Articles Posted in Drug Offenses

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Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney
Weed in your Carmex?  Why not, because weed makes everything better, right?  At least until you’re arrested.  According to advocates, marijuana has many medicinal benefits such as pain relief in addition to anti-inflammatory properties that could prove to be beneficial in the treatment of certain skin disorders such as acne or eczema.  Are we going to see a huge surge in cosmetics containing weed such as Mary Kay Baked?  Maybe. The market is already seeing the introduction of many lip-balm like products containing THC or marijuana.

The big question is, does it get you high?  In a word, yes.  But how does that happen if THC cannot be absorbed through the skin?  Well, you have to lick your lips over and over. Doesn’t that negate what you are using the cannabis Chapstick for anyway?  Probably.  Sure, you are going to look silly repeatedly licking your lips, but what do you care, you are high.

Is there a pleasant smell associated like medicated Chapstick?  Nope, it smells like weed.  Therefore, you are probably not going to want to apply this in the office or classroom. Incidentally, parties where people kiss after applying the marijuana infused lip-balm is what all the cool kids are doing now.

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Marijuana Defense Attorney
Ah, this brings me back to the days of the Phototron.  Who doesn’t remember this icon located in the advertisements at the back of nearly every magazine back in the day?  Billed as the only all in one self-contained hydroponic grow box.  The picture always showed either kitchen herbs or some type of house plant inside the box.  As if anyone would grow anything in this box but marijuana.  The Phototron was to “pay for itself harvest after harvest.”  As I recall, this thing had a hefty price tag. Somewhere in the neighborhood of around $500.  That’s a lot of basil one would have to grow in order to make up for the cost of a Phototron.

The “Phototron”

Marijuana Grow Operation
The Stack!t advertises as a way to dry all your “garden herbs” at once in this giant drying rack. At over six feet tall, one could put a lot of herb in this thing.  Although, I would advise against this little number.  Decades ago, I went over to a friend’s house and discovered a small-scale marijuana grow operation.  The smell of weed upon walking in the door was overpowering. Just what you want when the police show up trying to chase off a burglar.  Thankfully, this friend later went through a divorce and subsequently got rid of all of his marijuana grow operation.  That little project was a felony waiting to happen.  I have personally witnessed small hobbies like this turn into a major problem for clients.  In Lubbock, it was always rumored that law enforcement had a plane that could detect infrared heat signatures.  As everyone knows, these devices do exist.  If you have a grow operation in your house, the heat signature is going to light up your house like a Christmas tree.  Remember THC and marijuana are still illegal in Texas.  If you get caught with a grow operation, it is going to result in a hefty charge.  In a raid, I have seen law enforcement pull up the plant and weigh the whole thing; roots, dirt, and all which tends to be heavy.  The higher the weight the higher the penalty.

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THC infused products
The next time you’re sore from overdoing it at the gym think about taking an Epsom salts bath.  Better yet, take an Epsom salts bath with some weed in it.  These days it seems that weed makes everything work a little bit better.  Right?  Or at least that is what we are hearing from the states that have legalized marijuana. Sadly, Texas isn’t one of those states. The bad part about cannabis being legal in some states and not in others is that when people get caught in possession of these products in a state like Texas, they are in big trouble.  How big is the trouble?  Well, it depends on the weight.  But the trouble is usually Hulk Hogan big.  These THC infused products are coming in at third-degree felonies and up. In fact, the majority of cases I see are usually second-degree felonies.  How bad is a second-degree felony in Texas?  Well, it could land you in the big house, that’s right, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division for up to twenty years.  To a young adult with no criminal history that can cause a person to soil their armor.

So, what about marijuana laced bath product called Soak?  Well, it is one of the many products that are being churned out in the fast-growing medical marijuana market currently sweeping the states.  Soak is the brainchild of Whoopi Goldberg and another stoner that has a reputation for making wicked edibles.  Soak is promoted as helping women with PMS and menstrual relief.  So just what is Epsom salts?  Well, it is not the salt that you use on your food.  Epsom is a place in England that the salt is named after.  If you take this salt orally you will tend to fill your pants.  Yeah, and not in a good way.  The product is composed of magnesium sulfate which is a natural laxative. According to stoner science, your body needs both magnesium and sulfate. According to tree huggers, these two minerals have strong detoxifying and natural healing properties.  And we all know that cannabis offers even more healing properties.  Whoa, dude I can feel my body shedding the toxins.  The theory goes that that when you soak in this stuff it magically gets into your body through your skin.  Sure, that makes sense.  Brings to mind that I was so wasted last night from my medicinal beer bath, but I digress.  Yeah, so the absorbing through the skin theory has never been proven.  But it sounds cool, right?  Soaking in hot water usually makes you feel pretty good anyway. If you really want to try it, you can pick up some plain old Epsom salts at the grocery store for next to nothing. Add the weed however you like. But if you are dead set in giving Whoopi Goldberg your money then you should pick up this product.

The bottom line is, every week I meet new clients that have been arrested for possession of products containing THC or some other cannabis derivative.  Over the next few weeks I will discuss a few of these products I have stumbled upon and hopefully help someone avoid jail time over something that they had no idea would have such serious consequences.  So, if you or a loved one has been busted for any type of THC product, edible, or vape pen give me a call.  Don’t let a stupid mistake ruin your life with a criminal record.  You need an experienced criminal defense attorney with a track record of defending marijuana, THC, and other cannabis related cases.  Call us today.

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Marijuana Attorney - cannabis and its usage. marijuana leaf and marijuana products isolated on white background. cosmetics, hemp milk, hemp oil, cookies, brownies and nutritional supplements.
Being a criminal defense attorney, I try to keep up with the latest fad drugs to hit the market in order to better serve my clients and help them understand what they are being charged with when it comes to controlled substances.  This week I had a young man come in that was arrested for being in possession of marijuana.  However, when the charging instrument was filed it turned out that he was being charged by the Montgomery County District Attorney for possession of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony which carries a possible sentence of two to twenty years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.  Wow, that is a whole lot scarier than simple pot possession.   Needless to say, my client was scared to death.  That is a pretty hefty sentence.  Luckily, the case was picked up by an assistant district attorney with a great deal of experience and very good discretion with these types of cases.  Thanks to him we were able to get the charge reduced and the client was ultimately happy with the outcome.  These types of cases are on the rise and are no longer considered unusual.  New states legalize marijuana each year and people are transporting these new pot products to Texas and will unknowingly face steep fines and sentences.  People in Conroe and Huntsville believe that Montgomery County and Walker County are following in the footsteps of Harris County in lessening the penalties.  This is simply not true.  You may ask what the pot product was that my client possessed for this severe penalty.  It was called Moon Rocks.

After a little research I found out that Moon Rocks are a new cannabis product created by a dispensary on the west coast.  Marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized marijuana are businesses.  Like all businesses they try to separate themselves from the competition.  Thus, coming up with new products that these businesses hope will set themselves apart from the growing field of competition in the growing field of legalized marijuana.  See what I did there?  Moon Rocks involve taking an already potent strain of marijuana, infusing it with hash oil, and then rolling it in kief.  The hash oil makes the weed much stronger. In one-two punch fashion, the bud is then rolled in kief which strengthens the potency even more.  Kief is the resin gland of the cannabis plant.  Think of it as a built-in defense mechanism for the plant that produces the potent THC that gets people high.  In other words, this is a powerfully concentrated form of marijuana.

These new products are classified by law enforcement as controlled substances.  Typically, controlled substances are classified by weight.  What happens when you add oil to a sponge?  It gets heavy.  Hence, the reason Moon Rocks carry such a severe penalty.  Think of pot brownies.  It is the same reason the penalty for edibles and for the THC oil commonly used in vape pens also carry a severe penalty. They are heavy.   It is not the amount of THC or drug in the product that determines the penalty but the gross weight.  Therefore, if you are caught with one of these products you could face serious consequences. 

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Conditions of Bond; Montgomery County Drug Lawyer
Rarely a week goes by where I am not contacted by a current or previous client that is having trouble with the drug testing routine in Montgomery County and Harris County.  Montgomery County is by far the most prevalent.  You see in Montgomery County, you are essentially guilty before being proven innocent.  If you are accused of a crime in Montgomery County, Texas you will most likely be subject to conditions of bond unless you chose to sit in court until your case is settled.  This can be months or years.  As a condition of bond, you must report to community supervision and you will be drug tested.  This involves you calling in daily, yes daily to see if your lot has been chosen to report for a drug test.  You then need to drop what you are doing and get to specified lab in downtown Conroe to give a specimen.  You are only supposed to be tested once per month.  This isn’t reality.   I’ve had numerous clients chosen upwards of three times per month and even multiple times per week.

One of the most common problems is a dilute sample.  Dilute samples affect active people who drink a lot of water.  Southeast Texas is one of the hottest places in the United States.  Who doesn’t drink a lot of water that works outdoors in the Houston area?  Would one think this situation causes lots and lots of false positives?  You bet!  You see in the eyes of probation, the district attorney, and the Judges in Montgomery County, a dilute urine sample is the same as a positive.  You can and will have your pretrial diversion contract revoked, and you can and will go to jail for up to several weeks all based on a false positive test.  Just last week I had a client that had multiple dilute samples over the course of her probation.  I had her take a hair follicle test that goes back weeks to test for drugs and she came back negative.  Therefore, each dilute test in her case was a false positive.  How much does it cost you for a hair follicle test to prove you are innocent of taking drugs while you are on bond or probation?  About $300.  And yes, you are also billed for the urine tests and other associated costs when you are on conditions of bond for something you may not have done but were only accused of doing.

Another frequent question I get weekly is, “you mean someone can lie to the police, and based on that lie I can be arrested and do jail time?”  The simple answer is yes, it happens all the time.  But what about positive drug tests?  Can you do jail time based on a positive drug test when you are not actually taking anything illegal?  Here are two of many examples.

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Montgomery County Drug Arrest Lawyer
An interesting opinion dropped from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals this week.  In the case, an undercover police officer was surveilling a sports bar in Houston known for its well documented history of drug busts.  In actuality, under the guise of surveillance, the police officer was probably profiling customers at the local bar.  One unlucky man stopped at the bar and stayed for what the officer stated was in the range of three to five minutes and then left.  The officer followed the man and then called for a marked car to make the bust so as not to blow his cover.  The marked police car then pulled the man over for an alleged lane change without a turn signal.  Before stopping the car, the officer noticed the man making furtive gestures around the console in the vehicle.  This is a ruse officers use to try and make a search.  As if a person in a car behind you can see what you are doing in front of them in your car at night.  Please.  The uniformed officer then arrested the man and searched his vehicle.  In the search, the officer finds two baggies of cocaine.  One in the center console and one between the console and the passenger seat.

The attorney for “citizen accused” filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the search in the trial court but the motion was denied.  The man subsequently entered into a plea agreement for three years deferred adjudication but preserved his right to appeal the ruling of the trial court.  Under the Fourth Amendment, a search of a person or property is not reasonable without a warrant without a specifically defined exception.  One of these exceptions is termed the “automobile exception.”  Under the automobile exception, police may search your car without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband.

The court of appeals considered the issue of probable cause in this matter.  There, the Court used the following facts to justify the search.  First, the officer was performing surveillance on a bar known for drug sales. Second, while the man was stopped in a turn lane, with marked police car behind him, and an undercover officer beside him.  Staring.  Said the man made furtive gestures in his car.  Okay, so two cops have you boxed in and are staring you down.  You’re supposed to act cool, right?  Sure.  The court of appeals affirmed the finding of the trial court.  The ruling that being at a bar known for drug activity and making furtive gestures while being boxed in by two cops was enough for probable cause to arrest you.  Fair, right?

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Marijuana DWI Attorney
NPR and the Wall Street Journal are some of the many news agencies featuring op-ed articles on the problem states and even countries are facing with impaired driving as it relates to marijuana.  Although marijuana is still illegal in Texas at any level, just what constitutes whether or not an individual is impaired, and at what point is the person charged with driving while intoxicated?  These are tough questions but as more states are legalizing cannabis in one form or another it is a problem that needs to be solved and yet may never happen.

In Texas, we have the legal level for alcohol set at a 0.08 BAC.  So, what’s the problem with weed?  Unlike alcohol, drugs like THC do not have a relationship between the levels of the drug in the tissues and what is considered impairment.  To make matters worse, the method of ingestion can also vary the level of impairment.  Our bodies process marijuana differently when we smoke the marijuana versus when the marijuana is eaten as in an edible product.

Some states have enacted a standard of five nanograms or delta-9-THC per milliliter of blood.  Like the Texas law for alcohol in a DWI arrest, a court can find a person is impaired at the five nanogram level for marijuana just as in a 0.08 in an alcohol test.

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Montgomery County DWI Attorney
In the wake of more states legalizing the use and possession of marijuana people are scrambling to come up with a definition of what categorizes “driving while high.”  No one favors driving under the influence of marijuana or any other mind-altering drug.  The problem becomes what exactly is the definition of driving while high and how do we test for it?

In Texas, if you are pulled over by law enforcement due to some overt cause such as weaving or erratic driving, the officer is going to suspect something is up.  Currently, law enforcement uses field sobriety tests.  The problem is that the equipment law enforcement uses to check for alcohol like a breathalyzer does not work for impairment by other drugs, specifically not for marijuana or THC.  The only real solution at this point is to take the driver to the police station or hospital and draw blood.

Once police have the blood they can send it off to a lab to test if the person has marijuana in their system.  But there are no legal limits in most states including Texas.  Some states have set a standard at the limit of .5 milligrams of THC (the intoxicating substance in marijuana) per milliliter of blood.

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Texas DWI Lawyer
A new Texas bill that gives low level criminal offenders in Texas a second chance needs only to return to the house and then be signed by the governor.  The Texas House of Representatives passed the “Second Chance” bill 140-0.  Now, the bill has moved through the Texas Senate 28-3.  The bill would allow criminal offenders without previous convictions to protect their criminal history from disclosure to the public.

In Texas, we have only two crimes in which you cannot receive a deferred sentence.  Capital murder and driving while intoxicated.  Therefore, you can be charged with an offense like sexual assault and still get a deferred sentence and keep it off your record.  Not so with DWI.  The law used to allow for a DWI to fall off your record after ten years.  Not so anymore.  So, say you pick up a DWI in college, what can you do to get it off your record?  I get this question all the time.  Until now, the answer was “nothing.” The client will say, but that happened twenty years ago, why is it still haunting me?  Simple, up until recently a DWI conviction stayed on your record for life.

The new proposed section is 411.0736 which currently reads: “procedure for conviction; certain driving while intoxicated convictions.  What the bill states is that if you complete your sentence, including any term of confinement imposed and the payment of all fines, costs, and restitution imposed, may petition the court that imposed the sentence for an order of non-disclosure of criminal history records information under this section if the person:

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Montgomery County Controlled Substance Lawyer
In a monumental decision last week, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen can sue for malicious prosecution for being jailed due to the police falsifying drug test results.

In Joliet, Illinois, police stopped Elijah Manuel for a traffic violation.  Manuel was subsequently searched. Law enforcement officers located a vitamin bottle containing several pills.  The police suspected that the vitamins were illegal drugs and decided to perform a field test on the substance.  The field test came back negative for any illegal or controlled substance.  Nevertheless, the police decided to go ahead and arrest Mr. Manuel and charge him with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.  Manuel was taken to the police station.  At the station an evidence technician tested the pills again and received the same negative result.  However, in his report he stated that one of the pills tested, “positive for the probable presence of ecstasy.”  One of the arresting officers stated in his report that, based on his “training and experience,” he “knew the pills to be ecstasy.”

Ecstasy or “Molly,” or MDMA is a synthetic drug that can alter your mood and your perception.  The chemical formula is similar to both stimulant and hallucinogenic drugs.  MDMA and its derivatives can produce distorted time and sensory perception, excessive emotional warmth, and feelings increased energy and pleasure.  The drug achieves these effects by altering the levels or dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.  The effect of the drug can last anywhere from three to six hours.