can be very serious. A person stands to lose a lot more money in fines, and some incarceration sentences can range from two years all the way to life. For example, a person who manufactures certain opium substances in the presence of a child can be punished with a minimum sentence of twenty years in prison and a fine up to $300,000. These are matters that should be discussed with a professional defense attorney to help avoid the most severe punishments a person may face.