Texas does not classify marijuana (referred to in the Texas Controlled Substances Act found in Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code as “marijuana”) in any Penalty Group, but marijuana is still considered a controlled substance. It is illegal for a person to possess any amount of marijuana in Texas.
Smaller amounts of marijuana will result in misdemeanor offenses, but larger amounts can lead to felony charges. All marijuana possession crimes can have other complicating effects on a person’s life, so it becomes important for an alleged offender to explore all of their legal options.
If you or your loved one were arrested for marijuana possession in Plano, you need to know that the prosecutor handling your case takes the charges seriously and you should too. Make sure you show up in court with a capable attorney.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will provide an aggressive legal defense against the charges you face. We can help you understand all of your legal options when you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.121, a person commits the offense of “possession of marijuana” if they knowingly or intentionally possess a usable quantity of marijuana. Any amount of marijuana whatsoever will usually constitute a usable quantity.
Criminal charges are based on the amount of marijuana allegedly possessed, such that criminal charges for marijuana possession are usually as follows:
● 2 ounces or less — Class B misdemeanor
● 4 ounces or less but more than 2 ounces —Class A misdemeanor
● 5 pounds or less but more than 4 ounces —State Jail Felony
● 50 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds —Third-Degree Felony
● 2,000 pounds or less but more than 50 pounds —Second-Degree Felony
● More than 2,000 pounds — First-Degree Felony
The consequences of a marijuana possession conviction depend on how the alleged crime was classified. Convictions in Texas are generally punishable as follows:
● Class B misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000
● Class A misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000
● State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000
● Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
● Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
● First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000
Texas Transportation Code § 521.372 further establishes that people convicted of any offense under the Controlled Substances Act automatically have their driver’s licenses suspended. A suspension is usually for 180 days, but the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will not issue licenses to any convicted individuals who did not hold a valid license at the time of their offenses.
The first issue that most any attorney will look at is how police discovered the marijuana in your case, as an illegal search and seizure will usually make any evidence inadmissible in your case. You could have a very strong case for illegal search and seizure when the marijuana in your case was discovered through a search of your motor vehicle that you did not consent to.
In other cases, alleged offenders may be able to argue that they were not the owners of the marijuana that was seized. This is a common defense when authorities find marijuana in a home or vehicle shared by multiple people.
Texas DPS | Texas Arrest Data — View this 2015 report summarizing Texas arrests, for which marijuana accounts for a majority of drug possession and general drug abuse arrests. Data for 2016 and 2017 can be found on the DPS website in Excel files. KRWG-TV/FM reported in 2015 that 97 percent of marijuana arrests that year were for possession of 2 ounces or less.
Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy —Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy identifies itself as a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to promoting an honest dialogue about marijuana use and the negative effects of its criminalization and removing penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use. Its mission includes allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to safely obtain and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it, and opening a safe, legal market where Texas business owners cultivate and sell marijuana to adult consumers with accountability and reasonable oversight. Find additional information about coalition partners such as Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies, and Texas National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a trans-partisan, educational 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that focuses on cannabis law reform.
Were you or your loved one arrested for alleged marijuana possession in Plano or some nearby location in Collin County? It will be very important to make sure the first person you speak to your case about is a criminal defense lawyer.