Last year, Fort Worth, Texas officials announced that people would no longer be arrested for carrying a small amount of marijuana, according to CultureMap Fort Worth. The new policy was announced in a joint statement from The Tarrant County Law Enforcement Executives Association and the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office. In addition to Fort Worth, areas impacted by the new policy include Arlington, Sansom Park, Dalworthington Gardens, Azle, Haltom City, and Everman. This new policy is part of Cite and Release, which is a law that was passed in 2007.
What Is Cite & Release?
Cite and Release allows people charged with misdemeanor offenses (Class A and B) to be ticketed instead of arrested.
Here are the charges that are included under Cite and Release:
- Theft – This only applies if the items that were stolen were worth between $100 and $750.
- Marijuana Possession – These types of charges are only eligible if the person is carrying between two and four ounces of marijuana or less.
- Graffiti – If the damage from the graffiti is between $100 and $2,500, then this type of charge is eligible.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance – If a person is charged with carrying a controlled substance in penalty group 2A (synthetic cannabinoids) that is between two and four ounces or less, that charge is eligible for Cite and Release.
- Criminal Mischief – Similar to theft, if the damages from this offense are between $100 and $750, then this charge is eligible for Cite and Release.
In addition to its connection to Cite and Release, this new policy also piggybacks on a 2020 law change that enables people charged with carrying less than two ounces of marijuana to have the charges dismissed.
Does This Mean It’s Legal to Carry Small Amounts of Marijuana in Fort Worth and Tarrant County?
No. In most cases, marijuana possession is still against the law in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. This new Cite and Release-based policy simply allows misdemeanor offenders to avoid getting arrested in situations where receiving a ticket is a more just punishment for their offense. To be eligible for Cite and Release, people must:
- Have no outstanding warrants –If a person has an open warrant for a Class B or higher offense, they are not eligible for Cite and Release.
- Live in Tarrant County – To be eligible for Cite and Release, a person must reside in Tarrant County. In addition, the offense they are charged with must have taken place in Tarrant County.
- Have proper ID – A person must have proper identification to prove they are who they say they are to be eligible for Cite and Release.
What Should I Do If I’m Arrested for Marijuana Possession?
Marijuana possession can still get you arrested in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. In addition, the penalties if you’re found guilty of marijuana possession in Texas are harsh, including:
- Misdemeanor Possession – This involves Class A (between two and four ounces) and Class B (less than two ounces) possession:
- Penalties for Class B convictions can include $2,000 in fines and up to 180 days in jail.
- A Class A conviction can result in $4,000 in fines and up to a year behind bars.
- Felony Possession – Felony marijuana possession can carry heavy fines and long jail sentences:
- If a person is caught with more than four ounces but less than five pounds of marijuana, they could be looking at up to two years in jail and $10,000 in fines.
- Having between five and 50 pounds of marijuana can lead to $10,000 in fines and up to 10 years in jail.
- Marijuana possession between 50 and 2,000 pounds can result in up to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Possessing more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana can cost someone $50,000 in fines and up to 99 years behind bars.
If you are arrested for marijuana possession, before you make any decisions, you need to discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Speak with Our Experienced Criminal Defense Team About Your Situation Today
Do you have questions about marijuana possession? Were you ticketed or arrested for carrying marijuana? Let us help. At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, our only concern is helping our clients. That’s why we make it a point to get to know our clients, so that we can tailor our services to best suit them and their unique situation. In addition, our criminal defense team has years of experience and knows the criminal justice system inside and out. We can help you avoid further legal pitfalls and craft a strategy to help you overcome your legal troubles.