When Possession of Adderall was NOT a Felony in Texas***



Texas Drug Law History & The Texas Health & Safety Code

Texas has had a unique history in classifying substances people consume to alter their consciousness.

The most recent evolution of Texas Drug Law has come in the form of the Penalty Groups outlined in the Texas Health and Safety Code (HSC).  Beginning in 1989, Section 481 established the “Penalty Group,” with most modern changes going into effect by 1997.  No a single legislative session has passed since its inception without lawmakers making from small to sweeping changes.

This section of the HSC divided most drugs of abuse that people consume into “Penalty Groups,” generally determined by the type of drug they are (stimulant, hallucinogenic, depressant, opiate, etc.), and the degree of perceived danger for the substance. Substances have been added as they have gained more widespread use, or have begun to be used to get people high with more regularity.

Pharmaceutical drugs are also fit into the Penalty Group scheme – enter Adderall (Amphetamine / Dextroamphetamine).  Adderall is one of several Central Nervous System stimulant drugs that originally was developed to treat children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  But ask any college or even law school student what else it can be used for – all-nighters, term-papers, or even legal research.  In short, it is a drug that makes you burn a little brighter a little longer.  I mean, it should, since it is fundamentally indistinguishable in its effect from methamphetamine in its mechanism of action on your nervous system (See Neuroscientist: Meth Is Virtually Identical to Adderall—This Is How I Found Out By: Dr. Carl Hart).  The only main difference is that its typical method of administration, is that it is taken orally.  Such “recreational” or off-label use is rampant on campuses nationwide.

Dr. Carl Hart lecturing about how the rate of metabolism is one of the few differences between meth & Adderall:

Texas lawmakers recognized this fact and scheduled the substance accordingly, Schedule 2, the second most serious classification of controlled substances, right along with MDMA (Ecstacy).  What this meant is that possession of any amount of Adderall, even 1 pill, without a prescription, was a a felony.

How Possession of Adderall became a Misdemeanor – Without Anyone Even Noticing

In the last 5-10 years new designer drugs have come onto the market, and Texas lawmakers have scrambled to respond by adding the new substances to the list of chemicals in the Penalty Groups under the HSC.  However because some of the chemicals listed were so broad, an exception to make sure that people with valid prescriptions for some prescription drugs were not prosecuted.

As of September 1, 2015, the new language in sub-section (d) of  Section 481.103 of the statute reads:

“If a substance listed in this section is approved by the Federal Drug Administration, the inclusion of that substance in this penalty group does not apply, and notwithstanding any other law, a person may not be convicted for the manufacture or delivery or possession…[under Penalty Group 2]” .  

Instead these substances are treated as misselaneous substances and piunished under Section 481.119.  Hence, Possession of Adderall without a prescription became a Misdemeanor – not a Felony, overnight.

Why the Law May Change Back 

In short, this was an accident – and reducing the punishment for adderall and Vyvanse was an unintended consequence of the change to the law.  It wasn’t something that anybody caught during the legislative process.  In July the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, as well as the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association sent a notice to members explaining what happened.  Prosecutors all over Texas have begun reviewing cases and are changing charging protocols, and even reviewing past cases because many Defendants were sentenced under the old law.  Legislators are already cooking up a new law that will likely pass during the next legislative session to return illegal possession of the drug to a felony.

Until then, its just a Class B Misdemeanor to Possess Adderall or Vyvanse in the state of Texas.



If you are accused of any drug crime, including Possession of Adderall (Amphetamine / Dexamphetamine)

(including possession of a Controlled Substance)

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500.



Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

Tristan LeGrande – LeGrande Law

Another Pot-Brownie Blunder Leads to Arrest

A Maryland high school student was arrested after sharing a marijuana infused brownie with his teacher.  She obviously could not hang (not to mention she had no idea she was high) and was taken to the nurse’s office after she reported feeling aaapotbrownieill and acting disoriented.  From there, an ambulance was called. The student admitted to giving his teacher a piece of the brownie; reports claim he confirmed marijuana was in his special confections.

Reports claim the students story is that he didn’t inform her that it was a marijuana-infused edible because he was “scared and panicked.”

Student Will Face Two Charges for His Culinary Caper

Interestingly, Maryland is a jurisdiction which has decriminalized possession of small amounts (less than 10 grams) of marijuana.

His Charges? 

(1) Administering and distributing the marijuana to his teacher and his girlfriend.

He could face up to five years in prison for just these drug charges.

(2) Assault and Reckless Endangerment

Under Maryland law, a person may be found guilty of 2nd degree Misdemeanor Assault by intentionally causing “any impairment of physical condition” to another person. I suppose it could be argued this would include getting your teacher baked on weed-brownies.

Reckless endangerment requires that a person “engage in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another.” This seems like a real stretch, I can’t see a jury thinking getting a little high is a serious physical injury.

All charges filed against the teen were juvenile citations, meaning he and his family will be working out the charges in Juvenile Court.  In Texas, he would be tried as an adult (17 is an adult under Texas law).


If you’ve been accused of an offense involving Marijuana (including possession of Marijuana)

or any drug crime,  contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500.



Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

So I Got Arrested, Now What Happens?


The Most obvious answer is of course, the metal bracelets are squeezed down tight onto your wrists and you take the long ride to one of the many local “bars & locks motels” around town.  BUT THEN WHAT?


First you will be booked into the jail.  This includes taking a booking photo, fingerprinting, and evaluating your mental state to see if you need specialized or segregated detention.  A final warrant check is done to see if you have any holds from other counties in Texas, felony out of state warrants, or Federal warrants.

Bond Out or Magistrate Presentment

Depending on many things (among them how crowded the jail is that night and what staff happen to be working), you will get to make the infamous one-phone-call.  At this point you want to call someone that will find you a bondsman, or a bondsman directly.  They make money off of people in your situation and they want your business, any number of them would be glad to assist you in getting out of the clink.

If you do not bond out, you will be presented before a magistrate, usually within 12 hours (although it can take somewhat longer due to the factors I listed earlier).  The magistrate will read the charges against you, the probable cause for your arrest, and detail the potential range of punishment.


After you bond out you will be given a court date.  Depending on the size of the county and the way that they handle their dockets (and, again, those factors I listed above), this will be anywhere from within a week to 6 weeks or so.

If you are charged with committing a Misdemeanor, your case will be presented to one of the District Attorneys of the County and if they accept the charges, you will be charged by Misdemeanor Information.

If you are charged with a Felony, your case will be presented to a Grand Jury that will decide if there is probable cause to believe the offense you are suspected of committing.  In some situations, your attorney may present a grand jury packet.  Basically this is information that your attorney wants the Grand Jury to review in deciding whether or not you will be charged with the crime.  In other situations, your attorney may waive indictment.

If you do not bond out, the same process occurs.  The only difference being that you will wait it out from within the jail.

Retaining Counsel

At your arraignment the court will read over the charges against you, inform you of the range of punishment, take your plea, and ask if you have retained an attorney.  This will be a repeat of what you have already heard if you did not bond out within the first day after you were arrested; the judge will again go over the same information the magistrate did at that time.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you will be appointed one immediately if you are still in jail on your arraignment date.  If you are on bond, the procedure for obtaining a court appointed lawyer varies from court to court.  Some Judges will ask you questions about your financial situation on the spot and assess whether they think you are truly indigent and in need of appointed representation.  Others will tell you they will reset your case, and want you to contact 4 or 5 attorneys and come back with their names, numbers, prices, and why you can’t afford it.  Still others will send you to fill out paperwork for appointed counsel immediately after you assert your need for appointed counsel.


Once you have an attorney, your attorney will engage in the discovery process along with the District Attorney handling your case.  This a critical point in the process, and can include discovery requests, hiring investigators, reviewing evidence (including video or audio recordings), interviewing witnesses, and issuing subpoenas, etc.

Making a Deal or Going to Trial

After discovery is complete (or mostly complete), your attorney will bring any plea offers from the state to you, and the two of you will make the decision to accept a plea, or set the case for a trial by judge or by jury.

If you are charged with a crime –


If you are accused of ANY CRIMINAL OFFENSE it is crucial to have

An aggressive criminal defense attorney in your corner.

You need someone that will fight for your rights.

You need a tenacious lawyer that will put the state to their burden.

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande IMMEDIATELY by calling 281-684-3500.



Houston Criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande