Of all of the states that have begun to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana use, Texas ain’t one of em’. Criminal laws for marijuana possession are strict with the harshest punishments reserved for defendants busted with massive quantities of the drug in their possession.
Texas Marijuana Possession Law Explained
“Possession” is defined as a person knowingly owning or having an illegal controlled substance on their person, in their car, in their place of residence, or otherwise hidden. The Harris County prosecutor must prove that the defendant purposely obtained the drug and knowingly possessed or had active control of the substance, whether direct or indirect.
In Houston, TX, being caught with 2 oz of Marijuana or less is a Class B Misdemeanor offense if prosecuted at all. A person caught with more than 2 ounces of marijuana, but less than 4oz will be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor criminal offense. Any drug crime involving more than 4oz of marijuana will fall under felony guidelines.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Texas
Criminal penalties for marijuana possession in Texas are listed below.
- 2 oz or less: Up to 180 Days County Jail and a Fine up to $2000
- 2-4 oz: County jail sentence of up to 1 year and a Fine up to $4000
- 4 oz-5 lbs: 180 days – 2 years State Jail and a $10,000 Maximum Fine.
- 5-50 lbs: 2 – 10 years TDCJ and a $10,000 Maximum Fine.
- 50-2000 lbs: 2 – 20 TDCJ years and a $10,000 Maximum Fine.
- Over 2000 lbs: 5 – 99 years TDCJ and a $50,000 Maximum Fine.
Misdemeanor Marijuana Conviction Penalties
CLASS B MISDEMEANOR
If the defendant was found to be in possession of 2 Ounces or Less of marijuana they’ll be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 180 days Harris County Jail time and a fine of up to 2,000.00.
CLASS A MISDEMEANOR
If the defendant was found to be in possession of more than two ounces of marijuana, but less than 4 ounces of marijuana, they’ll be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor which carries a potential fine of up to 4,000.00 and a possible jail sentence of up to 1 year county jail time.
Felony Marijuana Conviction Penalties
STATE JAIL FELONY
When a person is found to be in possession of over 4 ounces of marijuana, but less than 5 pounds, State Jail Felony charges will apply with carry prison sentencing guidelines of 6 months to 2 years & a fine of up to 10,000.00.
3RD DEGREE FELONY
3rd Degree Felony charges apply when the defendant is found to be in possession of over 5 pounds of marijuana, but less than 50 pounds. 3rd Degree Felony charges in Texas carry a fine of up to 10,000.00 and prison sentencing guidelines ranging from 2-10 years.
2ND DEGREE FELONY
2nd Degree Felony charges apply when the defendant is found to be in possession of over 50 pounds of marijuana, but less than 2000 pounds. 2nd Degree Felony charges in Texas carry a fine of up to 10,000.00 and prison sentencing guidelines ranging from 2-20 years.
1st DEGREE FELONY
Enhanced 1st Degree Felony charges apply when the defendant is found to be in possession of over 2000 pounds of marijuana. These cases carry a fine of up to 10,000.00 and prison sentencing guidelines ranging from 5 to 99 years.
Other Consequences of Marijuana Possession
Some of the other consequences for people convicted of marijuana possession are less obvious. Having a criminal record is one of the residual detriments of such a conviction. Imagine not being able to find a job because you got caught with a joint or convicted of manufacture & delivery of a controlled substance in the past.
If you were driving while in possession of marijuana, it could result in the suspension of your Texas Driver License. If you can’t legally drive, your life’s challenges will be compounded even further. This makes it important to have an experienced drug offense lawyer on your team when dealing with legal challenges like this. With a good attorney on your side, you’ll have an edge that defendants without lawyers or with public defenders won’t have.