My Trial Blog: Marijuana Possession in Texas

Most people who smoke weed don’t realize there’s a tremendous legal downside to smoking marijuana, particularly in a state like Texas.

When I was young, I enjoyed life more when I was high, and marijuana quickly became my drug of choice.  What I didn’t realize was that my life was spiraling out of control and that I would end up arrested, having a trial, and coming close to going to jail.

You Can Go to Jail for Marijuana?

Like most young people in Texas, I had no idea that smoking marijuana could land me in jail. If the thought ever crossed my mind, it was rare. I didn’t see a problem with weed, so I found myself smoking marijuana several times day.  

Life was good. But all of that came crashing down on the day I was walking home in Austin and a police car pulled up next to me. I began to panic as the police car slowed down because I realized that I had a bag of marijuana in my pocket. I did not want to get stopped and searched.

The world seemed to come to a screeching halt when the police officer called out to me and ask me to come over. I guess I must have panicked because I started running, and the rest became a blur. It wasn’t long before the police officers had me on the hood of the car and were searching my pockets. It wasn’t long before they came across the marijuana, which I later found out was less than an ounce but more than fifty grams.

The Arrest

I was arrested, booked, and charged with possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. It seemed like my life was going to go up in smoke.

When my parents came to see me, they were understandably upset—both with me and in general. They recommended that I hire a marijuana drug possession lawyer. This seemed like a good idea because my brief stay in the holding cell had convinced me that this was very serious.

Texas Marijuana Penalties

Non-medical possession of marijuana in the state of Texas can lead to various punishments, including massive fines and time in jail. I didn’t have the money for fines, and I certainly didn’t want to spend time in jail.

Because I was caught carrying less than two ounces and wasn’t selling it, I was facing a misdemeanor charge of possession, punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. Of course, I also had the charge of resisting arrest to deal with.

Here’s another thing I couldn’t get off my mind: This charge could follow me for the rest of my life. Every time I might apply for a job or try to rent an apartment, it would surely rear its ugly head.

The Arraignment

My defense lawyer said I shouldn’t speak with anyone and allow him to do all the talking. Suffice it to say, by this point, I was seriously beginning to fear for the rest of my life.

First, I was arraigned. That’s what the lawyer called it. In other words, I was taken into the courtroom and the clerk read the charges against me out loud. The judge, who looked a lot more imposing than they do on television, looked at me and asked in a stern voice how I was going to plead. My lawyer had recommended that I plead not guilty and said that he would have a conversation with the prosecutor to see if they could reach a deal.

A pleading, as I understood it was telling the judge whether I wanted to say I was guilty or innocent. I pleaded not guilty. The judge then set a date for the trial, which was frightening, since I had no idea what that would entail. I was glad not to be alone, though; my lawyer explained things to me as we went along.  

How My Lawyer Helped Me

As it turned out, I had a good lawyer who arranged a plea bargain, which meant I could serve less time, be fined less, and have an opportunity to go into a rehab program.

My lawyer and the prosecutor had a long discussion about my case and all the evidence. I knew I was guilty, but my lawyer was able to convince the prosecutor to give me six months of probation.

I quickly took the deal, and the lawyers put it before the judge to agree to all of the terms, since it was my first offense. The ruling was official.  

Here’s what I learned: Nobody should ever go through the criminal justice system without the help of an attorney.