No Jail for Marijuana in 2019?

Trey Porter

January 14, 2019 • 3 min read

There are new laws coming this year.  I do think that in this new year, the new DA has stated that he’s gonna work with law enforcement agencies to make it so that if someone is charged or found to be in possession of marijuana, at a small level.

Full Transcript

Hey guys, Trey Porter here. Happy New Year, everybody. 2019’s gonna bring a lot of changes. At the criminal justice level here in Bexar County, here in San Antonio, there are gonna be a lot of changes as it relates to what happens in the courtroom, what happens with crime and punishment. We have a number of new judges that are brand new that have just taken the bench. It’s gonna be interesting to see what their temperament is like. Some judges have been judges before. Many of them have not been. So, it’s going to be a wait and see kind of thing.

New District Attorney

We also have a new district attorney here in town. His name is Joe Gonzales. He is a Democrat. He’s expressed that he’s going to be rolling out a number of new programs and initiatives with a focus on restorative justice. One of the things that he spoke about at length during the campaign was a cite and release program. Now we already have some version of this cite and release program here in Bexar County, although DA Gonzales has talked about expanding it. Now this will mean that number of different low-level misdemeanor offenses will now be able to, a person charged with them will be able to be cited and then released, rather than arrested, taken into custody, and forced to go through the nightmare process that is magistration here in Bexar County. So that’s a cost-effective and efficient thing which is good, both for the individual, but it’s also good for us taxpayers because hopefully it will save us money and streamline things. What does that mean for someone who is committing, or charged with committing, one of these low-level offenses? Well right now, we don’t have an exhaustive list.

Possession of Marijuana

But one of the offenses that I expect to be on that list is possession of marijuana. I do think that in this new year, the new DA has stated that he’s gonna work with law enforcement agencies to make it so that if someone is charged or found to be in possession of marijuana, at a small level. We’re talking probably between zero to four ounces, that covers the misdemeanor range of marijuana. That if they don’t have a criminal record or if they qualify in other ways, that they’ll be able to be cited and then released. So one, that’s a good thing.

But, two, it’s important to note that that doesn’t change the possible punishment range. So, a lot of people have a relaxed feeling about marijuana, because it’s legal in so many states and areas now in our country. Unfortunately, here in Texas, it is as illegal as it has ever been. So if you’re found with up to two ounces, you could go to jail for six months. If you’re found with up to four ounces, you could be facing one year in jail. There are probation and fines and fees and classes involved in all of those things as an alternative as well. So, it’s important to note, that if you are in possession of marijuana if you do find yourself charged with that, nothing has changed yet.

So take it very seriously, it’s important to get an attorney who knows the ropes on those types of cases. If you are charged with that or know someone who has been, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’ll be happy to give you as much good advice as I can about what to do. And if you’d like to hire me to get in there and try to knock the case out for you, work towards a dismissal, or something else that will work for your record and your situation, then I’ll be happy to do that.

So like I said, we’re gonna have a lot of changes hopefully this year with the way things are done. You can check back here to see how those changes materialize. But here, at the beginning of the year, not a whole lot has changed. So I want to wish everybody out there a happy and healthy New Year and I hope this is your best year. Check back here for some of the changes and we’ll talk then. Thank you.

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