Drug possession of any kind is a serious offense. Marijuana is no exception. Though some people may think that marijuana is not as troublesome as drugs like heroin or cocaine, possessing marijuana will get you in to serious trouble. Every state has strict laws regarding marijuana, and Texas is no exception.
At minimum, marijuana possession is considered a misdemeanor. The extent of the charges and penalties are usually contingent upon how much marijuana a person is holding. Also, a judge will consider any prior criminal history. For a first time offender who is holding less than two ounces of marijuana, the penalty can include up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of $2,000. However, many first time offenders can work out a deal that will require community service and a drug program. Successful completion of these programs could keep your record clean. However, this is up to the discretion of the court.
If you are holding a significant amount of marijuana, the penalties become much more severe. If you are holding between two and four ounces, the crime becomes a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties can include up to a year in county jail and a fine of $4,000. If you are possessing more than four ounces, major penalties become a real possibility. If you hold between four ounces and five pounds, you could be charged with a felony. That means you could spend up to two years in state prison and pay a fine of up to $10,000. The larger the amount you hold, the stiffer the penalty will be.
If you hold between five and fifty pounds, you will be charted with a worse felony. That could mean between two and ten years in prison and a fine of $10,000. If you have between fifty and two thousand pounds, you could spend up to twenty years in prison and a fine of $10,000. These amounts usually suggest intent to distribute, so you could be charged with additional crimes. If a person is holding more than two thousand pounds of marijuana, they will be charged with a major felony. If this is the case, the penalties could involve up to one hundred years in state prison and a fine of $50,000.
In addition to fines and jail times, there are several other penalties. These could include a suspension of driving privileges, drug counseling, probation, and community service. Clearly, marijuana possession is taken seriously in Texas.
Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher living in Austin, Texas.