Possession of a Controlled Substance in a Drug Free School Zone can be a serious offense in the State of Texas. It occurs when the State of Texas alleges that an individual possessed a controlled substance in, on, or within 1,000 ft of a premise (1) owned, rented, or leased by an institution of higher learning, (2) public or private youth center or (3) playground. It can also occur if the controlled substance was possessed in, on, or within 300ft of a public swimming pool or arcade. The reason it can be serious is because the law makers have allowed for Drug Free School Zones to be used as enhancements for punishment. The way this works is that punishment for the possession of a controlled substance in a Drug Free School Zone can now be increased one degree to the next punishment level. For instance, a 3rd degree possession of cocaine 1-4 grams, is now bumped up to a 2nd degree, for punishment sake, if proven that the offense took place in a Drug Free Zone. What would normally be a 2-10 year punishment range, now is enhanced to a 2-20 year punishment range. The same would apply if the possession of cocaine, started out as a 2nd degree felony. It could be enhanced to a first degree felony.
One thing that no one talks about, but absolutely should is that a conviction for an offense that occurred in a Drug Free School Zone, CAN NOT RUN CONCURRENT, with other convictions. What does this mean? This means that if sentenced to time, it CAN NOT run together with other charges. For instance, you go on probation for a Possession of a Controlled Substance in a Drug Free School Zone, and you also go on probation for another felony charge. You, later get revoked on both charges. You would have to do time on each charge separately. By law, they can not run together. Not only that, but the Drug Free School Zone charge has minimum sentences that have to be served before being considered for parole.
You need to make sure you hire an attorney that is aware of these types of charges and enhancements; because, even if given probation, what you plea to can have serious consequences, later on
Drug Free School Zone enhancements are controlled by Section 481.134 of the Controlled Substance Act and the Texas Government Code 508.1459(e).