In recent years, marijuana has become more generally accepted, and several states have legalized recreational marijuana. Even so, state and federal controlled substances laws have lagged behind public opinion. Texas has some of the most stringent laws concerning marijuana cultivation, possession, and distribution. Texas prosecutors take drug-related charges seriously and will aggressively prosecute those charged with marijuana cultivation.
Discuss Your Case With a Houston Marijuana Attorney
If you or your loved one have been charged with marijuana cultivation in Houston, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. If you are convicted of marijuana cultivation, the penalties are severe. You may be facing extensive jail time and costly fines. Ceja Law Firm PLLC has extensive experience representing clients facing marijuana cultivation charges. We will work with you to develop the best legal defense possible in your case. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
Texas Marijuana Cultivation Laws
In Texas, there isn’t a specific marijuana cultivation law. Instead, the police officer who arrested you will charge you with either possession of marijuana or delivery of marijuana. When a defendant is caught cultivating or growing marijuana, he or she will likely face possession charges unless law enforcement has evidence that the defendant was selling the drugs.
According to statute §481.121 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act, a person commits the offense of marijuana possession if he or she knows or intentionally possesses a usable quantity of marijuana. For those accused of cultivating marijuana or using a grow house, the quantity of plants or usable marijuana will be considered when prosecutors determine the classification of the drug charge. The greater the quantity of marijuana involved, the more serious the penalties.
The Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation in Texas
If you’ve been charged with marijuana cultivation, it’s important that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for marijuana cultivation are serious and include jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record. The penalties for cultivating marijuana depend on the quantity of marijuana involved. When a person has a relatively small amount of marijuana, specifically 2 oz or less, they will face a Class B misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to 180 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. When a person is found with between 2 and 4 oz of marijuana, they will face a class A misdemeanor charge that carries up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Marijuana Cultivation Is Typically a Felony Level Charge in Texas
Most defendants involved in marijuana cultivation or grow houses are charged with a state jail felony, at a minimum. When the amount of marijuana is between 4 oz and 5 lbs, the defendant will face up to two years in state jail and/or a maximum fine of up to $10,000. This crime is considered a state jail felony. When the amount of marijuana in possession is between 5 and 50 lbs, the defendant will face a felony of the third degree. The penalties include up to 10 years in state prison and/or a maximum fine of up to $10,000.
When the alleged amount of marijuana and possession is between 50 and 2000 pounds, the defendant faces a felony in the second degree. This charge carries up to 20 years in state prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. The most serious marijuana cultivation penalties occur when over 2,000 lb of marijuana is involved. In this case, the defendant can face life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Marijuana Grow Houses in Houston
The owner of a house or occupant of the house used to grow or cultivate marijuana can be charged with marijuana cultivation in Texas. The definition of a marijuana grow house is a house specifically used to cultivate marijuana plants or marijuana. Grow houses typically have extensive irrigation systems, electrical wiring, and lighting systems that attempt to replicate the marijuana plant’s natural habitat conditions.
Grow houses can be indoor or outdoor and include any type of home, building, or structure, including sheds. Anytime law enforcement officers enter a building or structure they suspect is being used as a marijuana grow house, they have to obtain a warrant to search the property and seize any evidence. In some cases, law enforcement will arrest individuals present at the grow house who were not involved in marijuana cultivation. If you’ve been charged with marijuana cultivation, it’s wise to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Legal Defenses Against Marijuana Cultivation Charges in Texas
A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to carefully review your case and determine the best legal strategy for your defense. First, your attorney will determine any constitutional violations, such as an illegal search and seizure. When law enforcement officers suspect that a building or structure is being used as a marijuana grow house, they need to obtain a warrant to search the property.
When they search the property, they will seize any evidence they find. They often find evidence such as the presence of mass quantities of fertilizer, certain types of landscaping tools, and the smell of marijuana. In some cases, law enforcement officers do not have the required probable cause to obtain a warrant. In other cases, they may enter a property without the required warrants. A defense attorney can petition the court to dismiss any evidence gathered because of a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.
In other cases, the marijuana may not have been weighed correctly, or perhaps the marijuana did not belong to the defendant. The defendant can argue that a mistake has occurred and that he or she was not in actual or constructive possession of the marijuana.
Contact a Houston Marijuana Cultivation Attorney Today
Have you been charged with marijuana cultivation in Houston? If so, Ceja Law Firm PLLC can provide you with a robust legal defense. The committed Houston criminal defense attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC will carefully evaluate your case and develop the best legal defense possible. Contact our Houston marijuana defense attorneys today.