Many states are becoming more tolerant of marijuana, especially regarding the possession of a small amount of weed. Despite this, you may have heard you could end up in jail for a tiny amount of the drug in Houston. This may sound strange since neighboring states are more lenient. However, Texas continues to have severe penalties for marijuana possession, and you don’t want to run afoul of the law.
Notably, residents of Texas have been agitating for the decriminalization of the drug. In March 2019, a Texas House committee approved a decriminalization bill. If passed, simple possession would be punishable by a fine only. There would be no jail time and there would be no stain on your criminal record. Whether this law takes effect is yet to be seen. However, many people are hopeful that 2019 will be the year marijuana law reform comes. In the meantime, you should be aware of what the law says.
What Texas Law Says About Marijuana Possession
Possession is defined under the law as the care, custody, control, or management of a drug. You can be found guilty of marijuana possession if the prosecution can prove you knowingly or intentionally possessed it. If you are convicted of having up to two ounces of marijuana, you can spend up to 180 days in jail. You will also have to pay a fine of up to $2,000. If you are found with two to four ounces of marijuana, you can be incarcerated for up to a year. You will also face a maximum fine of $4,000.
Spending time in jail and having to pay out thousands of dollars will have a big impact on your life. To make things worse, you won’t be able to provide for your family while you are incarcerated. That’s why you need to contact a criminal lawyer in Houston if you’ve been charged with marijuana possession. While the amount may be small, the repercussions can be significant. A competent lawyer can help you to mount a defense and get off with the lowest penalty possible. You may be able to escape jail time, especially as a first-time offender.
Defenses to Marijuana Charges in Texas
If you have a good attorney, they may be able to show reasonable doubt about whether you knew you had the marijuana. However, in most circumstances, it will be difficult to maintain your innocence. That’s why most attorneys take a different route when defending clients facing drug charges. They try to poke holes in the prosecution’s case by attacking the way law enforcement officials obtained the drugs.
You may have been caught with the marijuana on your person, in your home or in your vehicle. You may think that you have no defense if you were caught red-handed. However, officers sometimes search a person or their property without having the legal right to do so. When police act outside the law, the evidence they obtain can be challenged in court. It may even get thrown out.
Criminal defense attorneys in Houston know that officers usually need a search warrant based on probable cause. That’s the only way they can search a place where a person is expected to have some level of privacy. There are exceptions but they only apply under certain circumstances. Furthermore, the officers must provide detailed reports and explain why they could not get a judge to sign a warrant. Your attorney will seek to prove that the officers wouldn’t have found the marijuana without the illegal search. The courts usually don’t allow evidence which was obtained illegally. This means the charges against you could be dropped.
Contact a Houston Criminal Attorney at Eddington Worley Today
It may only be a small amount of weed but it can cost you a lot. You can lose your freedom for up to a year and have to pay out up to $4,000. If you’ve been caught in possession of marijuana, you need to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. This is the only way you will get a fair chance in the court. Your criminal defense lawyer at Eddington & Worley will work hard to get you the lowest possible sentence. They may even be able to keep you out of jail depending on the circumstances. Contact our law firm today to schedule your first consultation and let us advise on how to proceed.