With as little as a few ounces of marijuana, you could end up facing criminal drug possession charges in some areas of Texas. In fact, despite that some cities have lowered the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana, the state of Texas still considers possession of a gram or less to be a felony.
Despite the recent changes in some states, both Texas and the federal government hold the possession of marijuana in any amount to be a crime. Your recent encounter with law enforcement may have you facing drug possession charges that place your future at risk. However, lawmakers in various parts of the state are urging their colleagues to see the benefits of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.
What does the pending bill say?
House Bill 81seeks to reduce the penalties for possessing up to an ounce of pot. If police find a small amount of the drug in your possession, you may receive a citation with a fine of up to $250. Currently, the same incident might earn you jail time and a criminal record.
While this bill does not go as far as legalizing marijuana, it promises to benefit both the offender and the general welfare, for example:
- The state would save tax dollars formerly spent to prosecute and imprison offenders.
- Law enforcement agencies would be able to make more efficient use of their police force and resources.
- Overburdened jails may see relief.
- Young offenders would avoid the serious consequences of a criminal record.
Currently, Austin has a more lenient approach to marijuana possession in small amounts. In Austin, the court will decide on your penalty if you are convicted. With a strong defense strategy on your side, the judge may sentence you to drug awareness classes instead of prison time.
What is going to happen to me?
As more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the number of arrests for possession of large amounts of the drug has declined. Instead, police are focusing on those who may have a small quantity of pot for personal use. It may be common for police to arrest someone for possession of marijuana while side-stepping due process. You may not even realize when law enforcement has violated your rights.
A criminal defense attorney will examine the evidence police have against you and determine whether law enforcement agents violated your Fourth Amendment rights to obtain it. This is only one method your attorney can use to build a strong defense against the charges you face. Having a dedicated advocate on your side will increase your chances of a more positive resolution.