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Houston Marijuana Charge Defense Attorney
In spite of neighboring states passing laws to decriminalize petty marijuana offenses and permit the medical and recreational use of this substance, Texas remains stalwart in its severe marijuana-related policies. In Texas, even minor marijuana infractions can result in jail time and hefty fines. The consequences of these convictions could follow you for life.
As of 2017, possessing two ounces or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor charge with 180 days incarceration and $2,000 in fines. Possessing four ounces to five pounds results in a felony charge, mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in jail, and $10,000 in fines. If charged of any marijuana-related crimes, come to The Law Offices of David A. Breston in Houston for aggressive legal representation.
Possible Defenses Against Marijuana Charges in Texas
As soon as an officer arrests you for marijuana-related crimes, contact our attorneys. You need to develop a plan moving forward to best protect your rights. The penalties for these crimes are severe, and escalate quickly depending on the type and amount of the substance discovered. For example, possession of less than one gram of hash or concentration (any amount) can result in two years in jail and $10,000 in fines. It is even illegal to possess marijuana for medicinal purposes in Texas. In our years of experience, there are a few available defenses we’ve used in marijuana-related cases:
- You did not know you possessed the drug. According to the Texas Controlled Substances Act, a person must knowingly or intentionally possess a usable quantify of marijuana to receive drug possession charges. If you were unaware you had the drug in your possession, you are not guilty.
- You did not possess the drug. If you can prove that you were not actually in possession of the drug, the police cannot find you guilty. For example, if the police found the drug in the glove box of the vehicle you were driving, but you borrowed the car from a friend.
- You did not possess a usable amount of the drug. If you possessed marijuana in a form or amount that is unusable, you may not be guilty of the crime.
Marijuana laws in Texas use very specific language to describe what is and is not legal. Skilled attorneys may be able to use this in a defendant’s favor to prove that the defendant’s conduct did not fulfill all provisions of the state’s laws. If the lawyer cannot convince the courts to drop the charges, he or she can at least strive to reduce penalties through a plea deal.
Medical Necessity Defense
There have been a few documented cases in Texas of defendants successfully using the medical necessity defense. While possessing for medicinal purposes is still technically illegal in Texas, some courts may dismiss or reduce charges if you can prove you used the cannabis to ease symptoms of a serious medical condition or crippling pain. In 2008, a man named Tim Stevens was the first in history to win an acquittal based on the medical necessity defense in Texas. Stevens was HIV-positive and suffered from a related condition, cyclical vomiting syndrome. He found that smoking marijuana helped ease the pain from his conditions.
A defense expert from the Infectious Diseases Bureau gave testimony that detailed the success at treating Stevens’ conditions with marijuana. By preparing an extensive case about the medical benefits of marijuana, the defense won Stevens’ case and received an acquittal of all charges. Note that while this type of defense does have precedence in the Texas courtroom, it is rare and difficult to prove. Retaining the right defense attorney can significantly improve your chances during a criminal marijuana trial in Texas. For a free consultation with experienced lawyers in Houston, contact us.