Conroe Criminal Lawyer - Navigating Possession of Marijuana Arrests in Montgomery County, Texas
Conroe Criminal Lawyer - Navigating Possession of Marijuana Arrests in Montgomery County
Montgomery County remains one of the areas where possession of marijuana can still lead to legal trouble. If you're caught with cannabis in this region, understanding the ins and outs of the law becomes crucial. Let's delve into everything you need to know.
Harris County vs. Montgomery County: A Contrasting Scenario
First, it's essential to recognize the geographical differences within Texas. If you're in Harris County, you're in luck regarding misdemeanor-level possession of marijuana offenses. In Harris County, these arrests are rare, primarily focused on larger quantities like pounds. However, the story is different in Montgomery County, where even possessing a small amount of marijuana can lead to legal consequences.
The License Suspension Conundrum
One lesser-known aspect of a marijuana possession arrest is the potential suspension of your driver's license. This underscores the importance of seeking legal representation, as it can help you either dismiss the charges or minimize their impact on your record. The Texas Transportation Code Section 521.372 states that a person's driver's license automatically gets suspended upon a final conviction under the Controlled Substances Act. Notably, possession of marijuana falls under this act.
Challenging the Arrest: Reasonable Suspicion
To work towards getting your case dismissed, the first step is to scrutinize the evidence held by the District Attorney's office. Typically, this evidence comes from body cameras or dash cameras used by arresting officers. The critical question here is whether the police had "Reasonable Suspicion" to pull you over.
Reasonable Suspicion, as defined by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in a 2011 case, involves specific, articulable facts combined with rational inferences that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the detained individual is, has been, or soon will be engaged in criminal activity. This standard is objective, meaning it doesn't rely on the officer's subjective beliefs but on the facts known at the time of detention.
Totality of the Circumstances
Courts also consider the "totality of the circumstances," which means they evaluate all available information. This implies that seemingly innocent individual actions, when combined, might raise suspicions of criminal activity.
Common examples of Reasonable Suspicion for traffic offenses in possession of marijuana cases include speeding, failure to signal a lane change, issues with vehicle registration stickers, obscured license plates, and parking for an extended time in a residential area or in a suspicious manner. These seemingly minor infractions can serve as grounds for a police stop.
For instance, parking away from your residence to smoke marijuana may lead to neighbors reporting it as suspicious activity, triggering a police response. However, recent legal precedents, such as the State vs. Garcia case, suggest that if an officer's actions during a stop go beyond reasonable bounds, your rights may have been violated.
Defending Against Probable Cause
Another defense strategy involves challenging the search itself based on a lack of probable cause. In possession of marijuana cases, the police often discover the substance in vehicles. There's an "automobile exception" to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement, allowing searches without a warrant if there's probable cause. However, if the police lack probable cause, the search may be illegal.
Industrial Hemp Developments
In recent years, Texas introduced the Industrial Hemp program, allowing individuals to possess hemp with less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. However, simply claiming it's hemp might not prevent an arrest in Montgomery County. To be part of this program, you need specific licenses and documentation. If your hemp meets the legal requirements, you might avoid marijuana charges altogether, as the definition of marijuana in Texas hinges on Delta 9 THC levels.
Understanding the intricacies of possession of marijuana cases in Montgomery County is vital if you find yourself facing such charges. Seeking legal counsel, such as from my firm, can make a significant difference in your case's outcome. Remember that if you found this information helpful, it's crucial to stay informed and protect your rights.