If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession charges, you do have options! Marijuana charges can be fought, and they can be beaten.
A marijuana charge can be fought in court on the following criteria.
The Meaning of “Possession”
A marijuana charge can be fought in court in various ways. As established by the Court of Criminal Appeals’ ruling in Texas V. Molina, the legal standard for marijuana possession requires that the suspect both possess the drug, and be aware that the drug is in their possession at the time of arrest.
In other words, if you truly did not know that marijuana was in your possession at the time of your arrest, you cannot truly be guilty of marijuana possession!
Punishments for marijuana possession charges largely depend on the amount and the presumed intent behind that amount.
|<2 ounces||Class B Misdemeanor||180 days in county jail. $2,000 fine.|
|2-4 ounces||Class A Misdemeanor||1 year in county jail. $4,000 fine.|
|4 ozs to 5 lbs||State Jail Felony||180 days to 2 years state jail. $10,000 fine.|
|5-50 lbs||3rd Degree Felony||2 to 10 years. $10,000 fine.|
|50-2,000 lbs||2nd Degree Felony||2 to 20 years. $10,000 fine.|
|Over 2,000 lbs||1st Degree Felony||5 to 99 years. $50,000 fine.|
However, under Texas law, the quantity of marijuana entered into evidence must be a “usable amount.” If the police never removed stems, seeds or any other useless debris, your lawyer can request that these things be removed and have the marijuana re-weighed. Depending on the new weight, your charges can either be lessened (ex. Going down from 2 ounces to 1.5) or dropped altogether (if removing the stems and seeds leaves you with little to no usable marijuana).
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
The same way citizens are supposed to obey the law, the police are held to a certain set of standards for doing their job legally.
Under the Fourth Amendment to the constitution, all American citizens are protected against “unreasonable search and seizure.” While the definition of “unreasonable” is rooted primarily in case law, police can be held to some consistent standards in court.
In order for a search to be legal, the police must have probable cause to search you or your vehicle, and they must use that probable cause to obtain a search warrant. Based on the Fourth Amendment, probable cause is anything that leads the officer to believe the following:
- That it is reasonable to believe that a crime was committed by an individual.
- That a crime was committed in the location where a search has been requested.
- The location to be searched contains detectable evidence that a crime has been committed there.
In other words, things like red eyes, a roach clip on the ground, marijuana odor or even a digital scale can constitute probable cause. If a police officer is suspicious, but lacks any obvious probable cause, they can still call in a K9 unit to sniff the car and obtain a search warrant.
However, according to the Supreme Court ruling in Rodriguez v. United States, the police cannot extend a traffic stop beyond the time required for citation without probable cause. This means that even with a positive read from a drug dog, if your traffic stop was delayed for an unreasonable amount of time with no probable cause beyond the cop’s suspicion, their search may be thrown out!
Don’t Just Take the Plea – Hire Aggressive Marijuana Possession Lawyer
If you’re facing marijuana charges, every little detail counts. Don’t just accept the conviction and take probation. If the police have violated your rights, you need a lawyer familiar with marijuana possession law who will get you the justice you deserve. Mark Thiessen understands the severity of the consequences you are facing and will fight for your freedom. He will work to have the case no-billed, dismissed, reduced and either get the best deal possible or take it to trial.