By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Just because the police see it one way doesn’t make it so. Marijuana charges in Texas are thrown out by judges and juries on a daily basis. Aggressive legal representation is a must.
The Nuts and Bolts
Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.121 governs possession of Marihuana. That provision states, “a person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally possesses a usable quantity of marihuana.”
Tex.Health&Saftey.C. Section 481.002(26) defines marihuana as “the plant cannibis sativa L., whether growing or not, the seeds of that plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of that plant or its seeds.”
Possession is defined by Tex.Code.Crim.P. 107(39) as “actual care, custody, control, or management.”
Search and Seizure and the Exclusionary Rule
Drug cases will very frequently have search and seizure issues due to how the drugs were attained by law enforcement. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. Voluminous legal cases and treatises are devoted to the topic. The exclusionary rules (Tex.Code.Crim.P. 38.22 and 38.23) prohibit evidence in trial that is attained illegally.
Search and seizure issues alone often decide marihuana and other drug cases because of the exclusionary rule.
Possession of Marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000 and up 180 days in jail for a usable quantity less than 2 ounces.
Between 2 and 4 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a $4,000 fine and a jail sentence not to exceed 1 year.
Between 4 and 5 ounces is a State Jail Felony punishable between 180 days and 2 years of State Jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Between 5 and 50 pounds of marijuana is a 3rd Degree Felony punishable between 2 and 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Between 50 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana is a 2nd Degree Felony punishable between 2 and 20 years of prison and a $10,000 fine.
Over 2,000 pounds is a 1st Degree felony punishable by life in prison or between 5 and 99 years in prison.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice for any specific case you should consult an attorney.