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Marijuana Possession: Conviction can Mean Jail Time

A suburban Houston man recently pleaded guilty to possession of 78 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute after his arrest at the U.S. border at Brownsville. He had packed the marijuana into the tires of his pick-up truck.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Edith "Eddie" Camacho faces five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 at his November sentencing hearing.

Some people might agree that Camacho deserves a stiff sentence for attempting to smuggle an illegal drug into the country. But most people arrested on drug charges in Texas possess considerably less than 78 pounds; most are in possession of small amounts intended for personal use.

Casual Users can Face Severe Sentences

Yet these casual, recreational users of marijuana can face harsh penalties, too. If you're arrested in Texas for marijuana possession, you might face the following penalties:

  • Less than two ounces: 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine
  • Between two ounces and four ounces: a year in jail and a $4,000 fine
  • Between four ounces and one pound: a minimum of 180 days in jail, with a maximum of two years, plus a fine of up to $10,000

Those penalties are all for possession of marijuana, not for the sale of the drug or for possession with intent to distribute.

The sale of even a small amount -- a transaction often carried out casually between friends -- can mean jail time as well: up to one year in jail, plus up to a $4,000 fine for selling less than one quarter of an ounce of marijuana.

A Wide Range of Sentences

Some people convicted of simple marijuana possession are sentenced to probation and drug counseling rather than jail time. The range of possible sentences is wide and dependent on the charges, past convictions you may have and a plea your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors.

When months or even years of your life are on the line in a case involving illegal possession of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine or prescription medications, it's wise to have an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney on your side to defend your rights and freedom.

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