Posted on 6/6/22

Drug cases can be complex and carry significant penalties. However, the amount of drugs allegedly involved in the crime, the circumstances of the crime, and the defendant’s criminal history are all important factors. The Texas Controlled Substances Act – Chapter 481 regulates and assigns drugs into groups, ranging from Penalty Group 1 to 4. The most dangerous drugs are classified in Penalty Group 1, and crimes associated with them carry more severe penalties. Understanding the different penalty groups can help you understand the charges against you.

Penalty Group 1

The drugs in Penalty Group 1 are the most dangerous and addictive, with no accepted medical use or benefits. They are heavily controlled and serve no medical purpose. Penalty 1 drugs include opioids, opioid derivatives, and the following:

  • Codeine

  • Hydrocodone

  • Oxycodone

  • Opium derivatives

  • Opiates, such as heroin and others

  • Cocaine

  • Methamphetamine

  • Ketamine

  • Ketamine

  • Mescaline (peyote)

  • Psilocybin and similar hallucinogens

The penalties for possession and distribution of Penalty Group 1 substances are the most serious. Those charged with possession of less than one gram face a state jail felony, 180 days to two years in state jail, and a fine of up to $10,000. Those charged with possession of over 400 grams face an enhanced felony with a prison sentence between 10 and 00 years and a fine of up to $100,000.

Penalty Group 1-A

The substances in Penalty Group 1-A include salts, isomers, and salts of isomers. These substances are measured in units, not ounces or points. The penalties for these substances are similar to those of substances in Penalty Group 1.

Penalty Group 2

Penalty Group 2 substances include hallucinogenic substances such as mescaline, Ecstasy, and PCP. The penalties for possessing less than one gram of Penalty Group 2 substances are between 180 to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Possession of four to 400 grams is considered a second-degree felony carrying a penalty of five to 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Penalty Group 2-A substances include chemical compounds similar to cannabinoids, such as Spice and K2. 

Penalty Group 3

Benzodiazepines, sedatives like Valium, anabolic steroids, Ritalin, and other opioids are not listed in Penalty Group 1 in Penalty Group 3. Prescription drugs that have a depressant or stimulant effect and those with the potential for abuse are also included in Penalty Group 3. The penalties for a conviction of possession of a substance in Penalty Group 3 include up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000 for possession. 

Penalty Groups 4

Opioids and opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1 are included in Penalty Group 4. This group also contains various chemical compounds and prescription medications that have the potential for abuse. The penalties for this group are similar to those of Penalty Group 3.


Texas classifies marijuana and cannabis products as belonging to a separate category. The penalties for marijuana possession are not as severe as other categories but can include jail time, fines, and a criminal record.

Charged With a Drug Crime in Dallas, Fort Worth, or Plano, Texas? We Can Help

If you have been charged with a drug crime, it is important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Contact Abel Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation. 

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office