Despite growing trends of legalizing marijuana, arrests relating to marijuana are increasing. Forbes reports that 659,700 marijuana-related arrests were made in 2017, an increase from previous years. Forbes credits increased arrests to enforcement against people merely possessing the drug as opposed to selling or growing it.
There is now a drug bust every 19 seconds in the U.S, and an average of one marijuana bust roughly every 48 seconds, according to an FBI report from 2018. Overall, marijuana arrests made up 40.4% of the nation’s 1,632,921 drug arrests in 2017.
What are Texas’ Laws Regarding Marijuana?
Even though attitudes about marijuana have been rapidly changing across the U.S., Texas has not legalized marijuana. In contrast to neighboring states, Texas continues to punish marijuana offenses severely.
In Texas, possessing even a small amount of marijuana can land you in jail. Possessing anything under 2 ounces carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. But penalties are even more serious for possessing concentrates such as hash oil, which is charged as a felony and can result in up to two years in state prison.
Selling or possessing more than 5 to 50 pounds of marijuana is considered a third degree felony and can land you in prison for up to 10 years, with a mandatory minimum sentence of two years.
According to FindLaw, Texas passed a very restrictive medical cannabis law allowing a limited use of low-THC (the psychoactive component), high-CBD cannabis oil. But this law only protects a very specific use of medical marijuana in a highly limited context.
Types of Drug Possession
It’s important to understand the two main types of possession you could be charged with: actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession refers to a charge regarding illegal drugs (which in Texas, includes marijuana) found on your person. Constructive possession refers to drugs that were not on your person but that you were thought to be aware of on your property. According to HG.org Legal Resources, you could be arrested for drugs that aren’t yours, but were discovered in a car or home that is yours, even if you weren’t on the premises at the time of discovery.
If police discover illegal drugs on your property, you’ll be immediately considered a primary suspect. According to Lawyers.com, you’re likely to be charged with illegal drug possession even if you were simply riding in a car with someone who does have illegal drugs, and the police believe that you knew the person was in possession of the drugs.
What Can You Do If You’re Falsely Accused of Marijuana Possession?
Police are used to hearing “those aren’t mine” when making drug arrests…but what if the marijuana really isn’t yours?
Have you been unjustly arrested or falsely charged with marijuana possession? It’s a bad feeling, but the good news is that we’re here to help!
Being unjustly arrested for possessing drugs that aren’t actually yours is a complex situation, but it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to face the penalties. Remember the following plan of action:
- Don’t resist arrest
- Tell the officers that you need a lawyer
- Contact an experienced criminal defense team
- Disclose only your name and other basic personal information. Remember that you have a right to remain silent and do not have to answer any questions without the presence of an attorney.
- Say absolutely nothing else to the police – remember that even innocent people have
- received serious charges for saying something wrong. The police can sometimes use manipulative questioning tactics to pressure individuals to implicate themselves when they are not required to do so by law. You have the right to an attorney.
Texas’ marijuana laws can lead to life-altering consequences, even if you believe you were charged unfairly. If you’re charged with possessing marijuana in McAllen, Texas – whether it’s yours or not – you need a lawyer who can help you negotiate the complex litigation and legal matters pertaining to marijuana possession.
Juan Tijerina can examine the circumstances of your arrest and make sure that officers properly followed the law when searching you. While many officers work hard to protect citizens, unfortunately, some officers are subject to bias and may use racial profiling in order to search individuals without due cause. Contact our firm today to learn how our team can help protect your rights and your future! Call (956) 261-5609 or contact us online today!
4016 N. 22nd Street
McAllen, Texas 78504
Phone: (956) 261-5609
Phone: (512) 900-1126