Effect of Drug-Free Zone Criminal Penalty Enhancement

Sugar Land criminal attorney John Venza understands the complexities of the Texas Penal Code, particularly with regard to its sentencing enhancements for drug offenses.

Texas legislatures have enacted enhancements to drug-related criminal sentencing guidelines in order to (1) keep offenders behind bars longer than for ordinary offenses; and (2) deter others from committing similar offenses. Unfortunately, many of these enhancements could result in significant penalties and lengthy jail sentences.

One of the most costly enhancements involves an allegation that drug activity occurred within a drug-free school zone, which carries penalties akin to using a firearm in the commission of a drug offense. If you are entangled in this type of drug charge, an experience and aggressive Sugar Land criminal attorney can help you avoid some of the enhanced penalties related to drug possession and distribution offenses.

Criteria for a Drug-Free School Zone Enhancement

In order to receive an enhanced penalty for a drug offense within a drug-free school zone, the prosecution must prove that the offense occurred either:

  • 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;
  • In, on, or within 300 feet of the premises of a public swimming pool or video arcade facility.

A drug-free school zone enhancement will automatically turn a third or second-degree felony into a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Sugar Land criminal attorney John Venza is exceptionally experienced in matters related to drug offense enhancements, and can help you if you are facing this type of charge. Call his office today at 281-971-5660 to set up an appointment.

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