Dallas City Council Passes Cite And Release Program
Dallas City Council recently voted to change their existing marijuana laws. A new “cite-and-release” program will no longer result in individuals who are caught with less than four ounces of marijuana being imprisoned. Instead, effective October 1, 2017, law enforcement will no longer arrest individuals for these offenses, but only issue a citation. Individuals in these cases will have their marijuana measured and taken into evidence by law enforcement. Additionally, the suspect must provide a thumbprint and sign a summons to show at the Dallas County Courthouse on the specified date. Individuals who decline to attend this hearing will then have a warrant issued for their immediate arrest.
Excluded by request from the program, however, are Collin, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Denton counties. In 2009, law enforcement in Austin was granted a similar option to cite individuals for marijuana rather than perform arrests, provided that the individual later appears in court. With many states revising laws concerning marijuana possession, it is important to understand the recent changes that have occurred in the state of Texas.
Other Important New Marijuana Laws in Texas
In 2015, the Texas legislature authorized one bill into law, Senate Bill 339, which authorized the use of oils that contain cannabidiol, an element of marijuana that has been identified as able to treat various medical conditions including epilepsy. There have also been numerous bills proposed regarding how law enforcement in the state of Texas will respond to marijuana.
Texas Penalties for Marijuana Law
As of 2017, Denton County and the rest of the state of Texas that does not follow this recently passed law still punishes individuals who are charged with marijuana possession. The criminal penalties for a conviction of marijuana possession depend on the amount of marijuana an individual is found to possess. These offenses are classified in the following manner:
- Less Than Two Ounces of Marijuana. This offense is a Class B misdemeanor that can result in a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to six months in jail.
- Two to Four Ounces of Marijuana. This offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor that can result in up to a $4,000 fine and jail time of up to 12 months.
- Greater than Four Ounces of Marijuana. This offense is classified as a felony that can result in up to a $10,000 and a minimum of 180 days in jail.
Drug Free Zones
While possession of marijuana is illegal in all parts of the state of Texas, a person can face additional penalties for possession of marijuana in a “drug-free zone.” A “drug-free zone” includes arcades, medical facilities, playgrounds, public swimming pools, schools, and many other areas where a large number of children are present.
Contact a Denton Criminal Defense Attorney
While there are some recent laws making the legalization of marijuana a possibility in the state of Texas, marijuana use can still result in individuals facing various severe penalties. If you are charged with a marijuana-related offense, do not hesitate to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer. At Wheeler Law Office, our legal counsel has helped many other individuals in similar situations obtain the best possible outcome.
(image courtesy of Get Budding)