G. Thayer Williamson Your Drug Crime Attorney

What is DFZ? Aka a"Drug Free Zone?"

The most common drug free zone is a school or a playground A school is defined as a public or private elementrary or secondary school, or daycare center.“Playground” is a term that has led to some litigation. The statute provides that a playground is any outdoor facility not on the premises of a school that is intended for recreation, is open to the public, and contains three or more separate apparati intended for the recreation of children, such as slides, swing sets, and teeterboards.“Premises” means the real property and all buildings and appurtenances pertaining to the real property.

Possession of a controlled substance in a drug free zone is defined as being within 1000 feet of public or private elementrary or secondary school, or daycare center. These types of schools are scattered throughout communities in Texas. Now that you know what a drug free zone is, what is the effect of possessing a conftolled substance in a drug free zone? There are two major ramifications. First, possession in a drug free zone acts like an enhancement paragraph. This increases the punishment range one degree. For example, possession of cocaine of more than one once, and less than four ounces is a 3rd degree felony. However, in a DFZ it would be a 2nd degree felony. The second ramification is that a defendant sentenced to the Texas Department of Corrections i.e. the penitentary for posseesion of a controlled substance does not receive ANY good conduct time during the first 5 years of incarceration. Thus, if an individual is sentenced to 5 years TDC, you will serve the entire 5 years. What if you are sentenced to 3 years? You will serve the entire 3 years because you will not accrue ANY good conduct time until you have served at least 5 years. What if you are sentenced to 10 years? That is not an easy question. First, you will serve at least 5 years. After 5 years you will start to accrue good conduct time. In theory, you would be ELIGIBLE (not guarenteed) for parole after you have served 5 years and an additional 20% of the original sentence. In short, it is very unwise to possess or deal controlled substances in a DFZ.

If you have any questions about a criminal case please feel free to contact the Law Office of G. Thayer Williamson. Mr. Williamson has been practicing in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth mentoplex since 2000, and is currently licensed to practice in both Texas state Courts and Federal Courts.