Yes, marijuana is illegal in Texas, including possession, production, disruption, and sale. Penalties are harsh, ranging from a class C misdemeanor to a class A felony.
However, a law legalizing hemp in 2019 has led to a reduction in marijuana prosecutions in the state. Many police departments lack the proper equipment to distinguish marijuana from hemp, and although arrests continue to happen, there are more avenues for those accused and their attorneys to lessen or remove their penalties.
Texas is notoriously harsh when it comes to punishing drug crimes, and courts across the state are infamous for tough sentencing. However, as an American citizen, you have a right to fight any allegations of drug crimes brought against you. A drug crime conviction will have serious consequences, so you should employ a criminal defense lawyer who will advocate fiercely on your behalf.
Here at Love DuCote Law Firm, LLC, our team is committed to helping those accused of drug crimes secure a favorable outcome. We will fight to have your charges dropped completely, and if this is not possible, we will fight for the lowest possible punishment and sentencing.
Contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Love DuCote Law Firm, LLC could be the best decision you ever make, so give us a call today at 832-843-1691.
What is Marijuana?
In accordance with the Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002, marijuana is defined as:
- The Cannabis plant.
- The seed of the Cannabis plant.
- Any compound, derivative, or salt of the Cannabis plant or its seeds.
- Any mixture or preparation of the Cannabis plant or its seeds.
Marijuana does not include:
- Sterilized seeds that are unable to germinate.
- Mature stalks or resin of the Cannabis plant.
- Any oil or cake made from the seeds or mature stalks of the Cannabis plant.
- The Hemp plant, which is Cannabis with a THC concentration of less than 0.3% by dry weight.
- Any Hemp products such as oils, seeds, or cakes.
Marijuana Penalties and Offenses in Texas
The Texas Controlled Substances Act defines the criminal offenses associated with Cannabis and their penalties. Potential criminal penalties for marijuana offenses include:
- A Class B Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to 180 days in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
- A Class A Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.
- A State Jail Felony – Punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in prison and a maximum sentence of 2 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A Third Degree Felony – Punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison, a maximum sentence of 10 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A Second Degree Felony – Punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison, a maximum sentence of 20 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A First-Degree Felony – Punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, a maximum sentence of 99 years, and a fine of up to $50,000.
- A Life Felony – Punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $50,000.
It is important to note that the following punishments can increase depending on the amount of marijuana, whether a child was present during the offense, whether the alleged offender had a weapon, or whether they have a criminal record.
You could be charged with possession of marijuana if you knowingly or intentionally possess a usable amount of marijuana. Depending on the amount, this offense carries various penalties:
- Possession of 2 Ounces or Less – A Class B misdemeanor.
- Between 2 and 4 Ounces – A Class A misdemeanor.
- Between 4 and 5 Ounces – A State Jail Felony.
- Between 5 and 50 Pounds – A Third Degree Felony.
- Between 50 and 2000 Pounds – A Second Degree Felony.
- More Than 2000 Pounds – A First Degree Felony.
Marijuana Distribution or Delivery
You may be charged with marijuana distribution or delivery if you knowingly or intentionally deliver marijuana.
- Delivery of 7 Grams or Less as a Gift (No Payment Was Given) – Class B Misdemeanor.
- Sale or Delivery of 7 Grams or Less – Class A Misdemeanor.
- Between 7 Grams and 5 Pounds – A State Jail Felony.
- Between 5 Pounds and 50 Pounds – Second Degree Felony.
- Between 50 Pounds and 2,000 Pounds – First Degree Felony.
- More Than 2,000 Pounds – A Life Felony.
- Selling Any amount of Marijuana to a Child – A Second Degree Felony.
You may be charged with marijuana cultivation if you cultivate or grow marijuana plants.
- 2 Ounces or Less – Class B Misdemeanor.
- Between 2 and 4 Ounces – Class A Misdemeanor.
- Between 4 Ounces and 5 Pounds – State Jail Felony.
- Between 5 and 50 Pounds – A Third Degree Felony.
- Between 50 and 2,000 Pounds – Second Degree Felony.
- More Than 2,000 Pounds – Life Felony.
You could be charged with marijuana trafficking if you knowingly or intentionally actually or constructively transferred marijuana to another person in the following amounts:
- ¼ Ounce or Less as a Gift – Class B Misdemeanor
- Sale of ¼ ounce or Less – Class A Misdemeanor.
- Between ¼ Ounce and 5 Pounds – State Jail Felony.
- Between 5 and 50 Pounds – Second Degree Felony.
- Between 50 and 2,000 Pounds – First Degree Felony.
- More Than 2,000 Pounds – Life Felony.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Texas
Medical marijuana has been proven to provide benefits for people suffering from a range of ailments and illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, seizure disorders, and even terminal cancer. This is why many states have now decriminalized medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, Texas has not, and medical marijuana remains illegal. Physicians can prescribe low-THC medical cannabis oil; however, it must contain less than 0.5% THC, and the medical use is limited to swallowing, not smoking.
Austin May Be Becoming More Tolerant of Marijuana
In 2020 Austin City Council passed a bill to stop ticketing or arresting people for small amounts of marijuana (less than four ounces). This is a major win for advocates of marijuana, and for racial justice.
Studies show that although people of color are no more likely to use marijuana than white people, they are four times more likely to be arrested for doing so than white people.
Although across the state of Texas, marijuana is illegal, Texas does see it as less severe than other drugs such as meth or heroin. However, attitudes towards it and the likelihood of arrest and criminal charges still varies between counties.
The Drawbacks of Using a Public Defender in Texas
In Texas, you have the right to use a public defender or to use an attorney appointed by the court. Many people are tempted by this option, especially if they are innocent.
However, a public defender will have a very full caseload and will not have the time to develop a strategy based on the facts of your case. They often only have time for the fastest or easiest resolution, and so you may end up with an unfavorable result.
Marijuana crimes are serious. They could affect where you can live, what job you can do, and could result in serious fines and time spent in prison. Therefore, choosing the right lawyer is essential, and the decision should not be taken lightly.
What Can a Lawyer at The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Do For You?
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, our criminal defense lawyers are committed to helping people accused of drug crimes in Texas. We will fight tirelessly on your behalf to have your charges dropped or lessened where this is not possible.
Drug charges can lead to serious repercussions, and we will do everything possible to protect your future. Whether you are a student or working professional hoping to safeguard your education or profession, or you are facing serious charges such as trafficking and are fighting to avoid jail, we will fight fiercely on your behalf.
First, we will review all the evidence that the prosecution has against you and look to exploit any weakness. They will need to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt which is a high standard to meet. If we believe that dismissal is unlikely in your case, then we will help you to explore all of the options that could be available such as plea deals and programs to determine what avenue is likely to produce the best outcome.
When you seek representation from our criminal defense law firm, we will assign an attorney to your case. All of our drug crime attorneys have vast knowledge and experience in the criminal justice system in Texas. Each of them is highly experienced in both state and federal courts, so you can rest a little easier knowing that everything possible is being done to protect your future.
We will closely examine your case and assign the most suitable attorney based on their skills and experiences. By tailoring the most suitable person for your case, we give you the best chance of a successful outcome.
Do You Qualify For MMDP?
MMDP is the First Chance Intervention Programme/ Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program. It is a voluntary program that allows offenders in Teas to avoid arrest and criminal charges for crimes related to marijuana.
Your attorney can help you fight for MMDP if you are eligible. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:
- Aged 17 or older.
- Arrested for marijuana possession, qualifying as a Class A or B Misdemeanor (less than 4 ounces).
- Have no warrants pending against you.
- You had sufficient identifying information on you when you were arrested.
- Have no other criminal charges from the same event (other than traffic tickets).
- Not be on bond or probation for another case.
You will not be eligible if:
- You had a weapon on you.
- You had the marijuana in jail.
- There is evidence you are dealing marijuana.
- You had the marijuana in a drug-free zone, such as a school zone.
- You are already part of the MMDP program.
Common Drug Crime Defenses in Texas
Your drug crimes attorney will explore all of the possible defenses to your case depending on what evidence the prosecution holds against you. Some common defenses for drug crimes involving marijuana include:
Illegal Search And Seizure
One of the most common defenses for marijuana crimes is illegal search and seizure. Any evidence used against someone accused of a crime must have been obtained legally; otherwise, it cannot be used.
Law enforcement officers cannot search a home without a valid warrant. Nor can they search a vehicle if they do not have probable cause. Even if they do meet these conditions, they must still follow protocol while they carry out the search.
If your attorney can show that law enforcement did not follow the proper procedures when they obtained the evidence against you, then it is likely that your case will be dismissed.
Police Abuse Of Power
While most police officers do their best to protect us, misconduct remains far too common. Police are under pressure to provide results and this can cause them to abuse their power in order to get an arrest.
If your attorney can find evidence of abuse of power, such as falsifying evidence, coercing a fake confession, or using intimidation tactics, they may be able to fight to have your case dismissed.
What to Do If you are Arrested For a Marijuana Crime in Texas?
If you are arrested for a marijuana crime in Texas, then it can be incredibly scary. However, it is important that you remain calm and do what you can to help your situation. It can be frustrating if you’re not being treated fairly; however, when you go through the proper legal channels, you can protect your rights and give yourself the best possible chance of a favorable outcome in your case.
Be Respectful to Police Officers
You should always be respectful to police officers, even if they are not treating you fairly. If you do not follow their orders, then it could harm your case. On the other hand, if they mistreat you or do not follow proper procedures and you remain respectful, it could benefit the outcome of your case.
Following an arrest, anything you say could be used against you, but you can’t be punished for not saying anything. Therefore, the best thing to do is to stay quiet, that way, you can’t unknowingly say something that harms your case. We recommend you stay quiet until you have spoken to a criminal defense attorney, even if you are innocent.
Contact a Drug Crimes Attorney
Texas legislature is harsh on crimes involving marijuana, and a conviction will have a massive impact on your future. Therefore, you should do everything possible to secure the best possible outcome in your case, and that means speaking with an attorney.
When you contact The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we will get to work quickly to help protect your rights and advise you on your next steps. We will develop an aggressive defense strategy based on the evidence and will advocate on your behalf in court if necessary.
No, recreational marijuana is not legal in Texas, and neither is medical marijuana. Neighbor states have voted to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, but Texas is yet to follow suit.
In Texas, marijuana remains illegal because state law aligns with federal regulations, which still classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug.
The record of the marijuana arrest may be on public record, meaning that anyone who runs background checks, such as employers or landlords, could find it. While an arrest is not the same as a conviction, it could still have negative consequences. An attorney can help you fight to have your arrest record expunged so that it will no longer show up.
There is no guarantee that a conviction will lead to you losing your job, however, it does happen. Most employers have a policy that enables them to immediately terminate an employee if they are convicted of a drug crime. It could also make it very difficult for you to find work in the future, as most employers run background checks. An attorney can help you escape a conviction to protect your future.
It depends on the school, some may issue a suspension or expulsion for a marijuana conviction, while others are more lenient.
Yes. Although not legally required, many landlords or housing corporations do conduct background checks and can refuse housing for a marijuana conviction.
Yes. As marijuana is illegal in Texas, so too are the accessories to it. Paraphernalia such as small plastic bags, pipes, and bongs can get you into nearly as much trouble legally as possessing the substance itself.
Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Marijuana laws in Texas are harsh, and an arrest or conviction could have a devastating effect on your life. At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we will fight tirelessly to protect your future. We will keep you engaged throughout your case and explore all the options available to you so that you can make informed choices. With us by your side, you can rest a little easier knowing that someone who truly cares about your future is fighting aggressively to protect it.
The team at the Love DuCote Law Firm LLC is comprised of experienced criminal defense attorneys and includes a former prosecutor. We boast a long list of happy clients and are confident that we are the right team for your case.