If you or a loved one has been arrested for alleged marijuana crimes in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, or other nearby areas in Texas, you are facing serious charges with significant consequences. Marijuana is a Schedule-I controlled substance in the state of Texas, making it illegal to possess, buy, sell, use, grow, or transport.
At the Law Office of Brian J. Newman, we have the legal expertise to handle all manner of marijuana cases in Texas and have extensive experience with the local Fort Worth Area court processes. Call us today at 817-231-0023 for a free legal consultation, and we can assist you in winning the best possible outcome to your case.
In addition to availing yourself of a top marijuana defense attorney like Brian J. Newman, it will also be to your benefit to learn all you can about the Texas' marijuana laws, which is why we have provided the information below:
The Status of Marijuana in Texas
Although a very limited use of marijuana plant products for those suffering from extreme forms of epilepsy untreatable by traditional medications is scheduled for licensing by mid-2017, marijuana is otherwise 100% illegal in the state of Texas.
Possession of even the smallest quantity of marijuana or marijuana derived or containing products can lead to arrest and relatively steep sentencing.
How various marijuana crimes are punished in Texas is outlined for you briefly below:
Possession of Marijuana
Possible punishments for marijuana possession in Texas include:
- For possession of less than two ounces (a Class B misdemeanor), up to 180 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.
- Possession of from two ounces to five pounds (a Class A misdemeanor) can get you a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
- Possession of more than five pounds could result in 2 to 10 years in state prison and a fine of $10,000 or more.
- Possession of hash oil or other concentrated forms of marijuana is a felony in Texas, punishable by 2 years or more in state prison.
In cases of small-quantity possession, however, you can likely get probation instead of jail time, and after completing a drug treatment program, get the charges dismissed instead of permanently on your record. In almost all cases, a six month suspension of your driver's license will follow a conviction. A good marijuana defense lawyer can often get your sentence minimized or even get the charges dropped.
Sale of Marijuana
The sale of marijuana is treated even more harshly than mere possession. It is punished as follows:
- Sale of even a quarter-ounce can result in 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- Selling five pounds or more of marijuana is a 3rd-degree felony in Texas and can get you from 2 to 99 years in prison with fines of from $10,000 to $100,000, depending on the circumstances of the case.
- Selling even the tiniest amount to a minor is also a 3rd-degree felony, and 2 to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine can result.
Other Marijuana Crimes in Texas
Three other common marijuana-related charges to be aware of are as follows:
- Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in Texas and is treated like any other case of drugged driving. Unlike the .08 rule for alcohol, any marijuana at all detected in a blood/urine test can establish a DUI. A first-time offense can bring up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, up to 100 hours of community service, and a one-year loss of driving privileges.
- Cultivation of marijuana is treated in Texas as a special instance of marijuana possession and punished in the same manner. Knowingly being the owner of a "grow house" is considered equivalent to marijuana cultivation.
- Marijuana (drug) paraphernalia possession carries a maximum fine of $500 but without a jail term. Sale of paraphernalia can bring a one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $4,000.
Texas Marijuana Defense
The elements of the crime that prosecutors must prove to gain a marijuana possession conviction are as follows:
- You did in fact possess on your person or under your control, though in your home, a car, or other location, a quantity of the drug marijuana.
- You were aware that you possessed it and did so illegally and intentionally.
- The amount possessed, though perhaps very small, was at least "usable."
Many assume that they cannot successfully defend themselves against a marijuana possession charge, but in fact, strategies exist that succeed in the courtroom every day. Five of the most common defense strategies are:
- You didn't know you had marijuana in your possession. Perhaps, it was planted on you by someone else. It may also have been planted in your car, at your home, or among your personal possessions.
- It was not marijuana that you possessed but a similar-looking substance. It was simply a case of mistaken identification that a lab test will clear up.
- You did not possess marijuana per se, since it was someone else's marijuana. It was not planted on your property, but it may have been say, brought into your car by a friend. You may or may not have been aware he brought it. A jury trial will likely need to decide if this counts as possession or not.
- The quantity of marijuana possessed was not usable. It may have been only mere traces of the drug. Even a single gram can result in a conviction, but sometimes, there may have been even less than a gram.
- The marijuana was found in an illegal search/seizure. If you were stopped and searched without probable cause, without being read your Miranda Rights, or your rights were otherwise violated, a good attorney can uncover this fact and get the evidence against you declared inadmissible.
Even if you cannot win your case outright or get the charges/sentence reduced on other grounds, it is possible you will qualify for a Tarrant County drug diversion program, which is intended to "divert" relatively minor drug offenders away from an already-crowded jail/prison system and to give eligible offenders a chance at getting their charges dismissed after completing the program. If the program is not successfully completed, however, the original sentence will have to be served, since you must first plead guilty in order to enroll in a drug diversion program.
The available drug diversion programs in Tarrant County, TX, are as follows:
- DIRECT (Drug Impact Rehabilitation Enhanced Comprehensive Treatment): This a drug-court program for non-violent drug offenders who have two or fewer criminal convictions and who are willing to submit to a rehab regimen, random urine tests, and other conditions. It is possible to avoid incarceration and shorten your probation through this program.
- DPP (Deferred Prosecution Program): This program is for offenders ages 17 to 24 who were never before convicted of a Class B Misdemeanor or higher and willing to submit to supervision. It can keep a criminal conviction off of your record.
- First Offender Drug Program: This is much like DPP but is for first-time offenders of any age who are guilty of possessing 4 ounces or less of an illegal drug.
- RISE (Reaching Independence through Self-Empowerment): This program focuses on women with a history of prostitution or similar offenses who also have drug addiction. It is designed to help them escape addiction, avail themselves of education and employment, and live a "healthy, productive life."
- Veteran's Court Diversion Program: This program helps veteran's facing criminal, including drug-related charges, get treatment for any service-caused injuries/conditions that contributed to their committing the crime in question.
Contact Us Today for Help
Brian J. Newman has many years of experience defending people accused of marijuana possession, sale, and related offenses in the City of Ft. Worth, in Tarrant County, and in surrounding areas. He has deep knowledge of Texas marijuana law and knows how to win your case.
If you or a loved are facing the serious consequences that come with a marijuana crimes conviction, contact the Law Office of Brian J. Newman 24/7 by calling 817-231-0023 for a free legal consultation and immediate attention to your case.