Over the years, research has indicated marijuana is a drug with a low rate of addiction and limited side effects. The state of Texas, however, still considers cannabis to be a controlled substance. While most possession cases are considered a misdemeanor, large quantities of marijuana could result in felony charges.
A felony conviction has the potential to uproot your whole life. You could be facing expensive fines and even prison time. You will also have to struggle with being labeled a “felon” after your release. Many felons have issues gaining employment, applying for housing or obtaining loans from the federal government.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony-level possession of marijuana, it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Attorney for Felony Possession in Houston, Texas
It’s common for the District Attorney’s Office to aggressively prosecute felony-level possession cases, so they can minimize drug trafficking. Meaning it’s not just important but necessary for you to have a strong defense. Make the first step and contact Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. today.
The attorneys at firm excel at defending people accused of drug crimes. Call us now at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys represent people throughout the Houston metropolitan area including Tomball, Pasadena, West University Place and Bellaire.
Overview of Felony Possession in Texas
- What’s the Penalties for Felony Marijuana Possession?
- STAR Program for Drug Offenders
- Defenses for Marijuana Charges
- Additional Resources
What’s the Penalties for Felony Marijuana Possession?
The majority of marijuana possession cases end in misdemeanor charges. However, large amounts of cannabis could result in a felony, which carries heavy penalties. Those who are convicted of a felony could be sent to prison and have to pay thousand-dollar fines.
The following are the penalties for possessing marijuana at a felony-level.
|Amount Possessed:||Crime Classification:||Prison Time:||Fine:|
|4 Ounces to 5 Pounds||State Jail Felony||Up to 24 months||Up to $10,000|
|5 to 50 Pounds||Third-Degree Felony||Up to 10 years||Up to $10,000|
|50 to 2,000 Pounds||Second-Degree Felony||Up to 20 years||Up to $10,000|
|Over 2,000 Pounds||First-Degree Felony||Minimum of 5 years and a maximum of life in prison||Up to $50,000|
STAR Program for Drug Offenders in Harris County, Texas
Harris County District Courts offer drug offenders an alternative to incarceration known as STAR or Success Through Addiction Recovery Program. The program offers treatment for defendants with a chemical dependency through therapy and rehabilitative means. What STAR aims to do is to reduce the cycle of drug abuse and assist repeat offenders.
It might be the best option for you to pursue the STAR program. You can avoid incarceration if you choose to participate with STAR. Additionally, your charges will be reduced or dismissed if you’re able to successfully complete the program.
Each participant in the program receives individualized supervision and a treatment plan. It offers offenders educational and employment opportunities through seminars, GED tutoring and meetings with employment specialist. You can contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate if you’re eligible for the Harris County STAR program.
Unfortunately, STAR doesn’t allow everyone to attend their program. Participants must meet the following requirements if they wish to participate with STAR.
- Have a prior drug conviction OR two previous drug-related arrests OR be a first-time offender with a recorded history of drug abuse;
- Also have a pending felony or state jail felony drug charge;
- Over the age of 17 years old;
- Legal resident or citizen of Harris County, Texas; and
- Have a documented drug dependency
Defenses for Felony Marijuana Charges in Texas
The penalties surrounding a felony-level marijuana charge can be daunting. Fortunately, you have options. You can decide to hire quality legal representation for your defense. A skilled attorney can assess your charges and build a strong defense for you.
Listed below are some admissible defenses your attorney can implement in court.
- Unaware of Possession – A large element of a possession charge is intent. The prosecution must prove you were aware of the presence of marijuana. Your defense can argue you never even knew there was cannabis on you, or a third-party person left the marijuana on your property.
- Necessity Defense – You might be able to impose the necessity defense if you have a medical marijuana card. The defense could argue a “real, imminent and impending” harm would have happened to you if you didn’t possess or use your medicinal cannabis.
- Illegal Searches – Law enforcement must follow certain procedures when conducting a search and seizure. They must have probable cause and, in some cases, will need a warrant to search your belongings. Your defense could argue the evidence found by police officers is invalid since it came from an illegal search and seizure.
Texas Chapters for NORML – Visit the official website of the Texas chapters for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Access the site to learn more about cannabis crimes in Texas, news regarding marijuana legislation and information about NORML.
STAR Program in Harris County – Visit the official website of Harris County District Courts to learn more about the Success Through Addiction Recovery (STAR) program. Access the site to learn the eligibility requirements, the judges on the docket and contact information.
Marijuana Defense Lawyer in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony marijuana possession crime, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney. You can find quality legal representation by contacting Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. Our team has the experience and resources you need for your case.
Call us now at (713) 224-5529 to set up a consultation surrounding your charges. We can overlook your case to see what the best possible option is for you. Our offices are located in Houston, but we represent people throughout communities in Harris County. Some of these areas include Tomball, Bellaire, and West University Place.
This article was last updated on March 11th, 2019.