By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Drug free zones are areas created by the legislature where, if drugs are illegally possessed, criminal penalties increase.
Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.134 governs drug-free zones. As a rule of thumb, illegal possession of drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, or prescription drugs will increase the normal punishment range one level. As an example, possession of a usable quantity of marijuana under 2 ounces is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, but if the possession is in a ‘drug free zone,’ the case can be filed as a Class A misdemeanor.
Drug free zones are created several different ways. Schools, playgrounds and even video arcades can be considered as drug free zones. Not only are these types of places drug free zones, but the area surrounding them can be drug free zones as well. Section 181.134 holds that 1000 feet around schools are drug free, and 300 feet around public swimming pools or arcades are as well.
As you can see by reviewing 181.134, it can be highly technical in both how it defines drug free zones and with how it increases penalties.
If you or a loved one is charged with possession of drugs in a drug free zone, it is important that you have an attorney that understands the highly technical nature and the importance of the drug free zone allegations.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation, you should directly consult an attorney.