Marijuana Defense Lawyer and Former Prosecutor Serving Fort Worth, Arlington, and Tarrant County
Were you charged with possession of marijuana in Fort Worth, Arlington, Tarrant County, or the surrounding cities? Despite widespread use and acceptance of marijuana in the state of Texas, possession of marijuana remains illegal, and the District Attorney’s Office vigorously prosecutes all drug-related crimes.
A conviction for possession of marijuana in Texas carries devastating consequences. If convicted, you face up to life in Texas prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and lengthy periods of parole or probation, as well as difficulty in finding and maintaining employment, seeking child custody, applying for financial aid, and obtaining an apartment. A skilled and knowledgeable Fort Worth Drug defense lawyer can inform you of the consequences of a conviction and work with you to formulate a plan for tackling the accusations.
Possession of Marijuana
The Texas Health and Safety Code defines marijuana as a controlled substance because of its hallucinogenic and mind-altering properties. In addition, synthetic marijuana has become widely popular throughout Texas. Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana. It is a chemical composition developed to simulate the effects of marijuana. It is commonly known as “K2” or “Spice.”
The Texas Penal Code defines possession of marijuana to involve the knowing and intentional possession of a marijuana-based product. The State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally or knowingly possessed (exercised care, custody, or control) over the marijuana.
Possession comes in two formats: active and constructive.
Active possession is direct, physical possession. The marijuana is found on the individual’s person or found in a purse, wallet, bag, or item that is clearly identified as being in the care, custody, or control of the accused.
Constructive possession occurs when the police attempt to connect marijuana found elsewhere to a specific individual. The individual must have the ability and intent to exercise custody and control of the found marijuana. Constructive possession commonly involves marijuana found inside cars, homes, or suitcases.
Possession of THC Oil Edibles and Gummies
Have you been arrested for possession of marijuana through THC oil that has been added to edibles or gummies? Recent changes in Texas marijuana law may protect you from a charge like this or may provide your marijuana possession lawyer new tools to argue that a dismissal of your marijuana charge should take place. Unfortunately, possessing THC oil that has been infused into other edible items can carry serious and life altering consequences that can include up to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
How is this possible? Under Texas marijuana law, the prosecutor is permitted to weigh the entire item and use its weight as the basis for the severity of the marijuana charge. For example, if you were to add THC oil to a pan of brownies, 99% of the weight of the brownies would be flour, sugar, and other baking ingredients with only a small portion being the weight of the THC oil. However, Texas marijuana law allows the State of Texas to add all “adulterants and dilutants” in the calculation of the drug weight which permits a very serious felony charge to arise from this scenario.
It is critical that you retain an experienced and aggressive Fort Worth marijuana lawyer to help you with your drug defense to protect you from being convicted and punished for a felony marijuana charge.
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana
Possession of marijuana can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount recovered.
- Class B Misdemeanor: Possession of Marijuana Two ounces or less
- Class A Misdemeanor: Possession of Marijuana Two to four ounces
- State Jail Felony: Possession of Marijuana Four ounces to five pounds
- Third Degree Felony:Possession of Marijuana Five pounds to 50 pounds
- Second Degree Felony:Possession of Marijuana 50 pounds to 2,000 pounds
- First Degree Felony: Possession of Marijuana Over 2,000 pounds
Misdemeanors are punishable by incarceration in Tarrant County jail and/or fines up to $4,000. Felonies are punishable anywhere from five years in state prison to life in prison and can incur fines up to $10,000.
Legal Defenses To Possession of Marijuana
The crime of possession of marijuana sounds simple: you either have marijuana in your possession or you don’t. However, an aggressive and experienced Fort Worth drug possession attorney will analyze each element of the crime and determine the strengths and weaknesses of the case and provide a customized defense strategy. Let’s analyze a few common possession of marijuana defenses your Fort Worth drug lawyer should consider:
No Criminal Intent To Possess Marijuana
The State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the possession (exercise of care, custody, or control) of marijuana was intentional or knowing. In other words, if you had no idea the marijuana was near you, you have not committed a crime. Merely being present at the scene of a drug possession does not, by itself make you guilty of possession of marijuana.
For example: you are a passenger in a car and your friend is driving when a Fort Worth police officer pulls the car over for a traffic violation. The officer approaches the car and after receiving consent to search the vehicle from the drive, marijuana is found sitting in the center console of the car. Who should be charged? Usually, the Fort Worth Police Department trains their officers to ask both occupants questions apart from each other to gather enough information as to who to charge with possession of marijuana. However, if neither party talks, the officer may decide to arrest both of you and transport you to the Fort Worth jail.
As a practical matter, it may be difficult for the prosecutor to prove a case like this because it was not your car, there is not extrinsic evidence establishing you had any knowledge or intent to exercise care, custody, or control over the marijuana. Absent additional evidence, the prosecutor will be unable to prove the element of criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. An aggressive and experienced Fort Worth Drug Possession Attorney should push for a dismissal in a scenario such as this.
No Affirmative Link To Possession Of Marijuana
To prove the crime of possession of marijuana, the Tarrant County prosecutor will be required to affirmatively link you to the marijuana. Failure to affirmatively link you to the marijuana will result in a not guilty verdict at a jury trial. What do we mean by “affirmatively link?” Let’s use an example for illustration and clarity:
For example: You share an apartment with a friend, and you know they occasionally smoke marijuana and keep a little THC oil in their room, but you have nothing to do with it and avoid it. One day, a narcotics officer comes to the apartment and tells you they have a search warrant to search the apartment for drugs. You are shocked! You have done nothing wrong and immediately consent because you have nothing to hide. During the process of the drug search warrant, the Fort Worth drug officer finds a small marijuana cigarette in the living room area under a book. They also find some THC oil in your roommate’s room. What happens?
The Fort Worth drug officer will be required to affirmatively link you to the drugs found in the apartment to arrest and convict you. Any time there are multiple people sharing a living space or any other space like a car, the police must show not only the element of criminal intent, but also that where the marijuana was found is linked to an individual.
Initially, it may be easier for the narcotics officer to link the THC oil found in your roommate’s room because it is likely in that room there are personal identifying objects and information that will make it clear who resides in this room and who is exercising care, custody, and control over the items in the room. If a utility bill, driver’s license, personal notes, or other identifying information is found, the officer will be able to affirmatively link the marijuana to your roommate, not you.
What about the marijuana found in the living room under the book? This becomes a little more difficult. Both you and your roommate have access to the common area of the living room and unless the book identifies ownership, the police will be left with asking you a series of questions do determine if they can affirmatively link the marijuana to you.
This is critical: You have a right to remain silent! You are not required to answer the drug investigator’s questions. In fact, you can politely inform them you would be happy to answer their questions with your drug lawyer being present. However, without your criminal lawyer’s presence, you do not feel comfortable answering questions because you do not know your Constitutional and criminal rights. If you choose to answer the officer’s questions, be aware of the fact the officer is only asking you questions to piece together enough information to pin the marijuana on you and arrest you and transport you to the Fort Worth jail.
Illegal Search and Seizure
One of the most common defenses that the best Fort Worth Drug Possession attorneys use is the police officer’s illegal search of the premises or location leading to an arrest for possession of marijuana. Regardless of how the police officer feels about the existence of marijuana in your house or car, the officer must have sufficient probable cause to complete a search.
The easiest way for an officer to develop probable cause is through consent. If you give the Fort Worth drug officer consent to search your house or car, they do not need probable cause to search. Consent cures all! One important lesson: Do not volunteer information and do not give consent to search. If you refuse consent to search, the police officer will have to have separate probable cause to perform the search, which can be done by a search warrant with accompanying search warrant affidavit.
When analyzing a search warrant affidavit, your drug possession attorney needs to look at the four corners of the affidavit and the warrant to make sure it meets the requirement under Texas drug law. Sometimes, a drug search warrant affidavit can be defective for lack of specificity or because the information being relied upon is coming from an informant who is determined to be unreliable. This is critical to examine in detail to determine if your possession of marijuana case can be thrown out due to a defective search warrant.
Zealous Representation for those Accused of Possession of Marijuana
The Fulgham Law Firm was founded after I worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the District Attorney’s Office in Collin and Tarrant Counties. I tried numerous cases before judges and juries, presented charges and evidence to grand juries, and evaluated police investigations for potential prosecution. Over the years, I developed a passion for protecting the rights of others. My stint as a prosecutor provides me with a unique perspective into the mind of the prosecution. I can anticipate and counteract the arguments of the prosecution.
In addition, I believe in providing each client with a customized approach to representation. Every case involves its own unique facts and evidence, so it does not make sense to handle each possession of marijuana case the same. Unlike other attorneys that care very little about their clients and provide the same routine, thoughtless representation in each case, I provide one-on-one communication, attention to detail, and personalization to ensure that the direction of your case matches your needs, goals, and best interests. To discuss your Fort Worth possession of marijuana case, call the Fulgham Law Firm today at (817) 886-3078 to schedule a free consultation.
If you were arrested for the possession of marijuana in Fort Worth, numerous defenses may be available to you. I can help you evaluate your case to determine the best strategy and defense. To schedule a free appointment, call the Fulgham Law Firm at (817) 886-3078 today.
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