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possession of marijuana seeds texas

Marijuana Possession Lawyer in Austin

As of 2017 Texas state law still carries harsh punishments for possession of marijuana (POM). If you’re charged with marijuana possession in Austin, a top marijuana defense attorney can be the difference between a dismissed case and a permanent criminal record.

Possession of marijuana can mean time behind bars

The criminal penalties for a conviction of POM in Austin are set by the Texas Health and Safety Code. They are determined primarily by the amount seized:

Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Texas

Amount Classification Max Fine Jail Time
Less than 2 ounces Class B Misdemeanor $2000 Max 6 months
2–4 ounces Class A Misdemeanor $4000 Max 12 months
More than 4 ounces Felony $10000 Min 180 days

As a former prosecutor, Sue Berkel has over 30 years of experience with criminal drug charges in Austin. Call today for a free consultation.

Questions about Marijuana Possession in Austin

How can a top marijuana lawyer help me?

An attorney experienced with marijuana cases will be able to access the circumstances of your charge and find weaknesses or holes in the prosecution’s case. For example, in order to use evidence against you, a police officer must have very specific reasons to conduct a search. If the officer did not obtain a warrant or otherwise failed to follow correct procedure, the evidence they gathered may not be admissible in court. Alternatively, a marijuana defense lawyer may be able to strike a deal with the prosecution to reduce your case to a lesser charge or delay ruling on your case.

Can I get my POM charge dismissed?

Many POM cases get dismissed in Travis County and Williamson County. While no guarantees can be made, having an experienced marijuana lawyer on your side will pay off considering the full range of problems a drug conviction can bring. Factors that affect the possibility of dismissal include the amount of marijuana, prior convictions, the legality of the search, and the willingness to take classes and/or perform community service.

What are the punishments for possession of marijuana?

Penalties are set by the classification of the crime in the Texas state system, such as Class B Misdemeanor. Aggravating circumstances include being in a “drug-free zone,” showing evidence of marijuana cultivation or an intent to deliver, and prior convictions. If any of these exist, you can expect the crime classification to be escalated by one level. Drug convictions can result in fines, probation, community service, the suspension of your driver’s license, jail time, and all the consequences that come with a permanent criminal record. See the laws section.

How does Travis County differ from Williamson County for POM?

Travis County is often more lenient than neighboring Williamson County. Williamson County is considered by many to be the strictest county in Texas, in part because Williamson County prosecutors often insist on lengthy probation for POM charges. Whether you’re in Williamson County or Travis County, seeking effective representation from a qualified drug charge lawyer will result in the most favorable outcome.

What is drug paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia refers to accessories associated with the consumption, production, or distribution of illegal substances. For example, pipes and bongs, scales, plastic baggies, extra phones, or excessive amounts of cash could qualify. While not necessarily illegal on their own, the presence of these items during a drug arrest can escalate the charge—for example, to possession with intent to deliver. In addition, § 481.125 of the Texas Health and Safety Code defines “possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia” as an offense in its own right.

What is intent to deliver?

Possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance is a separate and more serious crime in Texas. Intent to deliver can be proved in court by circumstantial evidence, without requiring an admission of guilt by the accused. Some factors that increase the likelihood of an intent to deliver charge include the amount of marijuana, the location of its seizure, the presence and type of paraphernalia, and the form of packaging used. If you’re facing a charge for possession with intent to deliver, speak with a marijuana defense attorney about your arrest.

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What is a “drug-free zone”?

While possession of marijuana is illegal in all parts of Texas, there is an additional definition of “drug-free zones.” Drug-free zones include schools, medical or dental units, public swimming pools, arcades, and many areas with a significant number of children present such as daycares, youth-oriented gyms, and playgrounds. POM penalties are enhanced in a drug-free zone and there is also risk for an accompanying charge of delivering marijuana to a child, a felony of the second degree. If you were in a drug free zone, contact a marijuana defense lawyer right away.

What is a “marijuana ticket”?

In 2009, Austin police were given the option to “cite and release” people for possession of marijuana rather than arresting them and bringing them to jail. This policy allowed officers to issue Travis County residents a so-called marijuana ticket on the assumption they would later appear in court, which bypasses the jail booking process. However, the legal consequences of a marijuana ticket are just as serious as a formal arrest and booking for POM. It’s still important to seek effective representation in a marijuana ticket case.

What are federal charges?

Any Austin marijuana lawyer can tell you that possession of the drug is prohibited on both the state and federal levels. This means that it is possible to be charged by the U.S. federal government, based in Washington, D.C., for possession of marijuana even if you’re physically in the state of Texas. However, the federal government typically only gets involved in large-scale drug operations or trafficking marijuana between states. Nonetheless, if you’re facing federal criminal charges, we are licensed to practice at the federal level and can represent you.

Texas Laws on Marijuana Possession

According to the FBI, there were over 135,000 Texas arrests for drug-related offenses in 2014. For Southern states, close to 50% of such arrests are for simple possession of marijuana. Therefore the number of POM arrests is comparable to all other drug-related charges combined.

If you’re cited for possession of marijuana in Austin, the buds and seeds will count towards the total weight of the marijuana. The following penalties apply to marijuana possession depending on the weight range:

Full Penalty Table for Texas Possession of Marijuana

Amount Classification Max Fine Jail Time
Less than 2 ounces Class B Misdemeanor $2000 Max 6 months
2–4 ounces Class A Misdemeanor $4000 Max 12 months
4 ounces–5 pounds State Jail Felony $10000 Min 180 days
5 pounds–50 pounds 3rd Degree Felony $10000 2–10 years
50 pounds–2000 pounds 2nd Degree Felony $10000 2–20 years
More than 2000 pounds 1st Degree Felony $50000 5–99 years

Hiring a Lawyer for Marijuana Concentrates

An increasingly common trend in Austin is the police seizure of marijuana edibles such as pot brownies. Texas law does not consider these substances marijuana, but rather drugs in Penalty Group 2. This penalty group includes many drugs generally considered more serious than marijuana, such as ecstasy, PCP, magic mushrooms, amphetamine, and mescaline. The penalty for a conviction of this type is a felony, which carries a mandatory jail sentence. You can be convicted for the possession of a Penalty Group 2 substance even if it is a very small amount.

Penalties for Marijuana Derivatives

Amount Classification Incarceration
Less than 1 gram State Jail Felony 180 days–2 years
1–4 grams 3rd Degree Felony 2–10 years
4–400 grams 2nd Degree Felony 2–20 years
More than 400 grams 1st Degree Felony 5 years–life

As if these punishments were not harsh enough for marijuana concentrate, there is an additional risk associated with possession of marijuana derivative products in Texas.

In a publicized 2014 case, a man in Round Rock was charged with possession of a large batch of marijuana brownies. Because the legal code counts “adulterants and dilutants” as part of a controlled substance’s weight, the full weight of the brownies (over a pound) was used by the Williamson County prosecution in determining the amount of substance in possession by the defendant. A pound of a Penalty Group 2 controlled substance is classified as a first degree felony, which entails a mandatory sentence from five years to life in prison.

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Though the first-degree-felony charge in the Round Rock case was ultimately dropped, it underscored just how vulnerable Austin residents are to severe penalties if found in possession of cannabis edibles. Since the number of similar cases is very low, there is not a clear legal precedent for how possession of edibles will be handled by courts in Texas. If you have been charged with possession of any marijuana derivatives, it will be imperative to contact a seasoned criminal lawyer familiar with marijuana offenses.

Additional Consequences of a Marijuana Conviction

A conviction of marijuana possession in Austin also triggers an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for 6 months. If you are later charged with driving with a suspended license, jail time can be the result.

As with many convictions, a permanent criminal record can affect one’s prospects for employment, education, credit, and housing in the future. It can also lead to problems traveling internationally.

You Need an Experienced Marijuana Lawyer

The Law Offices of Sue Berkel has extensive experience defending the rights of those accused of marijuana possession. Contact us today for a free consultation on your POM charge.

Education and Licenses

Sue Berkel has lived in Austin since 1976 and graduated with honors from the University of Texas in 1980. She obtained her law degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1983. She has been licensed to practice in Texas since 1984 and in the Federal District Court in the Western District since 1986.

A Former Prosecutor

Ms. Berkel worked as Assistant Attorney General at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, handling cases involving day care centers in which abuse or neglect was alleged. After more than one hundred trials and appellate arguments in both federal and state courts, she emerged with an over 90 percent win record. This experience as a former prosecutor gives Sue a valuable perspective in any marijuana possession case. She knows how prosecutors think and knows how to counter their arguments.

A Former Judge

Ms. Berkel also served as a judge at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings. She rose to the rank of Senior Administrative Law Judge, the highest designation offered. Together with experience as a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, this experience as a judge makes Sue Berkel one of the most well rounded marijuana lawyers in the Austin area.

Resources on Marijuana Laws

    —difficult to read, but it’s the official code
  • FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2014—contains statistics on drug charges

Law Offices of Sue Berkel

At a Glance

The Law Offices of Sue Berkel is a private practice law firm serving clients in the Austin, TX area. Ms. Berkel has practiced law for over 30 years as a Texas prosecutor, administrative law judge, and now a private practice lawyer.

Marijuana Defense Attorney, Fort Worth Texas

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Referred to as “marihuana” in the Texas Controlled Substances Act, marijuana more frequently goes by such street names as pot, weed, dope, or a variety of other slang terms.

While some states have made efforts in recent years to decriminalize or outright legalize the medical or even recreational use or possession of cannabis, marijuana remains illegal under Texas state law. Possession of even a seemingly minuscule amount of this controlled substance can result in criminal charges that carry extremely serious and long-lasting penalties. Finding the right marijuana defense lawyer can be critical.

Fort Worth Marijuana Defense Lawyer

Are you facing criminal charges for a marijuana-related offense in Texas? It is critical for you to have knowledgeable legal representation capable of protecting your rights and achieving the most favorable possible outcome to your case.

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The Fort Worth marijuana defense lawyers at Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC represent people facing marijuana charges throughout Tarrant County, Parker County, Johnson County, and surrounding areas in North Central Texas, including possession of marijuana. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (817) 502-3600 today to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.

Tarrant County Cannabis Defense Information Center

Texas Definition of Marijuana

Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(26), marijuana is defined as the cannabis plant (known by the species name Cannabis sativa L.), whether growing or not, the seeds of that plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of that plant or its seeds. This term does not include:

  • The resin extracted from a part of the plant or a compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the resin;
  • The mature stalks of the plant or fiber produced from the stalks;
  • Oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant;
  • A compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, fiber, oil, or cake; or
  • The sterilized seeds of the plant that are incapable of beginning germination.

Marijuana Crimes in Fort Worth

The most common marijuana crimes involve misdemeanor charges for simple possession. Both felony and misdemeanor cannabis-related offenses in Texas can result in substantial fines and possible imprisonment. Convictions can carry many other possible consequences as a “drug conviction,” including the inability to obtain employment, student loans, or housing.

Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC is familiar with all sorts of alleged offenses involving marijuana. Some of the types of cases we handle most frequently include:

Tarrant County Resources for Marijuana Crimes

DFW NORML — The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting cannabis prohibition, and this local chapter is the largest in the country with more than 1,000 members. You can learn more about upcoming events, recent news, and local supporters on this website.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy — This organization is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to promoting an honest dialogue about marijuana use and the negative effects of its criminalization, removing penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use, allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to safely obtain and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it, and/or opening a safe, legal market where Texas business owners cultivate and sell marijuana to adult consumers with accountability and reasonable oversight. You can learn more about coalition partners and top priorities on this website.

Drug Policy Forum of Texas (DPFT) — The DPFT claims that it “was formed because the War On Drugs not only doesn’t work but is also causing a great deal of unintended damage to society.” The marijuana page of this website contains statistics and articles about marijuana. You can also find a running clock indicating how much money has been spent on the Drug War.

Find an Experienced Marijuana Defense Attorney in the Fort Worth Area

If you have been arrested for a cannabis-related crime in North Central Texas, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC aggressively defends alleged offenders in Fort Worth, Arlington, Weatherford, Cleburne, and other nearby communities.

As former prosecutors and assistant district attorneys, our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys provide unique insight for clients because of their experience on both sides of the aisle. Call (817) 502-3600 right now or submit an online form to set up a free consultation that will allow our firm to review your case and discuss all of your legal options.