There is In the state of Texas an area of real property known as a Drug-Free Zone; it is typically within one thousand feet of a school or facility that is used regularly by children. The purpose of these zones is to create an invisible boundary around where children gather to protect them from any drug-related activity or related criminal act within that designated area. If an offense is committed within such an area, the resulting drug charges will include the possibility of increased maximum penalties.
It is a good way for communities to increase safe zones for children; however, it is important in Bryan and College Station Texas to understand the legal workings of such a plan and how to design a drug-free zone.
What is a Drug-Free Zone?
A drug-free zone is a common area within a community that is used primarily by children and students and can include a variety of property types. It could include: day care centers including those within other facilities; public or private elementary and secondary schools; private educational facilities; churches and church schools; public playgrounds; video arcades; youth centers; and other similar locations. Private homes may qualify if used for a legal day care service as well as some child-oriented businesses.
By registering as a qualified DFZ with local jurisdictions in Bryan and College Station TX, a facility gains the benefit of being a location that can be marked with signs announcing its status and may be given more frequent police surveillance. Most signs posted in a valid DFZ also warn that anyone engaging in any behavior associated with illegal substances – including use, purchase, or delivery – will face stiffer regulation, increased drug charges, and increased penalties.
Drug-Free Zone – Qualifications
Because of the cost for local law enforcement agencies to monitor such areas, drug-free zones must be qualified and recorded to hold such a classification. It must meet a number of requirements to show it serves the needs of children and young adults under the age of 18 and is already physically safe. Schools, churches, day care facilities, and other similar places must be legally operated according to all associated laws. Playgrounds, arcades, and other recreational places must include certain types and numbers of equipment such as swings, slides, and pinball or video game machines; they must also be well maintained. Photos must be provided during the application process as well as other, more detailed community requirements.
Drug-Free Zone – Community Benefits
The initial advantage for communities to set up and register a DFZ is to offer greater protection of its most valued asset – its children. Keeping an area safe from physical violence as well as drug-related crimes and anything else that could injure or corrupt children is an important yet challenging job. Yet the effort is so well rewarded with the creation and availability of places where parents can know their children are safe, that possible criminal offenders have been warned to stay away. Since the penalties for drug charges are harsher in these zones, it sends a clear message for offenders to take such illegal activities elsewhere.
These designated zones provide a stronger basis to prosecute offenders. It increases the likelihood of drug charges being filed and penalties being increased – which hopefully causes potential offenders to reconsider taking such a risk. The legal basis for these zones makes charging easier and more standardized – leaving little room for negotiation.
Texas drug-free zones have proven to be very helpful in Bryan and College Station to reduce the exposure faced by a child and a community to such crimes. The threat of increased drug charges for offenders within a DFZ has become a valuable tool in reducing this type of criminal activity as more drug-free zones are established – and is definitely a viable option for concerned communities!