Even though most states have legalized marijuana, at least for medicinal purposes, the number of drug possession arrests has increased sharply since 2017. Texas laws are particularly harsh in this area. Drug possession laws mandate stiff penalties, even if the amount of drugs is very small.
Redshirt junior Shai Werts should start against LSU on August 31, after laboratory tests confirmed that the "cocaine" he had in his car was bird poop.
According to the FBI, police officers make one drug possession every twenty seconds. So, simple possession is by far the most common drug charge in Texas. Although possession of marijuana is usually a misdemeanor, illegally possessing any other controlled substance, including a prescription pain pill, is usually a felony.
Most Tarrant County drug crimes are simple possession cases. That's true for 85 percent of drug cases overall, and over 90 percent of marijuana prosecutions.
In the 2018-19 session, Texas lawmakers expanded the medical marijuana rules and legitimized CBD oil. However, a bill to decriminalize low-level possession failed.
Largely because of the extremely broad definitions in Texas Penal Code Section 49.04, "drugged driving" cases are more common than "drunk driving" cases in many jurisdictions. Under Texas law, any "substance" can cause intoxication. That substance could be an illegal street drug, like heroin, a prescription painkiller, like Oxycontin, an over-the-counter drug, like NyQuil, or a consumer product, like caffeine.
Drug possession cases, mostly marijuana cases, make up about 85 percent of the drug arrests in Parker County. Depending on the type and amount of substance, these offenses are usually felonies. If the defendant has no criminal record, pretrial diversion or deferred adjudication may be an option. But in very serious cases, or if you have been through the system before, Parker County prosecutors rarely make these generous offers.
In a series of decisions during the 1960s, the Supreme Court applied the Fourth Amendment and other Constitutional protections to the states. So, Tarrant County law enforcement agencies must respect the same rules as the FBI, ATF, DEA, and other federal law enforcement agencies.
A partial decriminalization measure cleared an important procedural hurdle, but there are still roadblocks ahead.