Drug Possession at Schools

Denton County Criminal Defense Attorneys

Possession of an illegal substance at, or near a school, is a crime that is taken seriously in Denton County. These are supposed to be drug-free zones, and breaking this law could result in harsh penalties.

What makes it illegal? Sec. 481.134. DRUG-FREE ZONES, subsection makes it an offense to possess marijuana:

  • In, on, or within 1,000 feet of any real property that is owned, rented, or leased to a school or school board
  • The premises of a public or private youth center, or a playground
  • On a school bus

Have questions regarding your charge? Schedule a free evaluation now by calling (940) 580-2899.

What are the punishments?

For individuals arrested for possession of marijuana, the penalty is dependent on the amount or weight of the drug in question, and that's no exception with drug-free zones. Typically, if two ounces or less is possessed in a drug-free zone, then the punishment is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Call the Law Offices of Tim Powers today! (940) 580-2899.

The most common marijuana arrests are the result of being stopped, detained, or arrested for other charges. Upon a search by the officer, marijuana is usually found in a person's pocket, bag, or their car. Sometimes, a bag or marijuana is carelessly left sitting on the car dashboard or on the center console, in plain view.

Aside from searches revealing marijuana, the other most common arrest involves smoking in an area frequented by other people, such as in a car outside a bar or club, or in a university dormitory or nearby apartments. Often times, searches can be considered illegal violations of the 4th Amendment, and can be suppressed.

At the Law Offices of Tim Powers, our Denton County drug crime lawyers are well aware of the laws pertaining to drug-free zones, and we work to defend you against your charges. We know how to defend your rights as you go through the trial process. When you contact our firm, we will discuss your situation, explain your rights and options, and educate you on the possible defenses that we can use on your behalf. We have experience spanning thousands of successful cases, and we want to use our skill, knowledge, and ability to help you, too.

The Law

Texas Health and Safety Code 481.134 (Drug Free Zones)

§ 481.134. DRUG-FREE ZONES. (a) In this section:

(1) “Minor” means a person who is younger than 18 years of age.

(2) “Institution of higher education” means any public or private technical institute, junior college, senior college or university, medical or dental unit, or other agency of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(3) “Playground” means any outdoor facility that is not on the premises of a school and that:

(A) is intended for recreation;

(B) is open to the public; and

(C) contains three or more separate apparatus intended for the recreation of children, such as slides, swing sets, and teeterboards.

(4) “Premises” means real property and all buildings and appurtenances pertaining to the real property.

(5) “School” means a private or public elementary or secondary school or a day-care center, as defined by Section 42.002, Human Resources Code.

(6) “Video arcade facility” means any facility that:

(A) is open to the public, including persons who are 17 years of age or younger;

(B) is intended primarily for the use of pinball or video machines; and

(C) contains at least three pinball or video machines.

(7) “Youth center” means any recreational facility or gymnasium that:

(A) is intended primarily for use by persons who are 17 years of age or younger; and

(B) regularly provides athletic, civic, or cultural activities.

(b) An offense otherwise punishable as a state jail felony under Section 481.112, 481.113, 481.114, or 481.120 is punishable as a felony of the third degree, and an offense otherwise punishable as a felony of the second degree under any of those sections is punishable as a felony of the first degree, if it is shown at the punishment phase of the trial of the offense that the offense was committed:

(1) in, on, or within 1,000 feet of premises owned, rented, or leased by an institution of higher learning, the premises of a public or private youth center, or a playground; or

(2) in, on, or within 300 feet of the premises of a public swimming pool or video arcade facility. (c) The minimum term of confinement or imprisonment for an offense otherwise punishable under Section 481.112(c), (d), (e), or (f), 481.113(c), (d), or (e), 481.114(c), (d), or (e), 481.115(c)-(f), 481.116(c), (d), or (e), 481.117(c), (d), or (e), 481.118(c), (d), or (e), 481.120(b)(4), (5), or (6), or 481.121(b)(4), (5), or (6) is increased by five years and the maximum fine for the offense is doubled if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the offense was committed:

(1) in, on, or within 1,000 feet of premises of a school or a public or private youth center; or

(2) on a school bus.

(d) An offense otherwise punishable under Section 481.112(b), 481.113(b), 481.114(b), 481.115(b), 481.116(b), 481.120(b)(3), or 481.121(b)(3) is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the offense was committed:

(1) in, on, or within 1,000 feet of any real property that is owned, rented, or leased to a school or school board or the premises of a public or private youth center; or

(2) on a school bus.

(e) An offense otherwise punishable under Section 481.117(b), 481.119(a), 481.120(b)(2), or 481.121(b)(2) is a state jail felony if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the offense was committed:

(1) in, on, or within 1,000 feet of any real property that is owned, rented, or leased to a school or school board or the premises of a public or private youth center; or

(2) on a school bus.

(f) An offense otherwise punishable under Section 481.118(b), 481.119(b), 481.120(b)(1), or 481.121(b)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the offense was committed:

(1) in, on, or within 1,000 feet of any real property that is owned, rented, or leased to a school or school board or the premises of a public or private youth center; or

(2) on a school bus.

(g) Subsection (f) does not apply to an offense if:

(1) the offense was committed inside a private residence; and

(2) no minor was present in the private residence at the time the offense was committed.

(h) Punishment that is increased for a conviction for an offense listed under this section may not run concurrently with punishment for a conviction under any other criminal statute.

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