G. Thayer Williamson Your Drug Crime Attorney

Possession of Marijuana in a Drug Free Zone

The possession of marijuana under two ounces is a class B misdemeanor. Possession of marijuana more than two ounces, less than 4 ounces is a class A misdemeanor. Possession of more than 4 ounces and less than 5 pounds is a state jail felony. Most people charged with simple possession of MJ are usually caught with a small personal amount of marijuana (i.e under 4 ounces). Thus many people are generally looking at a misdemeanor charge.

What is a drug free zone (DFZ), and what are the consequences of a DFZ allegation? In short, a DFZ is 1000 feet from a school, park, playground, daycare, or other facility where children tend to congregate.

A DFZ allegation does two things: First, the allegation increases the punishment range one degree. Secondly, it affects parole eligibility.

A DFZ allegation does not have a substantial impact if the accused is eligible for probation, however, a DFZ allegation has a MASSIVE impact if the accused is NOT eligible for probation. Generally speaking, a defendant is eligible for parole after he or she has served 20% of their sentence. When there is a DFZ allegation, a defendant is NOT eligible for parole until he or she has served 5 calendar years of their sentence.

A few quick examples: 1) if a defendant was sentenced to 4 years DFZ, the defendant would served the entire 4 years. 2) if a defendant was sentenced to 8 years DFZ, the defendant would not be eligible for parole for at least 5 years!

As previously discussed, most people are charged with personal possession (under two ounces). Thus even in a DFZ, possession of MJ under two ounces would still be a misdemeanor allegation. Dallas County, and the surrounding counties almost never seek jail time on misdemeanor possession cases.

If you or a loved one has any questions about a possession case, or any criminal matter, please contact the Law Office of G. Thayer Williamson.