Marijuana is one of the most commonly used controlled substances in Texas despite its illegality. Numerous people who are either residents of the state or intended visitors tend to have multiple questions about its lawfulness.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy presents this page as an opportunity to address a few of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about marijuana crimes in the Lone Star State. Marijuana cases are extremely common and people should not immediately panic after a marijuana arrest as there can often be defenses available to most people.
If you or your loved one were recently arrested for an alleged marijuana offense in Irving, Dallas, Garland, or another area in Dallas County, you will want to act quickly to retain legal counsel. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy defends people accused of all kinds of marijuana crimes in North Texas.
Our firm can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome in your case. Call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online right now to have us review your case and talk about what options you might have during a free consultation.
Q. Is marijuana illegal in Texas?
A. Yes, marijuana remains illegal in Texas, although a law legalizing hemp in 2019 led to marijuana prosecutions in Texas plummeting by more than half in the six months after the law was enacted. While many police departments lack the equipment needed to determine the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in alleged marijuana to distinguish it from hemp, it remains likely that law enforcement will continue to arrest individuals for alleged marijuana possession offenses.
Q. What penalties could I face for marijuana use, possession, trafficking, or sale?
A. The possible disciplinary measures of a court in a marijuana case will depend on multiple factors, largely the amount of marijuana that was allegedly possessed. A person’s prior criminal record could also impact penalties in marijauana cases. In general, the most common kinds of penalties are usually fines and imprisonment, but additional penalties could include driver’s license suspensions and other punishments.
Q. Under Texas law, what are the factors that can lead to an arrest?
A. Police officers can arrest individuals who they believe were in knowing possession of marijuana, and possession may be actual or constructive. Actual possession is when marijuana is found on the person of an individual, whether it is in their pocket or their hands. Constructive possession means that a person could be accused of possession when marijuana is found in an area accessible to multiple people.
Q. How will a marijuana arrest affect my life?
A. The record of the arrest could be public and be available to many people who perform background checks. While an arrest is not the same as a conviction, it can still appear on a criminal record and have possible negative complications for employment applications or college-related efforts.
Q. What are some of the most effective defenses to a marijuana arrest?
A. Many marijuana cases are thrown out when police officers violate the rights of alleged offenders in their encounters with them. An unlawful search and seizure is one of the most common defenses against any drug charge because when police seize evidence unlawfully, it is prohibited from being used as evidence by a prosecutor and they are subsequently left without anything to pursue a case with.
Q. What can a Dallas criminal defense attorney do to defend my case?
A. A lawyer is immediately going to be able to conduct their own investigation into the arrest and determine the strongest possible defenses in your case. The attorney will know what kinds of evidence to seek out and how to use certain elements to your advantage. When you have a lawyer, they will also be more comfortable negotiating with a prosecutor to achieve a reduction in or dismissal of criminal charges.
Q. If my case goes to court, what are the factors that can lead to an acquittal or “not guilty” verdict?
A. A prosecutor must prove your guilt for any marijuana crime beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an exceptionally high bar to satisfy. You can achieve a not guilty verdict by simply giving a jury enough reason to doubt any element of a prosecutor’s case. An acquittal can be achieved through a dedicated effort to attack every element of the case against you.
Q. Instead of jail or prison time, what other possible penalties could I receive after being charged with a marijuana-related crime?
A. Community service is one of the most common kinds of punishments for alleged offenders instead of prison sentences. It is also possible that a person could be sentenced to a term of probation in which they have to check in regularly with a probation officer. Court-ordered participation in a drug treatment program could also be possible in some cases.
Q. Will I lose my job if I am convicted of a marijuana crime?
A. Your employment situation will depend on how aggressively your employer enforces drug convictions. Some employers may have no tolerance for these kinds of issues and could terminate you just for an arrest, but other employers may not conduct any kind of background check needed to uncover the violation.
Q. Can I be kicked out of college for a marijuana conviction?
A. The answer will again depend on the school, as some colleges vigorously enforce their codes of conduct while others are far more lenient. Suspensions and expulsions are possible in some cases.
Q. Will a marijuana conviction impact my ability to rent an apartment?
A. It may. Landlords run background checks on most prospective tenants in Texas, and a marijuana conviction could indeed be used as reason to deny a person the opportunity to rent an apartment.
One of the most common kinds of questions asked in regards to marijuana offenses is what the penalties are. Here are how marijuana offenses are punished in Texas:
Is marijuana legal in Texas in 2020? No. But it’s getting complicated. | The Texas Tribune — View a January 2020 article from the Texas Tribune examining Texas marijuana laws. Learn more about why there has been an explosion of hemp products. You can also learn how different counties are approaching their enforcement efforts as well as what efforts there are to legalize marijiuana in Texas.
Texas Laws and Penalties – NORML — The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is an American nonprofit organization with the mission “to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.” View all marijuana crimes and penalties in Texas on this website. You can also learn more about local decriminalization efforts, mandatory minimum sentences, and drugged driving information.
Were you arrested for a marijuana offense anywhere in the greater Dallas area? It will be important for you to quickly discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy handles all kinds of marijuana offenses in North Texas and has successfully defended scores of people against these kinds of criminal charges. You can have us take a look at your own case and discuss what you might be able to do when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.