Several states have passed laws allowing for the personal possession and consumption of marijuana by adults. This means that a policy has been adopted that creates a legally controlled market where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a legal dispensary. Those states include Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Unfortunately, at the present time, Texas does not have such a law on the books. This means that in Texas, you can still be charged with a crime under various laws and may have to pay a fine or serve jail time if you are convicted.
Possession of marijuana is still a crime in in San Antonio and Bexar County
How much trouble you could be in is determined not only by the circumstances of your case but also by how much marijuana is involved. In Texas, the following thresholds apply:
- Possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $2,000.
- Possession of between 2 and 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year and a fine not to exceed $4,000.
- Possession of between 4 ounces and 5 pounds of marijuana is a felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days imprisonment, a maximum of 2 years imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
- Possession of between 5 pounds and 50 pounds of marijuana is a felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of no less than 2 years imprisonment, a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
- Possession of between 50 pounds and 2,000 pounds of marijuana is a Second Degree felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment, a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
- Possession of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana is a felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, a maximum sentence of 99 years, and a fine of no more than $50,000.
You must mount a possession of marijuana defense if you are arrested
To be convicted on a charge of possession of marijuana, you must meet all four parts of a marijuana crime, which are:
- Knowingly or intentionally
- A quantity of marijuana
- Which is usable
If all four parts cannot be proven, then you can’t be found guilty of possessing marijuana. In addition to attacking each of these points, the most commonly used defense is that a search by law enforcement officials was in violation of the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. While this can be an effective defense, in many cases, it can be difficult to prove because many police officers are trained to understand the standards they are required to follow to conduct a proper search.
Your best bet is to consult with an attorney and based on the facts of your case, mount an effective possession of marijuana defense with together with your attorney.
For more information…NORML, the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has a comprehensive website that will explain many of the laws and current legislation taking place regarding marijuana. You can access the site here.
The Law Office of Derek W. Emmons serves clients in San Antonio and surrounding Texas communities.