Many people mistakenly believe that possession of marijuana is a minor offense. While it’s legal in some states, and treated like a traffic ticket in others, Marijuana possession is a criminal charge under Texas law; more importantly, it’s an offense that you can go to jail for, and that can destroy your career, and your plans for the future.
Possession of even a small amount of marijuana (also known as cannabis, weed, pot, or marihuana) is a misdemeanor offense; it’s no different than assault or theft. While a misdemeanor offense is serious enough, it becomes even more serious the more you have. Like most drug offenses, possession of large amounts of marijuana can be a felony, which means it’s something you can go to prison for.
This is something you need to take seriously, and not something you can try to handle on your own. Board certified criminal defense attorney Walter Reaves has been aggressively defending those who have been charged with marijuana offenses in Waco, McLennan, Bell, Bosque, Hill and Falls County for over 35 years.
There is one distinction between marijuana and other drugs; Marijuana is in its own category in the Texas Health and Safety Code. In case you’re wondering, marijuana is defined in the statute as any “Cannabis sativa” plant, whether it is growing or not, the seeds of the plant and any preparation of the plant such as a joint or a package containing dried and shredded buds. Many people are surprised to find that even an extremely small amount can be a crime; the statute prohibits a “useable amount”, which could include loose pot that could be turned into a joint, or put in a pipe.
There’s also another distinction between marijuana and other drugs. Generally, a substance believed to be illegal is sent to a lab for analysis. The Courts have held that police are qualified to identify marijuana simply by virtue of their training and experience. The only reason marijuana is ever sent to a lab is if there’s a large amount, and they want an accurate weight.
Walter Reaves represents defendants accused of marijuana related offenses in Waco and McLennan County, as well as Bell, Bosque, Hill and Falls counties. We have successfully handled cases including:
- Possession of Marijuana
- Trafficking in Marijuana
- Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia
- Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession
- Felony Marijuana Possession
- Cultivation of Marijuana / Grow Houses
- Sale or Distribution of Marijuana
Texas Marijuana Possession – Laws & Penalties
Marijuana possession laws are classified according to the amount of marijuana as follows:
2 ounces or less
Class B misdemeanor
Not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,000
More than 2 ounces, but less than 4 ounces
Class A misdemeanor
Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000
More than 4 ounces, but less than 5 pounds
State jail felony
180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
More than 5 pounds, but less than 50 pounds
2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
More than 50 pounds, but less than 2,000
2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
More than 2,000 pounds
Enhanced first-degree felony
5 to 99 years and a fine of not more than $50,000
There are also serious consequences to a conviction for possession of marijuana, which few people are aware of. One of the most significant is that your driver’s license can be suspended for up to six months following a conviction on any violation of the Texas Controlled Substances Act, including marijuana. A lot of people find this out the hard way, when they receive a notice of suspension in the mail.
If you hold any type of professional license, or hope to apply for one in the future, a conviction for marijuana can be a serious problem. It’s classified as a drug offense, and many organizations treat it no differently than a conviction for cocaine, methamphetamine, or any other drug. That’s why it’s critical to do everything you can to keep this off your record.
If you are not a United States citizen the criminal penalties are the least of your worries. ICE has become much stricter under the new President, and anyone who gets a marijuana charge is subject to removal proceedings. We have seen people receive deferred adjudication, and picked up when they report to their probation officer.
Common Defenses for Possession of Marijuana Charges in McLennan County
An arrest for a marijuana possession does not mean you are guilty. There are many defenses that your attorney may explore to help have your case dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, including:
- Illegal search
- Lack of evidence
- Lack of intent
- Valid alibi
- And other constitutional violations
Even if it’s not possible to have the charge reduced or dismissed, there are still options to keep a conviction off your record, or set you up so you can have it removed from your criminal record in the future. The best thing you can do for you and your family is to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced criminal defense attorney is necessary to fight these charges and help a person avoid the harsh penalties associated with these charges. Walter Reaves has the experience and knowledge needed to help you. He is board certified in both Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law, which is a distinction held by very few criminal defense attorneys. If you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Waco or McLennan County, or Bosque, Hill, Falls or Bell County call Walter Reaves at 254-296-0020, or fill out the contact form on this page.