The state of Texas has some of the harshest penalties for marijuana-related crimes in the entire nation. Every year, there are thousands of individuals who are found guilty of possession of marijuana. In 2015, over half of all drug-related arrests in the Lone Star State involved marijuana. Many states in the country have legalized or decriminalized this plant, but possessing it in Texas can still land you in trouble.
Depending on the amount of marijuana the individual is found possessing, this type of charge is typically classified as a Class B or Class A misdemeanor. However, if the alleged offender possessing a “bulk amount” of the plant, they may be subject to felony charges. In many cases, law enforcement will accuse the alleged offender of selling or growing the planet, causing the individual to face additional charges that may put them in prison for years.
Being charged with possession of marijuana or another marijuana-related offense in Texas can carry life-altering penalties. If you are facing charges, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney right away. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can help you build a defense and fight your charges if you are trying to stop this predicament from ruining your life.
Our lawyers have decades of experience working with Texans and their drug-related criminal charges. Possession of marijuana is a charge we are extremely familiar with, and we thoroughly understand the consequences that can follow a wrongful conviction. Led by Richard C. McConathy, our law firm is ready and willing to work with you to ensure you have a quality defense that has a great chance at delivering a favorable outcome. For more information on how we can help you, call us at 940-222-8004 for a free consultation.
● Definition of Possession of Marijuana
● Penalties of Possession of Marijuana
● Resources for Possession of Marijuana in Texas
Section 481.121 of the Texas Health and Safety Code states that an individual can be charged with possession of marijuana if they are found knowingly or intentionally possessing any usable amount of marijuana. This should not be confused with Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD. While CBD is an active ingredient in cannabis, when it is packaged and sold by itself it carries different laws than marijuana. As long as CBD products are derived from the hemp plant and contain less than 0.3 percent of THC, they are legal in the state of Texas.
Once an individual is charged with possession of marijuana, like any other criminal trial, the prosecution bears the burden of proof. Prosecuting attorneys must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the defendant was either in actual possession or constructive possession of marijuana. Actual possession takes place when an individual has any amount of usable marijuana located on their person.
Constructive possession is a bit different and much harder to prove. If an individual was knowingly in the presence of marijuana, had intentions of taking possession of the substance, or had the physical capacity to take possession of the substance, they could potentially be charged with constructive possession. In other words, a person is guilty of this if they are found with the plant in their pocket, backpack, or vehicle. To clarify a bit, a person may be charged with constructive possession if they did not have any marijuana in their pocket or purse, but they were found at a friend’s house where marijuana is present and readily accessible.
The penalties of being convicted of possession of marijuana are largely dependent on the amount of marijuana the alleged offender is accused of possessing. Because of this, it is important to know the different levels of misdemeanor and felony charges one can face upon being convicted of this crime.
If an individual is found possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana, they will typically be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. This carries penalties of a maximum 180-day jail sentence alongside a fine that is not to exceed $2,000. If an alleged offender is found in possession of 2 to 4 ounces, their charge will be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to a 1-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $4,000.
Possessing an amount of marijuana that exceeds two ounces can lead to felony charges. If an individual is found in possession of an amount that is equal to or greater than two ounces, but equal to or less than 5 pounds, their charge will be classified as a state felony, which carries penalties such as a maximum fine of $10,000, and a prison sentence not to exceed 2 years. They will also be subject to a minimum 180-day prison sentence.
Possessing an amount of marijuana that is between 5 pounds and 50 pounds is classified as a third-degree felony. If convicted of this felony, defendants will be subject to a 2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence (with a maximum of 10 years) and a fine that may not greater than $10,000. Individuals can find themselves facing second-degree felony charges if they are found in possession of an amount of marijuana that is between 50 and 2,000 pounds. A conviction can lead to a mandatory minimum 2-year prison sentence as well as a maximum fine of $10,000.
Lastly, possessing an amount of marijuana that meets or exceeds 2,000 pounds can cause an individual to face first-degree felony charges. If convicted, the alleged offender will be subject to a jail sentence ranging from 5 to 99 years, in addition to a fine not to exceed $50,000.
Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy - This link takes you to the website of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, an organization committed to promoting fact-based dialogue regarding marijuana use. Their mission is to help remove the stigma and penalties associated with adults possessing marijuana for personal use.
Denton County Pre-Trial Diversion Program - Here, you can find more information about the diversionary program in Denton. This information can help individuals who are low-risk, first-offenders attempting to dismiss their cases. Many individuals who seek this program are facing misdemeanor and low-level felony charges such as possession of marijuana or criminal trespass.
Denton County Specialized Treatment Court Programs - This link takes you to the official website of Denton County, where you can find more information about programs put in place to help individuals with DWI and drug-related offenses while reducing the recidivism rates. Here, you can find info about programs such as Mental Health Treatment Court, Veterans Treatment Court, and Denton County Drug Court.
Though the court of public opinion largely changed its stance on cannabis use, the Texas court of law has not. Possession of marijuana in Texas is still a big deal, and this charge can cause a law-abiding citizen to spend valuable time behind bars while being forced to pay expensive court-mandated fines. If you are found with marijuana flower, edibles, THC concentrates, or any other form of cannabis, you will need to contact a defense attorney immediately.
Serving Denton County, Cooke County, Grayson County, Collin County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, Wise County, and many other communities in Texas, The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can help you defend your rights if you are ever accused of being in possession of marijuana. Our law firm has years of experience helping Texans defend their freedom and rights in a court of law, and we are more than capable of leading our clients to favorable outcomes. If you have been charged with this crime, you may be able to avoid a conviction if you have the right legal counsel. Contact our law office at 940-222-8004 for a free consultation.