So...say your kid went to Texas and was caught with 2 oz of weed...

HELP!! DO YOU KNOW A GOOD LAWYER??

He and friends -22, 23 year olds-drove in from another state where it was legal. Late at night. Friend was driving. Son was sleeping in the back. Stopped by police. Convinced by police that police had the right to search car (they were all sober, son was sleeping in the back-it was just late and they were from out of state) so son volunteered there was small amt of weed packed. Spent night in jail. Had no funds for bail and was not allowed to make calls. Friends scrounged up bail money.

Now is 5 months later and it’s time for court. In Waco, Texas. In his genius, he is opting to just be convicted, spend a likely few days in jail, and then go back to his own life. Figures that is easier than fighting and less expensive than more lawyer time. He doesn’t get that it will never stop haunting him once it is on his record. Jobs, Schools. Etc. He is just too much like many in this impulsive generation. Not willing to do some hard work now to improve his chances in the future.

Does anyone here have any experience with this kind of a situation? With the courts in Waco? It is def complicated with laws that vary from one state to the next. Kid just being short sighted and a bit overwhelmed so running in the opposite direction. I’m trying to pull of an 11th hour respite.

Do you know a lawyer?

2 ounces? That doesn’t really qualify as a small amount, why 2 ounces? 22 yrs olds do understand state lines and the legal aspects, so the reality is maybe he already HAS had advice? Any chance it was under or was it exactly 2?

@sybylla It was under two ounces. The advice he has comes just from his buddies, who are not the definitive resources by any stretch. He has a lawyer but has decided he does not think the lawyer has a lot of experience with this subject. The lawyer isn’t strategizing ways to minimize what might happen so son is dismissing him.

So sorry. I knew someone, way back when I was in college, who had this follow him. But that was before most laws changed, until they did. (And in fairness, back when we were more aware because there were tough laws.)

Why didn’t you get advice from an attorney versed in TX law, 5 months ago? In many cases, an initial consult is inexpensive, sometimes free. We don’t know how likely a court is to reduce the charges, dismiss, or etc. Nor how TX reports in background checks. I do see, via google, that this could be more than “a few days” in jail.

He may be able to get this expunged, but again, we don’t know how that works in Texas. This link gives a little idea of what options may be. https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/marijuana-possession-and-my-future
Best wishes.

Thank you, @lookingforward. I did find him a lawyer in Texas 5 mos ago but no information about any charges came to light until recently. Apparently it was up to the lawyer to keep checking to see if any charges were going to be brought. My kid is just scared and doesn’t know how to navigate the legal system hence his bright idea to just take it all laying down. I’m going to try to reach the lawyer myself tomorrow but want to be prepared in case I come to the same conclusion as my son has-that perhaps this is not this lawyer‘s wheelhouse.

There is a large college in Waco. This must happen often, so I might reach out on the Baylor forum or Facebook page to ask for a legal recommendation.

“Texas Legal Answers is the result of a partnership between the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association to create a website where Texans can post their legal questions and Texas lawyers can respond. The Texas Legal Answers Clinic pro bono clinic distinguishes itself from other pro bono clinics in that participants do not need to make a journey to a physical clinic site. Instead, the clinic operates virtually, connecting participants, law students, and attorneys, through a website portal.”

https://www.baylor.edu/law/news.php?action=story&story=186591

Possession of under 2 ounces is a class b misdemeanor resulting in up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to 2000 dollars. Perhaps he should start taking this seriously.

It wouldn’t hurt to reach out to these orgs to see if they can offer any advice/referrals:

https://www.texasnorml.org/

https://www.texasmarijuanapolicy.org

If the lawyer doesn’t have experience with marijuana charges, how seriously the court may react and how to deal them down, I’d sure be inclined to call the orgs doschicos notes, above.

If your kid has no other record, has kept his nose clean since, is responsibly employed or in school, in general, some courts are willing. But Texas?

If it were my kid, I would personally hire the lawyer. The resources above are a good starting point. You can also look on the ABA ( American Bar Association) website. You can see where they graduated from, specialties, and when they passed the bar. Then go and check reviews on various ones.
The reason I would hire the lawyer is sometimes kids make bad decisions. This could follow him forever, esp. if he is convicted and spends time ( even a month) in jail. Not to mention the nightmare that would create in his world.
I would call my lawyer friends and ask them how to find the best lawyer in Waco pronto. I would spare no expense because in the world of law you get what you pay for. I would not allow him to use an attorney provided by the state. I would also make him/her pay me back over time. ( Though I would solve the problem at hand first).
I knew someone in a similar situation whose son drove cross country and got stopped for weed. He had been taking medical marijuana in some other state so had convinced himself he could take it across borders. She ended up selling her house to pay the legal bills. He went to jail. ( I have no idea of the amount he had on him). It was not a good scenario.
I only wish I knew a good lawyer in Waco to recommend. I’ll bet they can get it dismissed based on illegal search and seizure. But it’s going to be their word against the cop. Good luck and all the best to you.

He consented to the search, so it is too late to challenge the legality of it, which is one of the reasons one should never consent to a search. Yes, this event, particularly any jail time, can cause problems decades later, particularly if he ends up in a job needing a security clearance (It won’t disqualify him, but it will slow the process down so much it is tantamount to doing so).

Disagree with above poster. If the police truly didn’t have a reason for the stop, the entire case can be thrown out. Illegal stop = anything found as a result of the stop is inadmissible. Lawyer can file a motion to suppress. You also have to require the state to show proof it was weed - they need to send it out to a lab and have it certified. There is a limited amount of time they have to produce those results. I would fight it. My guess is the cops told the kids “just take the conviction and have it expunged”. Kids don’t get expungement can’t happen until the sentence has run its course. So 2 years probation? You can’t even start expunging the charges until then and it can take months. In NJ, this can also result in the loss of your license for 2 years.

Google lawyers in Waco - it shouldn’t be hard in a college town to find someone versed on this. And with the country getting more and more lax with weed, it might not be worth a prosecutors time and effort if they know you will fight it.

I don’t know TX law, but I would be SHOCKED if under 2 oz results in jail time. The biggest issue is the arrest showing up on his background check. if he does end up not fighting it and getting convicted, definitely go through the process of having it expunged. But again, that can take a while. A small case like this shouldn’t cost you 10’s of thousands to defend. $5k? Maybe. Hopefully you are in a position where you can make that investment. Good luck!

In Texas, there is,always a reason for a stop. Sincerely, a Texas lawyer.

There should be PLENTY of capable lawyers in Waco as Baylor Law School is right there. It is an excellent school. The DA’s office is somewhat in flux because the incumbent DA took a really aggressive (and expensive) approach to prosecuting the biker shooting case at the Twin Peaks and got into some trouble over it. He lost in the March primary and will be replaced in January by whoever wins the DA race in November.

The DA’s office has a diversion program in place for nonviolent offenders, meaning that the case would not appear on a person’s record if they successfully complete the diversion program:

http://www.wacotrib.com/news/courts_and_trials/da-s-new-diversion-program-gives-nonviolent-defendants-another-chance/article_b3157afa-20bd-5e6a-9a2c-a5577f658537.html

I don’t know if a nonresident can be admitted but a Waco criminal defense attorney should be able to answer that question right away. If your son’s attorney doesn’t know this then I would look into a different attorney for him. Someone who offices in Waco and does only criminal defense would be your best bet and there should be many.

@roycroftmom hence why cops get bad raps! Sincerely, daughter of retired NYPD officer and sister of 2 retired NYPD officers

First the lawyer probably won’t talk to you. You’re not his client, so your son needs to give consent.

Second, take the advice and get a lawyer experienced in these matters.

Best case is to get it dismissed or pled down. Keeping it off record is key. If background checks reveal it it will follow him to jobs.

I don’t think anyone is going to jail for a first time misdemeanor offense. Good luck.

And he did naively consent to a search. He thought that was showing good faith. So screwed on that point.

I don’t know why basic adulting such as taxes and insurance and knowing your legal rights are not taught in schools. They need to know these things at just about the age where some of them don’t think their parents know what they are talking about.

He is on the hook for the legal fees which is one of the reasons that he, in his infinite wisdom, thinks he will just take the jail time rather than burn up lawyer hours. He thinks I’m being dramatic about long term repercussions. As he has been on a bumpy path and is not in college at the moment, he is working so will have funds.

Just pointing out the situation here, njwrestlingmom. On any given day, almost all of us could plausibly have a traffic stop. Failure to use turn signal, failure to come to a complete stop, speeding, etc. In some jurisdictions, there is not much point in contesting the legality of the stop. The defendant needs good legal help and a plea deal asap.

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions everyone. I tried turning it over to my son when it happened to take responsibility for his own life which is how we got to where we are now. Seeing the choices he is making with regards to this, I feel like he is not grasping the lifelong repercussions and I don’t want him to pay forever for youthful ignorance.

I will reach out to those organizations today and see if any can help. If anyone happens to know of a lawyer or resource directly, let me know!