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Glossary of Terms

TYPES OF WARRANTS IN TEXAS

Warrant

A warrant in Texas is defined as a written order issued by a judge that gives law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual or to perform an act of justice in upholding the law. The 4th Amendment to the United States constitution protects us from “unreasonable search and seizure” by the government or a warrant from being issued without probable cause. There are various types of warrants which allow law enforcement to take different types of action. The most common are the ability to arrest a person for a crime or search a premises for evidence of a crime.

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant empowers law enforcement to arrest an individual suspected of a crime. The arrest warrant is a legal document, signed by a judge who has determined that probable cause has been established. Just because you have been arrested doesn’t mean you are guilty. The warrant is issued based on sworn affidavits, which state that the accused most likely committed the crime in question. The arrest warrant must identify the person to be arrested, including name, or other unique characteristics, and describe the crime the person is suspected of committing.

Search Warrant

A search warrant is a judicial court order making it legal for police or law enforcement to search a person's residence, place of work, vehicle, or personal belongings to obtain evidence in relation to a crime. Evidence obtained through a search warrant can be used in a criminal prosecution. A search warrant must clearly state the place to be searched and/or the persons or items to be seized. The types of property for which a search warrant may be issued, are weapons, contraband, drug paraphernalia, and other instrumentalities used to carry out a crime.

Since a search warrant violates a person's right to privacy there must be probable cause to allow a search to be made. A search warrant can only be obtained by police officers submitting an affidavit along with evidence to a judge in the efforts to establish probable cause and that a search will yield evidence related to a crime. If satisfied that the evidence is valid and probable cause is established, the judge or magistrate will issue the search warrant.

Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is issued by the court system if a person is in contempt of court. This means a person didn't appear in court for their scheduled hearing, disobeyed a court subpoena to appear in court, or failed to comply with a court order. If a judge issues a bench warrant in your name it calls for your immediate arrest. Law enforcement has the authority to take you into custody and bring you before a judge to try and resolve the warrant and answer for the crime.

Other instances where a bench warrant may be issued is when an indictment is handed down by a judge. An indictment is a written accusation of a person's guilt for a criminal act and is punishable by law. A bench warrant may also be referred to as a capias warrant or an alias warrant.

Blue Warrant

In Texas, all individuals that complete a minimum prison sentence shall remain under court supervision and placed on parole after release. In order to get parole status, a prisoner must agree to and obey certain conditions set up by the court. These conditions may include gaining employment, community service and meetings with a parole officer. If a parolee in Texas has violated parole, law enforcement issues a blue warrant. The reason it's called a blue warrant is because traditionally, the warrant which calls for the immediate arrest of the violator, is enclosed in a blue jacket.

Essentially, blue warrants are issued when a parolee violates the terms of their parole agreement. A blue warrant may also be issued if a parolee commits another criminal offense, carries a firearm, or doesn't attend scheduled meetings with their parole officer.

If you appear in court to answer for a blue warrant the decision could be to reinstate parole, mandatory residence in a halfway house, intermediate changes to the conditions of parole terms, or parole revocation. The option of parole revocation means the parolee returns to prison to serve out the maximum sentence. There are many reasons parole may be revoked. Individuals who are flight risks, parolees who threatened witnesses and/or court officials, parolees who committed another crime while on parole, or who those are deemed a danger to society because of unsafe behavior while on parole are only a few.

DEFINITIONS: Drug Offenses

The Texas Health & Safety Code (Texas Controlled Substances Act – Chapter 481) is the body of laws defining the various drug penalty groups to which drugs, including controlled substances and marijuana, are assigned.

“POCS” = Possession of a Controlled Substance

Controlled substances are not always illegal—some can be prescribed by a doctor but are illegal without a prescription. Dangerous drugs are substances that are not controlled substances, but are illegal without a prescription—for example, antibiotics. If you use a prescription drug it’s best to make sure the prescription label is present on the container. It isn’t a crime to possess a prescription drug outside of the container, but not all police officers know this.

There are eight categories for controlled substances in the state of Texas: PG1, PG1A, PG2, PG2A, PG3, PG4 (“PG” stands for “Penalty Group,” so “PG2” is “Penalty Group 2)”.

Penalty Group 1 (PG1)

Most commonly Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, GHB, Ketamine, Oxycodone. Check here for Complete list

PENALTY GROUP 1 (PG1)

Penalty Group 1-A (PG1-A)

Most commonly LSD. Check here for Complete list

PENALTY GROUP 1-A (PG1-A)

Penalty Group 1-B (PG1-B)

Consisting of fentanyl, alpha-methylfentanyl, and any other derivative of fentanyl. Check here for Complete list

PENALTY GROUP 1-B (PG1-B)

Penalty Group 2 (PG2)

Most commonly PCP, mescaline, MDMA and tetrahydrocannabinols other than marijuana. Check here for Complete list

PENALTY GROUP 2 (PG2)

Penalty Group 2-A (PG2A)

Most commonly synthetic cannabinoids, otherwise known as “spice.” Check here for Complete list

PENALTY GROUP 2-A (PG2A)

Penalty Group 3 (PG3)

Most commonly Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Alprazolam (Xanax), Pentobarbital, peyote, Lorazepam (Ativan), Diazepam (Valium), and anabolic steroids. Check here for Complete list

PENALTY GROUP 3 (PG3)

Penalty Group 4 (PG4)

Most commonly drugs with small doses of narcotics with other drugs. Nearly all controlled substances found under penalty group 4 have a medical purpose and little risk of dependency. Check here for Complete list

PENALTY GROUP 4 (PG4)

“POM” = Possession of a Marijuana

Section 481.121 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act sets forth the offense of possession of marijuana. A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally possesses a usable quantity of marijuana. Check here for Complete list

“POM” = POSSESSION OF A MARIJUANA

“POM” = POSSESSION OF A MARIJUANA

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia can be any item that can be used in connection with illegal drugs. As a result, ordinary household items such as spoons, and sifters can be illegal to possess depending on the circumstances. Other types of paraphernalia include pipes, scales, baggies, syringes, and drug testing kits. In Texas, possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class C Misdemeanor, the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

Delivery of Marijuana

Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 481.120 defines the punishments for the delivery of marijuana. In Texas, a person commits the offense of delivery of marijuana if the person knowingly or intentionally delivers marijuana.

DELIVERY OF MARIJUANA

Additionally, under Section 481.122 a person commits an offense of delivery of marijuana to a child if the person knowingly delivers marijuana to a person:

  1. who is a child;
  2. who is enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school; or
  3. who the person knows or believes intends to deliver the marijuana to a person described in (1) or (2).

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:

  1. the person was a child when the offense was committed; or
  2. the person (i) was younger than 21 years of age when the offense was committed; (ii) delivered only marijuana in an amount equal to or less than 1/4 ounce; and (iii) did not receive money for the delivery.

DELIVERY OF MARIJUANA 2

“Man/Del CS” = Manufacture and Delivery of a Controlled Substance

The Texas Health and Safety Code, Sections 481.112 through 481.114, dictate the penalties involved with the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. The penalty groups involved are the same as for the possession of a controlled substance, with four main groups and two sub-groups.

Penalty Group 1 (PG1)

Most commonly Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, GHB, Ketamine, Oxycodone. Check here for Complete list

Penalty Group 1-A (PG1-A)

Most commonly LSD. Check here for Complete list

Penalty Group 1 (PG1)- Presence of a Child

Check here for Complete list

If it is shown at the punishment phase of a trial for the manufacture of a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 1 that when the offense was committed a child younger than 18 years of age was present on the premises where the offense was committed:

  1. (1) The State Jail felony and Second-degree felony are increased by one degree;
  2. (2) the minimum term of imprisonment for manufacture and delivery of 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, is increased to 15 years and the maximum fine specified by that section is increased to $150,000; and
  3. (3) the minimum term of imprisonment for manufacture and delivery of 400 grams or more is increased to 20 years and the maximum fine specified by that section is increased to $300,000.

Penalty Group 1-B (PG1-B)

Consisting of fentanyl, alpha-methylfentanyl, and any other derivative of fentanyl. Check here for Complete list

Penalty Group 2 and 2A (PG2 and PG2-A)

Most commonly PCP, mescaline, MDMA and tetrahydrocannabinols other than marijuana. Check here for Complete list

Penalty Group 3 (PG3)

Most commonly Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Alprazolam (Xanax), Pentobarbital, peyote, Lorazepam (Ativan), Diazepam (Valium), and anabolic steroids. Check here for Complete list

Penalty Group 4 (PG4)

Most commonly drugs with small doses of narcotics with other drugs. Nearly all controlled substances found under penalty group 4 have a medical purpose and little risk of dependency. Check here for Complete list

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