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Differing Prosecution Standards Across Texas

It is the right of the citizen to travel upon public highways. However, what individuals navigating through Texas in possession of marijuana don’t know is that each county within the State of Texas holds its own standards of prosecution. Having travelled through the entire state, the Law Offices of David Sloane has noticed that the different standards make driving through Texas in possession of cannabis like spinning a roulette wheel. Mile by mile, county by county, each district has certain discretion for standards of prosecution, including but not limited to alternative prosecution programs.

While District Attorneys for Dallas County, Harris County, Bexar County, and Travis County have taken action to end mass incarceration for low level possession of marijuana, other counties have kept a heavy hand in prosecution for marijuana possession.

Our recent story regarding the new prosecution guidelines Tarrant County DA Sharon Wilson has implemented, detailed yet another alternative prosecution program Tarrant County has implemented to keep nonviolent low level offenders out of jail and their records clean. While many may bemoan the fact that Tarrant County has not decriminalized the drug like other major Texas counties, just a few miles south Hood, Parker, and Johnson counties offer no alternative prosecution programs at all.

For example if someone in Fort Worth (Tarrant) is arrested for under two ounces of cannabis they might be able to get clean for a few months and have their charge dismissed and record expunged, while just over 30 minutes south in Granbury (Hood) that same defendant could be instead facing the full 6 months in jail or two years community supervision and collateral consequences that will last a lifetime.

This gradient of punishment exists throughout the state of Texas. If you travel back from Colorado on Highway 287 south with even a small amount of cannabis extract, all you will find on the roads is rattlesnakes and state troopers. A typical disposition for identical marijuana offenses varies from Dallam to Wise County and every county along the trip. Depending on where the individual landed on Texas’ roulette wheel they could be facing anything from a felony punishments, to a reduction of a charge to a misdemeanor, or even being placed on a pre-trial diversion program and have the charge dismissed.

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  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has worked to build coalitions of legal organizations in order to provide a forum for important legal issues.
  • DFW NORML
    The Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of NORML is a grassroots, educational non-profit organization dedicated to fighting cannabis prohibition in the Lone Star State.
  • NORML
    NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.
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    DCDLA a unified front committed to protecting and ensuring, by rule of law, individual rights guaranteed by the Texas and Federal Constitutions in criminal cases.
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • DFW NORML
  • NORML
  • Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

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