Marijuana consumption has increased dramatically over the past decade. In fact, nearly 25 million Americans reported using the drug in 2016. Marijuana remains illegal in Texas for recreational and medical use. But with the increase in consumption has come the increase in arrests for possession.
In some regions of Texas you will be given a ticket for possession of small amounts of the drugs, but in others, you will be sent to jail. Marijuana possession can be charged as both a misdemeanor and a felony. This means you could spend time behind bars and be required to pay hefty fines.
Texas Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney
Were you arrested for possession of marijuana in North-Central Texas? David Sloane is a sought-after and highly respected attorney with over 20 years of experience defending clients accused of marijuana crimes.
David Sloane understands this may be your first run-in with the Texas Criminal Justice System, which is why he wants to help. Schedule a time to speak with Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC. Call (817) 810-0088 or submit your information in the online contact form. David Sloane can answer any questions you have and advise you on the best course of action.
Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC defends those accused of marijuana crimes in counties in North-Central Texas such as Dallas County, Tarrant County, Gray County, Wheeler County and Armstrong County.
- Texas’ Marijuana Laws
- What are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Texas?
- Possession of Edibles and Concentrates
- Dallas County Marijuana Cite and Release
- Tarrant County FODP Program
- Additional Resources
Texas’ Marijuana Laws
Marijuana laws may be more relaxed across the United States, but the drug remains illegal in Texas. According to the Texas Controlled Substance Act, knowingly possessing any amount of marijuana in the state is illegal.
Marijuana is not classified within any of the six penalty groups. Instead, the drug is classified within it’s own group in the Texas Controlled Substance Act. This means possession of marijuana may not be as heavily penalized as possessing other drugs.
To be charged with marijuana possession you must be found in actual or constructive possession of the drug. Actual possession means the drug was found on your actual person. This can include having the drug in your pocket or hands.
Constructive possession, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. This form of possession does not involve the drug being in your physical possession, but you know where it is and have exclusive control over it. This can include having the marijuana in your glove box or under a seat in your car.
Penalty for Marijuana Possession in Texas
Until Texas’ attitude towards marijuana shifts, possession of even the smallest amount of the drug will continue to be heavily penalized. How you are charged for possession will depend on the amount found on your person
Listed below are the penalties for possession of marijuana in Texas.
Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession in Texas
Although marijuana has become more prevalent in American culture, the state of Texas has still not decriminalized it. Possessing any trace amount of marijuana unlawfully in Texas is considered a misdemeanor under the Penal Code. That means you could have less than a gram of marijuana or even less and still face criminal charges.
Possessing two ounces or less of marijuana will result in a class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Having more than two ounces on you but less than 4 ounces will result in a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine that cannot exceed $4,000. In addition to these already restrictive penalties, you could also be required to attend a substance abuse evaluation and participate in addiction treatment if the judge requires is.
Felony Marijuana Possession in Texas
Possession of any drug, especially marijuana, is normally a nonviolent crime and will result in a misdemeanor. Unfortunately, in Texas you could face felony charges for simply possessing cannabis. Possessing more than four ounces but less than five pounds is a state jail felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you were found with more than five pounds of cannabis but less than 50, then you’ll face a third-degree felony. The maximum sentence a person can receive for a third-degree felony in Texas is up to 10 years in prison and an a fine of up to $10,000. Prosecutors could charge you with a second-degree felony if you possessed more than 50 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana. A conviction for a second-degree felony could result in up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Possessing more than 2,000 pounds of cannabis is an automatic life felony which can result in up to 99 years in prison and an extraordinary fine of up to $50,000.
Unfortunately, the consequences of a felony conviction don’t stop once you finish sentencing. Often released felons have issues obtaining employment or housing because they have a criminal record. Having an arrest, charge, or conviction on your record could prohibit you from obtaining your desired profession, affect your ability to obtain federal loans, hinder your educational efforts, or hurt your future housing opportunities.
Possession of Edibles and Concentrates
Marijuana edibles and concentrates such as oil and dabs are more harshly penalized than possession of the plant’s buds. THC concentrates and edible are linked in the same group since the foods are infused with the concentrates. Because THC concentrates and edibles produce a more potent high, possession of less than one gram is a felony in Texas.
The Texas Health and Safety Code holds an individual responsible for the total weight of the substance, including marijuana adulterants and dilatants (edibles and concentrates). Listed below are the possible penalties for possession of THC concentrates and edibles.
- Less than 1 gram: State jail felony punishable by two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000
- More than 1 gram but less than 4 grams: Third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- More than 4 grams but less than 400 grams: Second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- More than 400 grams: First-degree felony punishable by five years to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $50,000
Dallas County Marijuana Cite and Release
According to a report from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, nearly 64,000 people were arrested in 2016 for marijuana possession in Texas. Dallas County realized too many people who were causing no harm to society were filing up the county jail and wasting the resources of the Dallas Police Department.
To combat this issue, Dallas County began citing and releasing residents found in possession of four ounces or less of marijuana. Assuming no other crimes were committed, you won’t spend the night in jail or have your car impounded. Instead, the officer will confiscate the drugs and write you a citation.
You will be required to attend two court dates. As long as you appear in court, you will not be arrested. First-time offenders will be eligible for a diversion program that includes probation, community services and drug classes. When the program is complete, the charges may be eligible for dismissal.
The penalties for possession remain. Just because you were not arrested when police found you in possession does not mean you won’t have to spend time behind bars for the offense. For those caught with pot outside Dallas County, the old rules still apply. You will be arrested and booked in a local jail.
Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program
Marijuana possession is a frequent charge among first-time offenders as cannabis is a relatively common drug. That is why Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office has created the First Offender Drug Program (FODP) in an effort to rehabilitate first-time offenders with a diversion program rather than sentence them to jail or prison. According to the program’s brochure, the FODP program is designed to be minimalistic and states that:
- It offers non-violent offender an opportunity to address and correct their mistakes;
- Participants will require minimal supervision;
- Program participants must enter a plea of guilty to enter the program;
- The judge will then accept the plea and postpone sentencing pending completion of the FODP program;
- The program consists of both misdemeanors and a felony track for participants;
- Both tracks will require random drug testing, hair testing, check ins with a case manager, as well as a drug education or life skills class; and
- Once the program is complete, the participant can then withdraw their plea and the DA will dismiss the case completely. Failure to complete the program will force the judge to proceed with sentencing from the original plea.
First-time offenders charged with the following offenses are eligible for FODP:
- Possession of a controlled substance;
- Possession of marijuana;
- Possession of marijuana in a drug free zone;
- Possession of a controlled substance in a drug free zone;
- Forging or altering a prescription;
- Possession of a dangerous drug; or
- Diversion of a controlled substance.
Additional Resources for Marijuana Possession
COVID-19 Restrictions for Dallas County Court – Visit the official website for the Dallas County Court to learn more about their plans and current/upcoming restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Access the site to learn the general plan for reopening the courts, what each courtroom is required to have to prevent the spread of COVID-19, mask requirements, social distancing procedures, and other relevant information.
Tarrant County Court COVID-19 Guidelines – Visit the official website for Tarrant County to learn more about the upcoming restrictions in relation to COVID-19 for the courts. Access the site to read their guide to how all upcoming court proceedings will proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn the plans for reopening the court, social distancing guidelines, hyenine requirements, screenings of all individuals in the court, and what face coverings are required
Texas Controlled Substance Act – Follow the link to read through the act governing marijuana possession in Texas. You can find a list of drugs listed in the same penalty group as marijuana and the penalties for possession. You can also learn about other marijuana crimes such as marijuana delivery and delivery to a child.
Dallas County Cite and Release – Read through a briefing over Dallas County cite and release. You can learn about the goals of the program, how the process works and what happens if you fail to appear.
Marijuana Possession Defense Lawyer in Texas
Possession of even the smallest amounts of marijuana can land you behind bars. Don’t let this happen to you. Contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC to begin your defense for marijuana possession. David Sloane will listen to your story and formulate a defense plan in your best interest.
Exercise your right to legal counsel and contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC today. Call (817) 810-0088 or submit your information in the contact form to schedule a free consultation. Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC defends those accused of marijuana crimes in counties across North-Central Texas including Dallas County, Tarrant County, Carson County, Donley County and Childress County.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.