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Texas: Desperately in Need of an Oil Change

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Charlotte, TX criminal defense attorneyGod help the poor kids who cross the border between Colorado and Texas with hash oil thinking the consequences of getting arrested are minor. Let’s say it was bought legally in some Boulder dispensary and now they’re eastbound and down for San Antonio to share with their friends. If they think that getting caught means a minor misdemeanor and maybe some community service, they’re in for a rude awakening. 

Under the Texas Penal Code, even the smallest amount (under a gram) of hash oil or edibles will get you a felony arrest that could land you in prison for up to two years and a conviction that will tag along behind you for the rest of your life. With standard marijuana, you would need four times the amount to get a similar punishment. If you happen to be carrying four ounces or more of the oil (not a lot) and an officer arbitrarily thinks you’re carrying for the purposes of sale, you’re looking at up to life in prison. To reach that level with standard marijuana, you would need to be carrying over 50 pounds.

Don’t think it could happen? Take poor Jacob Lavaro in Williamson County who decided to sell homemade pot brownies and got charged for the weight of two pans (660 grams) and charged with a first-degree felony (5-99 Years in Prison). Fortunately, scientists reverse engineered the amount down to 2.5 grams, but let’s be honest, Jacob wasn’t thinking about any of that the day he was charged with a first-degree felony. He was probably thinking about never going home again. 

This isn’t about your personal or political beliefs in the current laws on marijuana. But this is our reality: the sky is blue, don’t mess with John Wick’s dogs, and a little bit of hash oil could ruin everything you ever worked for. These laws aren’t fair, no matter how you look at it. They need to change.    

The safest way to cover yourself is to make sure you check yourself at the state line. People have plenty of reasons for why they may want to carry marijuana from Colorado. I don’t question their logic or reasoning.  But nothing is worth your freedom or what you’ve spent your life struggling to accomplish. Ditch it before the border. 

But here are a few things to remember if you find yourself with a trunk full of illegal gummy bears and staring at a rearview mirror full of red and blue strobe lights:

  1. An officer can’t search your vehicle without probable cause or permission. If that officer smells marijuana, however, it’s not your choice anymore. Game over. He’s going into your car. But in the absence of that remember the choice is yours. 
  2. Be respectful at all times to officers but remember you have a right to remain silent.
  3. Take care of any traffic tickets or outstanding warrants that could land you in handcuffs and subject your car to inventory (search). This also goes for driving without a valid drivers license.  

In five years, this article could be relegated to the blog dustbin of history. But for right now, realize that even though the border between Colorado and Texas may be narrow, the difference in laws between the two couldn’t be wider. And what you don’t know about these laws, could ruin your life. 

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