Small Amounts of Marijuana May Be Decriminalized in Austin, TX
As marijuana laws grow more and more permissive around the country and Texas lawmakers try to clarify what is and isn’t marijuana, Austin’s city council is considering a proposal that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of weed completely.
According to a report in the Texas Tribune, the proposal would direct law enforcement to refrain from arresting people or issuing citations in low-level marijuana cases where it would not be possible to chemically distinguish between hemp and marijuana. In addition, the city would be prohibited from spending money or directing employees to perform such tests.
Marijuana Possession Still Illegal in Texas
While this move may effectively decriminalize the possession of personal amounts of marijuana within the Austin city limits, it’s important to realize that possession of the drug is still illegal within the state of Texas. If this seems confusing, that’s understandable. What it means is that while Austin police may not enforce marijuana laws for low-level offenses, that does not mean that state troopers or other law enforcement agencies will not. As a result, if you are caught with any amount of marijuana, you still may be subject to serious criminal penalties.
A Drug Conviction Can Result in Serious Collateral Consequences
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime related to the possession of marijuana or any other drug, it’s important to understand that the consequences you are facing can go far beyond the sentence ordered by the court. A drug conviction appearing on your record can result in significant collateral consequences, including:
- Difficulty getting a job
- Problems renting an apartment
- Sanctions or discipline imposed by your school
- Lowered chances of admission to a college or university
- Problems with professional licensure
To avoid the collateral consequences of a drug conviction, you need to avoid a conviction in the first place. For this reason, you should always call a lawyer if you are facing allegations of a drug crime.
Defenses May Be Available
Just because the police arrested you for marijuana possession does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. In many cases, there are defenses available. First of all, the state needs to be able to prove that the substance in your possession was, in fact, marijuana, something that law enforcement has had difficulty with since the legalization of hemp. In addition, it may be possible to exclude any evidence the police gathered from court if they violated your rights during the search process. Finally, even if there are no defenses available in your case, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain that allows you to avoid a conviction from appearing on your record.
Call Our Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Denton Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of the unlawful possession of marijuana or any other drug crime, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with attorney Brent Bowen, call our office today at 940-222-2488 or contact us online