What is considered a marijuana offense?

arrested on drug possession

What type of crime is marijuana possession?

Any criminal charges can be confusing and scary, even if it isn’t your first time. Navigating the legal process often requires the services of an attorney, to assure the charges are accurate and find the best way to handle them, especially when they are marijuana charges. There are many gray areas when it comes to marijuana possession charges that an experienced criminal attorney will know the best way to navigate the system in favor of the accused. 

It depends on a few factors, with the main factor being the amount of marijuana you were found to be in possession. In the state of Texas, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance. This means that the courts see a0 high potential for a person to abuse the drug that has no recognized medical value. 

So,  is marijuana possession a federal crime? Depending on the amount and the surrounding circumstances. The general breakdown of classification with marijuana charges for possession are handled goes as follows. Depending on surrounding circumstances at the time of arrest, such as possession of a weapon, the presences of a minor, etc., these classifications could change. 

  • Two ounces or less – Class B misdemeanor
  • Two to four ounces – Class A misdemeanor
  • Four ounces to five pounds – Felony marijuana charges
  • Five pounds to fifty pounds – Felony marijuana charges
  • Fifty pounds to Two Thousand pounds – Second Degree 
  • Over Two Thousand pounds – Felony marijuana charge

For marijuana possession for a minor, the classification of charges may vary with the punishment varying.  In Texas, a juvenile with marijuana charges or any drug possession violation, will face the following possible consequences:

  • Drug counseling
  • Probation
  • Diversion
  • Detention            

Do first time drug offenders go to jail?

In Texas, marijuana charges are not a small matter, no matter the amount or if it is a first time charge. More people are arrested in Texas on marijuana charges than any other state every year. When it comes to minors and first time offenders with marijuana charges face the same legal consequences as an adult or repeat offender. However, with the right criminal defense attorney, a minor may have an advantage that will get the penalties reduced.  Examples of some penalties for marijuana charges are: 

The penalties for marijuana charges will vary depending on the amount in possession, the defendant’s criminal history, and the surrounding circumstances at the time of the arrest.  The typical punishments for a  first-time marijuana charges the offender may be face:

  • Class B misdemeanor charge: Jail time up to 180 days with a fine of $2000.
  • Marijuana charges for 4 ounces up to 5 pounds has tougher consequences: Felony charges with state jail time between 180 days to 2 years and a fine of $10,000. 
  • A marijuana charge of possessing over 5 pounds but under 50 pounds: Third degree felony with state prison time of 2 to 10 years and a fine of $10,000.

The state of Texas has classified marijuana separate of other states. So a first time marijuana charge for possession under 1 pound will be given probation, mandatory drug treatment, and if the judge declares, a possible fine. 

With the help of an experienced criminal attorney, minors with marijuana charges of possession and no drug convictions previously may be able to avoid a permanent criminal record. 

What are the types of drug charges?

Under Texas state laws, offenses and punishments for drug possession has drug classes within four groups with marijuana charges in a different group. The groups are broken into Penalty Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4: penalties vary with a  minimum, of “Class B” or “Class A” misdemeanor, punished by 12 months in jail and a fine as much as $4,000, with the drug type determining the penalty level. 

Which drug carries the highest criminal penalties?

There are eight drug substances considered to be a high-traffic drug that have the most severe penalty which are classified as Controlled Substance under schedules I and II. Those eight substances are: 

  • Cocaine Base aka Crack
  • Cocaine Powder
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine 
  • PCP

How do you beat drug charges?

Texas remains when it comes to marijuana charges with penalties ranging from a small fine to months serving time behind bars. The impact of marijuana charges in Texas can be long lasting, including employment ability. Fortunately, with the help of a criminal attorney, there is a chance the outcome of marijuana charges can be better using any of the following defense strategies: 

  • It wasn’t yours:  An excuse too commonly heard in the courts, but with proof, you could avoid conviction. That proof can be provided by text messages and testimony to and from friends or others, video footage, or proof the property where arrest took place was another person’s, or the drugs were planted. 
  • Entrapment: This is a similar defense to planting drugs and may include law enforcement may have coerced someone so they could  make an arrest. This is a complicated defense and should only be presented by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
  • Unlawful Search and Seizure: Law enforcement may abuse the power they have, taking advantage of citizens as they search for drugs. It is important to know your rights and if you don’t, that is what a criminal defense attorney is experienced at knowing. 
  • Substance Not Illegal: A substance that is a white powder isn’t always an illegal substance. It is on the courts to prove the substance in question is  a controlled substance. If they can’t, the charges could be dismissed. 
  • Diversion Program and Rehab: A drug possession charge can be the result of the arrestee’s addiction and a call for help. The prosecutor and judge could show sympathy for a first time charge if the arrestee shows effort in recovery.  
  • Medical Marijuana: Not every person in the state of Texas is going to be allowed to use Medicinal marijuana as a defense.  The Texas Compassionate Use Act is limited to small group that qualifies for a medicinal marijuana defense. 

Should you be faced with marijuana charges, hiring a criminal attorney is the first thing you should do. During your initial conversation and interview with the attorney, be totally honest about your criminal background. Every criminal attorney will do a marijuana possession background check, so being honest at the beginning only makes sense and gets you and your attorney off to a good start. Call today for your marijuana bail bonds needs in Weslaco, TX.