After years of throwing people in jail for possessing small amounts of marijuana, the city of Dallas made a major change in how to handle this. It was announced that people caught with small amounts of marijuana would no longer be arrested for possession of marijuana.
This is partially good news for those who choose to possess marijuana for personal use. It is still against the law, but the initial consequence is now not so harsh. Before you leave the house with weed (not my advice), make sure you understand how both Dallas marijuana laws and Texas marijuana possession laws will affect you in 2018.
The Dallas Marijuana Cite and Release Law Explained
As of December 1st, 2017, anyone caught in possession of four ounces of marijuana or less within the Dallas city limits, will be given a citation for the possession. They will then be released at the scene without being taken to jail. This will require you to appear in a Dallas Criminal Court on the date specified on the citation to face the criminal charge. The citations are not like a traffic ticket. It is a notice to your criminal court date.
The non-arrest policy for Dallas marijuana does not apply if you are charged with intent to distribute, or if you are committing another crime (Class B misdemeanor or higher) in addition to marijuana possession. For example, getting pulled over with a simultaneous dangerous drug charge. Another example might be if you are suspected of DWI and have marijuana on you, then there will be an arrest and charge for both crimes. (See also: What to do after getting a DWI)
Marijuana is NOT Legal in Dallas
Unfortunately, many people mistake the new cite and release policy for legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in Dallas. On the contrary, Texas marijuana possession laws are still in full effect. Possessing marijuana is a crime in the city of Dallas and Texas. Understand we are not in Colorado. Saying “But it is legal in Colorado” will do anything to help you. If you are caught for simple marijuana possession, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. A Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge is punishable by a fine up to a $4,000 and one year in jail.
Texas Marijuana Possession Laws Still Make Weed Illegal Statewide
Although jail time is unlikely for a first-time offender, being caught with marijuana still means a potential conviction, probation, drug testing, and further repercussions that follow. Of course, weed laws in Texas differ in punishment—with heavy dependence on the amount you possess.
Should you be caught with more than four ounces of marijuana, your situation could significantly worsen. Possessing more than 4 ounces of marijuana is a felony in the city of Dallas, as well as in the State of Texas. Furthermore, the police could allege that you were in possession with intent to distribute, which is an enhanced felony charge – even if only for personal use. Possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana also makes you ineligible for the cite and release policy.
Dallas Marijuana Problems? Call Wilder Defense
Do not be fooled. The Dallas cite and release policy will not lessen the seriousness of getting “busted” for possessing marijuana in Dallas. The new cite and release policy in Dallas saves you a visit to the Dallas County Jail. It also does not prevent you from having to hire a lawyer, go to court, and face the potentially disastrous impact of the criminal charge.
Criminal charges of any kind threaten almost every aspect of your life: freedom, family, employment, finances, reputation, and peace of mind. If you or someone you know is facing Texas marijuana charges (Dallas or elsewhere), call Dallas drug lawyer Doug Wilder immediately.