Make no mistake: marijuana is still illegal in Texas, and you will face harsh penalties if convicted of possession or distribution. But if a bill recently introduced in the Texas legislature becomes law next year, Texas may join 19 other states, the District of Columbia, and municipalities across the country in decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot.
Because it is the most common illegal controlled substance, marijuana currently has its own special classification under Texas drug law. The penalties vary widely depending on the amount of marijuana the accused had on his person at the time of arrest and how he intended to use the drug. A charge involving less than two ounces is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. By contrast, a conviction for selling more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana is a first degree felony that can result in a life sentence.
In December, however, Texas State Rep. Joe Moody introduced a bill which provides that adults caught with up to one ounce of marijuana would get a $100 ticket, similar to a parking violation. Larger amounts, though, would still lead to criminal penalties.
Though recent polling suggests that the majority of Texans are in favor of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot, and even in favor of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, it is far from certain that the Republican-controlled legislature will be able to pass such a measure or whether Governor Rick Perry would sign a decriminalization bill if it were to land on his desk.
Until such time as decriminalization becomes the law of the land, facing a marijuana possession charge in Texas remains a frightening matter with potentially harsh consequences if convicted. If you are charged with a Texas marijuana offense, take it seriously and contact an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Mark Diaz – Experienced Houston/Galveston Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced lawyer who focuses exclusively on defending criminal cases and who will aggressively protect your rights. Throughout my career, I have successfully handled every type of criminal defense case. More importantly, criminal defense is the only thing I do. I have witnessed firsthand how a criminal charge can negatively impact every area of a person’s life. As a lawyer, I consider it a privilege to help people during this stressful time in their lives. Call me today at (409) 515-6170 for a free consultation to discuss your case.