I have a specific question regarding a recent arrest in [XXX] Texas.

My boyfriend was arrested for possession of marijuana (less than two grams) during a traffic stop – he had recently had body work done on his car and the front license plate was missing.

This is his first offense and he was very compliant and was released on a PR bond (after the magistrate had made fun of him first and said he looked like a girl about a half dozen times – quite unprofessional in my opinion).

Anyways, he travels out of the country quite a bit for his job and he’s worried that if he is given a long probation sentence it would cause him to lose his job.

Another friend of mine got a DUI and elected to pay a hefty fine and do a little jail time in lieu of probation so that he too could leave the country.

Would this be possible in my boyfriend’s case (I know you can’t predict what will happen, but I’m wondering if that is even a possibility or if probation is mandatory for a class b misdemeanor first offense)?

He is currently in the process of finding a defense attorney with experience in possession cases.

[Anonymous – via email]

Answer:

Class B Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana is punishable by ‘up to’ 180 days in jail and ‘up to’ a $2000 fine. This means a sentence, after conviction, of as low as 1 day in jail with credit for the time he spent in jail already with a $0 fine is a possibility. 

Unfortunately, it’s only possible to do this if convicted, and while I don’t practice in [XXX] Texas, I imagine that some form of deferred probation without a conviction is a very reasonable possibility.

The local probation department will want him to be employed, so traveling may have to be pre-arranged, but will not likely be prohibited.  If we knew in advance that only a final conviction with jail time, or a deferred probation withou a conviction were possible, he still might need to at least consider the deferred to avoid the conviction – and to set himself up to eventually file a motion for non disclosure to seal the records.

Finally, with no prior arrests of any sort, a good defense lawyer will possibly be able to get your boyfriend a reduction to a Class C (traffic ticket level) offense, or perhaps even a dismissal, with counseling and/or community service done up front. Obviously, either of these outcomes are within the range of best case scenario, and I appreciate your realizing up front I can’t predict a particular result.

However, to answer the question directly, there is no mandatory probation for possession of marijuana in Texas – as is there is, for example, for 3rd offense enhanced Class B public intoxication.