Marijuana is referred to in the Texas Controlled Substances Act found in Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code as “marihuana,” but the drug is not classified under any Penalty Group. It nonetheless remains a controlled substance for which it is illegal to possess any amount. 

While a smaller amount of possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense, certain amounts can lead to felony charges. A conviction for any marijuana-related crime can have a multitude of long-term consequences.

Possession of Marijuana Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, Southlake, TX

Were you or your loved one arrested for marijuana possession in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, or Southlake, TX? Prosecutors expect guilty pleas in these cases but you may be able to fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed. 

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will aggressively defend you and work to achieve the most favorable possible outcome. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to take advantage of a consultation.

‍Possession of Marijuana Charges in Texas

Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.121 establishes that a person commits “possession of marihuana” when they knowingly or intentionally possess a usable quantity of marijuana. The amount of marijuana allegedly possessed dictates the classification of the crime, with offenses usually being graded as follows:

  • 2 ounces or less — Class B misdemeanor
  • 4 ounces or less but more than 2 ounces — Class A misdemeanor
  • 5 pounds or less but more than 4 ounces — State Jail Felony
  • 50 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds — Third-Degree Felony
  • 2,000 pounds or less but more than 50 pounds — Second-Degree Felony
  • More than 2,000 pounds — First-Degree Felony

Marijuana Possession Penalties in Tarrant County

How your crime was classified will determine the extent of the consequences you face. In general, crimes in Texas are punishable as follows:

  • Class B misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000
  • Class A misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000
  • State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000

People convicted of any offense under the Controlled Substances Act will automatically have their driver’s licenses suspended under Texas Transportation Code § 521.372. The suspension typically lasts 180 days, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will not issue licenses to any convicted individuals who did not hold a valid license at the time of their offenses.

Possession of Marijuana Main

Possession of Marijuana Defenses in Fort Worth

In some cases, an alleged offender may be able to argue that they were not the actual owner of the marijuana involved. Some people may be charged for possession cases involving shared homes or vehicles.

One common factor in many marijuana possession cases concerns how authorities discovered and obtained the marijuana involved. If police used an illegal search and seizure in your case, the drugs could be inadmissible in court and the criminal charges will likely be thrown out.

House Bill 1325 made hemp legal in Texas as long as the THC content is .3 percent or less. THC is the chemical cannabinoid that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects. Hemp has a lower THC content than marijuana, and it is not psychoactive.

Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis sativa plant. However, there are some physical differences between the two plants. Hemp has leaner leaves, while marijuana has bushier leaves. Additionally, hemp plants are typically taller than marijuana plants.

Despite these physical differences, it can be difficult to distinguish between hemp and marijuana with the naked eye. This is because the THC content of a plant can vary depending on the growing conditions. For example, a hemp plant that is grown in a high-THC environment may have a THC content that is higher than .3 percent.

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is responsible for enforcing the state’s hemp laws. The TDA has developed a testing protocol for determining the THC content of hemp plants. However, the TDA has not yet approved any labs to test for THC content. As a result, many local labs have decided not to test for THC concentrations.

This lack of testing has created a challenge for law enforcement officers who are trying to enforce the state’s hemp laws. If an officer stops a vehicle and suspects that the driver is in possession of marijuana, the officer may not be able to determine if the plant is actually hemp or marijuana.

This is where we come in. We specialize in defending clients who have been charged with marijuana-related offenses. We have extensive experience working with the TDA and local law enforcement agencies. We know the law and we know how to challenge the evidence against our clients.

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We will review your case and develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your specific needs.

Our skilled lawyers in Fort Worth know how important it is to keep a marijuana conviction off a person’s record. The direct and collateral consequences of such a conviction can be severe and archaic. 

We have successfully defended hundreds of marijuana cases. Some cases are resolved through diversion, while others are resolved through good old fashioned defense work. Some of our strategies, in appropriate cases, involve:

  • Disputing the evidence: Whether prosecutors have any evidence that the substance is marijuana, and not hemp.
  • Disputing the amount: Whether we are discussing a possession of marijuana case that is a misdemeanor or a felony, the defense has a right to inspect the evidence. In some cases, our inspection involves re-testing evidence to see if the substance is actually marijuana and if it falls within the punishment range the prosecutors are seeking. This may mean the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor, or a ticket and a charge that can send you to jail.
  • Disputing possession: Prosecutors are taught that possession means “care, custody, and control.” They are also taught that possession can be actual or constructive and that two people can possess the same thing at the same time. This all boils down to prosecutors being less than receptive to arguments that a person did not possess drugs, for instance, found in his vehicle. That does not mean juries are not receptive to those arguments.
  • Illegal stops: An officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop you. Sometimes we are able to show that the officer did not have any legal basis to stop you and have the evidence obtained as a result of that stop thrown out.
  • Illegal searches and seizures: Sometimes officers search a vehicle without obtaining consent, probable cause, or a search warrant. In those cases, we file Motions to Suppress to have the evidence thrown out.
  • Bad dog sniffs: While officers are allowed to use canines to sniff cars, there have been many instances where the police officer or dog handler is intentionally or unintentionally telling the dog to alert. It takes time, money, and usually expert testimony to fight this fight, but it is one worth fighting.
  • Prolonged detentions: Officers cannot prolong an otherwise completed stop just to get a drug dog to the scene. In cases involving drug dogs that were not already on site, we see opportunities to attack the evidence and potentially get it thrown out.
  • Chain of custody: If we can show the chain of custody was compromised, there may be a way to win the case. If there was a problem with the first or last link in the chain, the judge may also rule the evidence is inadmissible before we ever get to a jury.
  • Lab and officer issues: If you have been following the news, many labs have run into issues with dry-labbing, reporting errors, loss of accreditation, etc. Did you know that over 6,800 officers have been arrested in the State of Texas? We keep records of officer arrests as well as lab issues so that your case is checked for known bad apples.

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We will review your case and develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your specific needs.

Fort Worth Marijuana Possession Resources

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy — Identified as a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to promoting an honest dialogue about marijuana use and the negative effects of its criminalization and removing penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use, the mission of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy includes allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to safely obtain and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. It also wants to open a safe, legal market where Texas business owners cultivate and sell marijuana to adult consumers with accountability and reasonable oversight. You can learn about coalition partners such as the Texas National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a trans-partisan, educational 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that focuses on cannabis law reform, and Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies.

Texas DPS | Texas Arrest Data — Marijuana accounts for a majority of drug possession and general drug abuse arrests in this 2015 report summarizing Texas arrests. The DPS website also contains data for 2016 and 2017 in Excel files. According to KRWG-TV/FM, 97 percent of marijuana arrests in 2015 were for possession of 2 ounces or less.

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Possession of Marijuana | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you or your loved one were arrested for alleged marijuana possession in Fort Worth or another community in Tarrant County, do not go into court alone. Have an experienced and capable criminal defense lawyer on your side.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will examine your case and identify the strongest possible defense options. We will answer all of your legal questions when you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to set up a consultation.

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