Possession of Marijuana

Possession of Marijuana

Possession of Marijuana in the State of Texas

Given the blurred lines of marijuana possession laws from state to state, it is challenging to know which charges and penalties you are at risk of facing. The possession of marijuana in the state of Texas is still illegal despite other recent state trends. The standard for prosecution is whether there is a “usable quantity” of marijuana. If a “usable quantity” is not found, officers commonly file Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges.

 Texas imposes penalties determinant upon certain factors:

  • Quantity
  • How the drug was concealed or stored
  • Possession of drug with paraphernalia
  • Drugs found with large amounts of money
  • Past convictions/Prior offenses

The lowest level offense of possession of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor (possession of 2oz. or less) which can result in a conviction of up to six months in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, up to two years of probation, and up to a one-year drives license suspension. As the amount of marijuana found increases, the punishment range follows suit – i.e. Possession of 2-4oz. of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor which can result in a year in jail or two years of probation.

 

The Health and Safety Code 481.121

OFFENSE: Possession of Marijuana

 

A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally possesses a usable quantity of marijuana. An offense under the Health and Safety Code 481.121 is:

 

  1. Possession of 2 ounces or less
    • Class B misdemeanor

 

  1. Possession of 4 ounces or less but more than 2 ounces
    • Class A misdemeanor

 

  1. Possession of 5 pounds or less but more than 4 ounces
    • State jail felony

 

  1. Possession of 50 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds
    • Felony of the third degree

 

  1. Possession of 2,000 pounds or less but more than 50 pounds
    • Felony of the second degree

 

  1. Possession exceeding 2,000 pounds
    • Punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years, and a fine not to exceed $50,000

 

When a defendant is not in exclusive possession of the place where a controlled substance is found, the State must prove additional independent facts and circumstances that affirmatively link the defendant to the contraband in such a way that it can be concluded that the defendant had knowledge of the contraband and exercised control over it.

Some examples of Affirmative links include:

  • Accused attempted to escape or flee
  • Accused conducted hand-to-hand drug deals
  • Accused was found with large amounts of cash
  • Accused had relationship with others who had access to place where contraband found
  • Accused had special connection to contraband
  • Accused knew of existence of place where narcotics were secreted
  • Accused made furtive gestures
  • Accused made incriminating statements connecting himself to contraband
  • Accused was observed in suspicious area under suspicious circumstances
  • Accused owned or had right to possess place where contraband found
  • Accused possessed other contraband at time of arrest
  • Accused was present at time of search
  • Accused was driver of vehicle where drugs were placed and had time to terminate possession but did not
  • Accused was driver or owner of automobile where contraband found
  • Accused was under influence of contraband at time of arrest
  • Accused’s conduct indicated consciousness of guilt
  • Conflicting statements by vehicle occupants
  • Contraband found in close proximity and accessible to accused