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Possession of Marijuana Charges

Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney

So, the police charged you with possession of marijuana, or at least arrested for being near marijuana. Now, you are trying to find a lawyer to defend your marijuana possession charge. We have defended literally hundreds of marijuana cases. In most of those cases, our clients were able to get the marijuana charge off of their criminal record.

We have a particular interest in marijuana defense for several reasons. One, our firm supports efforts for reasonable marijuana law reform. Two, these cases often present interesting legal issues related to the Fourth Amendment. Finally, we believe most people facing these charges are not criminals and do not deserve a permanent criminal history.

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Ounces and Grams of Marijuana

You will notice, Texas uses Standard units to measure marijuana amount (mass), rather than metric units. Grams (gm or g) are a metric unit of mass. So, when you are determining the penalty for a marijuana charge in Texas, sometimes you need to convert ounces to grams.

  • 1 gram is 0.035274 ounces
  • 1 ounce is 28.3495 grams
  • A half-ounce is 14.1748 grams
  • A quarter-ounce is 7.08738 grams

Graphic showing ounces to grams marijuana conversion

The most common marijuana possession charge is an amount under 2 ounces. Two ounces is equal to 56.699 grams of marijuana. If you are searching the internet, do not be confused by references to a “metric ounce.” This is not used in Texas for marijuana cases. A “metric ounce” equal to 25 grams and 20 make the metric pound of 500 grams.

Our Approach to Possession of Marijuana Charges

We ask First:

Do we have a really good chance of getting the marijuana thrown out of court?

If not, then Second:

Does our client qualify for some kind of program that leads to expunging the marijuana case?

If not, then Third:

What can we do, as a client-lawyer team, to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the marijuana charge?

Question 1: Marijuana thrown out of court?

1st This first question is why you want a Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney (aka expert in criminal law). In Texas, judges do not throw marijuana cases out of court before trial. Instead, your lawyer can file a “motion to suppress evidence” based on an illegal search and seizure. This may result in the government dismissing your marijuana charge.

Basically, if the police discovered marijuana (or anything else illegal) because the police violated your privacy or property rights then the marijuana should be “suppressed.” This means the government cannot use it as evidence in your possession of marijuana prosecution. Without the marijuana, the government usually dismisses the charge.

This area of law revolves around the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Texas Constitution Article 1 Section 9, and Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.23. Despite what you might find on different sources related to your rights about search and seizure, very few rules are cut-and-dry. Instead, Fourth Amendment issues have been changing and becoming more complicated since 1914 when a landmark case, Weeks v. United States, was decided by the Supreme Court. So, back to why you need a legal scholar or expert criminal lawyer on your marijuana charge. If you do not have a really good reason to throw the marijuana out of court, then we move to Question 2.

Question 2: Program leading to expunge marijuana charge?

2nd The second question is why you want a Tarrant County criminal defense attorney. Every county has different rules and policies about the programs offered for possession of marijuana cases. Ultimately our goal is to get your marijuana charge off of your record, right? The fastest way to do this may be to enroll in a “drug diversion program.”

These programs have strict deadlines and criteria. Unfortunately, out-of-town attorneys often do not get the latest information about these diversion programs. Our criminal defense practice focuses primarily on Tarrant County cases. This includes misdemeanor marijuana charges filed in Tarrant County. So, we are very familiar with the different programs available to people charged with possession of marijuana. We get all of the Tarrant County email updates. We attend the Tarrant County educational meetings. Most importantly, we are in the Tarrant County criminal courthouse (where your marijuana case is filed) almost every working day.

If we can’t get your marijuana case thrown out or get you into a program that leads to expunging the marijuana charge from your record, then we turn to Question 3.

Question 3: How can we get this marijuana charge dismissed?

3rd The third question is why you want a likeable, trustworthy lawyer for your marijuana case. Think about it… If you are charged with possession of marijuana, and the police have a great case against you (without any legal issues), why would a prosecutor dismiss your marijuana charge? It is our job (client and attorney) to give them a good reason.

You have to realize that prosecutors are people. They may have even made a mistake once in their lives. Also, prosecutors (most prosecutors) are not interested in ruining lives just because they can. Instead, prosecutors want their jobs to make a difference. So, it is our job to show the prosecutors that you are taking your possession of marijuana charge seriously. Also, show the prosecutor that sticking you with a conviction for marijuana possession would only hurt you and you do not need such a harsh outcome to correct your behavior.

We are not going to ask anyone to lie by promising they will never smoke weed again. We will ask you to stop smoking long enough to provide some clean specimens for urinalysis. Community service or a Texas Drug Offender Education class may be a part of our plan. Regardless, we keep our (client and attorney) focus on getting your marijuana case dismissed, so you can later get the case expunged.

Meet Your Lawyers for Marijuana Possession Charges

We have two senior criminal defense lawyers handling marijuana possession charges, Cody Cofer and Lauren Crisera. Everyone in our office wants two things: 1. We want you to feel like you had the best attorneys possible; and 2. We want you to tell your friends or family to call us if they get into trouble. We make that happen by taking our clients’ possession of marijuana (or other crimes) charges seriously. These are just a few notes on our lawyers handling marijuana possession charges.

Cody L. Cofer

Fort-Worth-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-Cody-CoferBoard Certified in Criminal Law
Power Attorney 2015 FWBP
FW,TX Magazine Top Attorney
NORML Legal Committee
Full Attorney Profile

Lauren Crisera

Lauren-Crisera-Criminal-Defense-AttorneyFormer Colorado Public Defender
FW,TX Magazine Top Attorney 2015
Extensive Trial Experience
Extensive Appeals Experience
Full Attorney Profile

Texas Possession of Marijuana Laws

The crime of possessing marijuana is not found in the Texas Penal Code. Instead, the law is in the Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.121 Offense Possession of Marijuana. This is a chart outlining the punishment (penalty) for possession of marijuana.

Amount Level of Charge Confinement Fine
2 ounces or less Class B Misdemeanor 0 to 180 days jail $0 to $2,000
Over 2 ounces to 4 ounces Class A Misdemeanor 0 to 365 days jail $0 to $4,000
Over 4 ounces to 5 pounds State Jail Felony 180 days to 2 years State Jail $0 to $10,000
Over 5 pounds to 50 pounds Third Degree Felony 2 to 10 years prison $0 to $10,000
Over 50 lbs. to 2000 lbs. Second Degree Felony 2 to 20 years prison $0 to $10,000
Over 2000 lbs. First Degree Felony 5 to 99 years or Life prison $0 to $50,000
*Texas Health & Safety Code § 481.121 – Possession of Marihuana

Can you get a ticket for marijuana possession?

Yes and no. When people say “ticket” they usually mean a Class C Misdemeanor (fine only offense). Possessing any amount of marijuana is a more serious charge than a Class C. Any useable amount of marijuana less than 2 ounces is a Class B Misdemeanor (up to 180 days in jail). So, you can’t get a “ticket” for marijuana in the sense that any marijuana charge is more serious than a Class C. However, Texas law does allow a police officer to issue a citation instead of arresting someone for a misdemeanor marijuana charge.

If a police officer charges you with possession of marijuana in Tarrant County and you live in Tarrant County then the officer does not have to arrest you for a Class A or B misdemeanor. Instead, the police officer issues a citation (ticket) telling you when and where you need to appear for court. This provision is found in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 14.06. Unfortunately, the practice in Tarrant County is for police to arrest people for possession of marijuana, and police do not just issue a citation for marijuana possession.

Probation for Possession of Marijuana

For any misdemeanor marijuana charge you can receive probation (deferred or regular). If you have never been convicted of a felony then you may receive probation for a felony marijuana possession charge. If you have never been convicted of a felony and your marijuana charge is a State Jail Felony then it is mandatory that you receive probation (unless you have more than 1 pound). Generally speaking, regular probation laws apply to marijuana cases.

Drug Free Zone Penalty for Marijuana Possession

The outrageous “Drug Free Zone” laws apply to possession of marijuana. So, if you are charged with possession of marijuana in a drug free zone you are looking at much harsher penalties.

Amount Level of Charge Confinement Fine
2 ounces or less Class A Misdemeanor 0 to 365 days jail $0 to $4,000
Over 2 ounces to 4 ounces State Jail Felony 180 to 2 years State Jail $0 to $10,000
Over 4 ounces to 5 pounds Third Degree Felony 2 to 10 years in prison $0 to $10,000
Over 5 pounds to 50 pounds Super 3rd Degree 7 to 10 years prison $0 to $10,000
Over 50 lbs. to 2000 lbs. Second Degree Felony 7 to 20 years prison $0 to $10,000
Over 2000 lbs. First Degree Felony 10 to 99 years or Life prison $0 to $50,000
*Texas Health & Safety Code § 481.134 – Drug Free Zone

Not only does the penalty for marijuana possession increase, but you must serve that sentence consecutively to any other sentence you receive. This is what is known as “stacking” your sentences.

Example of Penalty Stacking: During the night (2:00 AM) you get pulled over near a school. Then the police charge you with DWI and the police find some marijuana in you car. You get sentenced to 30 days jail for the DWI and 30 days for Marijuana Possession. The law requires the judge to “stack” those sentences. So, instead of 30 days served concurrently (at the same time), you serve 60 days.

Driver’s License Penalty for Marijuana Possession

If you are convicted of possession of marijuana then your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days. Texas will not lift your driver’s license suspension until you have taken a drug education class and paid all applicable fees. It is important to gain an understanding of what “convicted” actually means. So, be sure when you find a lawyer for a marijuana charge the lawyer fully understands the driver’s licenses laws.