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San Antonio Criminal Law Blog

HB 81 moves forward to reduce marijuana penalties

The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee sent House Bill 81 to the House for a vote. HB 81 reduces the charges for having an ounce of marijuana or less, or marihuana as it is written in the bill. It would eliminate jail time and threat of arrest. Instead, the offense would merit a fine of $250. 

Sentencing guidelines for possession of marijuana are currently based on the weight of the marijuana. Possession of just 2 ounces or less is a Class B misdemeanor. A person could face a sentence up to 180 days in jail and have a fine up to $2,000. Having 2 to 4 ounces doubles the penalty and makes it a Class A misdemeanor. Anything over 4 ounces becomes a felony and has even stricter sentencing guidelines. 

Man charged with drug and gun possession following traffic stop

On April 16, a 23-year-old Texas man was taken into police custody for drug possession. Pinehurst authorities stated that he was accused of the drug charges following a traffic stop.

The accused man was pulled over at about 11 a.m. near the East Martin Street and Strickland Drive intersection. The police officer conducting the stop allegedly found probable cause to search the vehicle, during which he found what was believed to be marijuana. After the man was taken to the Orange County Correctional Facility, another search of the vehicle turned up two handguns. It was believed that one of the handguns was stolen.

Dallas law reduces penalties for marijuana possession

On April 12, the Dallas City Council voted to cite and release those who are found to possess small amounts of marijuana. For an individual to be ticketed under the law, he or she must be in possession of less than four ounces of marijuana, live in Dallas County and not be charged with any other crimes. While Texas law allows other crimes to be covered under a cite and release program, this measure applies to marijuana only.

Supporters of such a measure believe that it would prevent young people and people of color from unfairly being branded as criminals for life. Proponents also say that it could be a step toward solving the recidivism problem in the area. Individuals who are cited as opposed to charged with a felony may have a greater chance of correcting their mistakes and living a higher quality of life.

Alleged marijuana operation head turns himself in to police

On April 7, it was reported that a man who was thought to be the leader of a drug trafficking ring that was active in East Texas turned himself into authorities. Officials from Smith County said that the man was responsible for overseeing a minimum of 15 marijuana cultivation sites that were located in numerous counties.

In late July 2015, multiple law enforcement agencies began a joint investigation that was dubbed Operation Joint Venture after finding three marijuana cultivation sites. At this point, an estimated 22,000 marijuana plants were seized. The accused man became the subject of the investigation. The man, who is a U.S. citizen, was considered to be a fugitive.

Texas lawmakers propose reducing penalties for marijuana

Signs of a softening attitude toward marijuana have emerged from the Texas House of Representatives. A bill meant to switch possession of one ounce of marijuana or less to a civil infraction instead of a criminal offense has been approved by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

If the bill becomes law, then a person could not be arrested for possessing marijuana alone. People in possession of a small amount of the botanical substance would face a fine that could be as high as $250 on the first or second offense. A third offense would increase the fine to $500 and at that point become a criminal offense classified as a Class C misdemeanor.

Former TCU quarterback facing drug charges

A former Texas Christian University quarterback was taken into custody by Dallas police during the early morning hours of March 27 following an alleged drunk driving accident. While Trevone Boykin was not behind the wheel of the car involved, police claim to have found 7 grams of marijuana in a bag the 23-year-old former signal caller is said to have admitted was his. Boykin was transported to the Dallas County Jail for processing, and his bond was subsequently set at $500.

Police reports indicate that Boykin was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle being driven by a 25-year-old woman on Howell Street in central Dallas at about 2:15 a.m. Police responded to the area when they received reports of a vehicle being driven into a bar. The woman is said to have reversed her vehicle into the establishment at a high rate of speed. Seven of the bar's patrons were transported to area hospitals with injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening.

Underage drinking, driving and Texas law

In Texas, as in many other states, it is illegal for you to drink and drive if you are under the age of 21. The state uses your blood alcohol concentration level to determine if you are driving while intoxicated. If there is any amount of alcohol in your system that can be detected, you could be charged with DWI. You will also run afoul of the law if you are found to have an open can of beer or bottle of alcohol on the passenger seat of your car. In short, alcohol and driving do not mix, and if you think otherwise, you could be in for some serious legal difficulties.

2 Texas rappers have their charges dismissed

Two Houston rappers who are known as Paul Wall and Baby Bash were cleared by a grand jury on March 21. The pair had been charged along with nine other defendants for organized crime for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to sell THC.

The rappers were arrested in December after police officers raided a Christmas party in December. Wall, whose real name is Paul Slayton, stated that he had been facing up to life in prison if he had been indicted and then convicted of the offenses.

13 accused of being involved in 15 marijuana fields

According to a March 7 report, Texas law enforcement agencies have taken multiple people who were believed to be involved in various marijuana fields into custody. Fifteen different marijuana fields have been discovered in multiple East Texas counties since 2015.

The investigation began in July 2015, after three marijuana sites were destroyed. Approximately 22,000 marijuana plants were seized. At this time, some of the accused individuals were identified. One of these individuals was identified as a leader of a drunk trafficking organization. Additional marijuana fields were then located. Ultimately, approximately 77,000 marijuana plants were seized, amounting to about $101 million in street value.

More African-Americans are wrongfully convicted than others

Texas leads the nation in the number of people who are convicted of crimes and later exonerated, followed by Illinois. In addition to the problems inherent with wrongful convictions, a study has found that African-Americans were much likelier to be wrongfully convicted of drug offenses, sex assaults and murders than were others.

The National Registry of Exonerations examined convictions dating from 1989 to 2016. During that time period, 1,900 defendants were exonerated after being convicted of crimes that they did not commit. Of that number, 47 percent were African-American, a percentage which is three times greater than the percentage of the population that they make up.

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