Although many states have moved to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, Texas law remains very harsh. It is illegal to possess marijuana in Texas and, if convicted, the penalties for such an offense can include:
- Jail time
- Heavy fines
- Suspension of your driver’s license
If you have been arrested for a Texas marijuana possession charge, you should contact an experienced Houston drug attorney who knows how to aggressively fight drug possession charges. There are several possible defenses to marijuana possession charges and a skilled defense attorney can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Texas Marijuana Possession Charges
Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.121 makes it illegal for a person to knowingly or intentionally possess any usable quantity of marijuana. The law defines possession as actual care, custody, control, or management. Though “usable quantity” is not defined in the statute, Texas courts have ruled that this is more than a mere trace amount. However, there is no definitive measurement for what constitutes a usable amount.
Penalties for a Texas Marijuana Possession Conviction
The range of penalties, and whether you can be charged with a felony or misdemeanor, depend on the amount of marijuana in your possession.
- 2 ounces or less: Class B misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to 180 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000
- Less than four ounces, but more than 2 ounces: Class A misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000
- Less than five pounds, but more than 4 ounces: State jail felony which carries a punishment of 180 days to 2 years in a state jail prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- Less than 50 pounds, but more than 5 pounds: Third-degree felony which carries a punishment of 2 to 10 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- Less than 2,000 pounds, but more than 50 pounds: Second-degree felony which carries a punishment of 2 to 20 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- More than 2,000 pounds: Enhanced first-degree felony which carries a punishment of 5 to 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $50,000
The court will take into account the specific circumstances of the offense and whether it is your first or subsequent drug offense in determining sentencing.
A conviction for a Texas marijuana possession charge means that you will have a permanent criminal record and you could face a suspension of your driver’s license for up to 180 days along with any required community service. You may also be disqualified from receiving federal student loans, lose your job or future employment opportunities and any professional licenses or certificates you may hold.
Possible Defenses to a Texas Marijuana Possession Charge
In order for the state to establish its case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The accused exercised care, control or management of the marijuana, and
- That the accused knew that the substance was in his or her possession
Depending on the facts of your case, it may be possible to present evidence that you lacked sufficient to control or management of the marijuana or that you did not have knowledge that the substance was in your possession.
There may also be circumstances in which law enforcement made mistakes in their investigation. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to search your person, home, vehicle or property, law enforcement will need either probable cause or a search warrant. If an illegal search led to the discovery of marijuana, it may be possible to suppress the evidence collected against you. Additionally, it would be a violation of your constitutional rights if the officer did not read your Miranda rights upon arrest.
Contact a Houston Marijuana Lawyer
If you are facing a Houston marijuana possession charge, it is essential that you obtain counsel right away to determine your legal options. Houston marijuana lawyer attorney Ned Barnett has been representing clients accused of drug crimes for over 25 years and has a successful track record in these types of cases.
As a former state and federal prosecutor, he is uniquely qualified to point out the weaknesses in the state’s case against you. Barnett’s extensive experience in defending clients against drug possession charges gives him and his clients an edge in criminal prosecutions.
Barnett is well-respected in the legal community due to his training and knowledge in criminal defense law and he has also earned an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. He is a skilled trial attorney and was recognized by Super Lawyers as a top rated criminal defense lawyer in 2015. He will work closely with you to develop an effective defense strategy and fight to obtain the best possible result in your marijuana possession case.
Contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett today to learn about your legal options. To schedule a consultation, call (713) 222-6767.