Possession of Marijuana (POM)

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Explanation of the Law
The Law
Punishment Ranges

Explanation of Possession of Marijuana (POM) Law

There are four major elements of a POM charge that must be proved by the state. 1) Possession; 2) possession that is knowingly or intentional; 2) the quantity possessed must be a usable amount; and 3) the substance must be marijuana (or marihuana as the legislature spells it, who knows where they came up with that, they must have been high).

"Possession" means actual care, custody, control, or management. Possession can be a tricky issue depending on the facts of the case, especially if the marijuana is found in a car or other area where more than one person was present or had immediate access. A lawyer can help you go over the facts of your case and figure out whether or not actual "possession" existed.

Just because an item was in your possession doesn't mean that you had knowledge or intent to possess it. For example, a friend asks you to hold her purse while she uses the restroom. You can't see inside the purse and you have no idea what is inside. While holding the purse you are in "possession" of it and its hidden contents because you are exercising care and control of it, you are also "knowingly and intentionally" possessing the actual purse, but you are not knowingly and intentionally possessing the hidden contents of the purse unless you had previous knowledge of what is inside. Another example, someone unbeknownst to you slips an item into your pocket. While you are in possession of the item, you are not knowingly or intentionally possessing it.

These days a "useable amount" can be just about anything capable of being smoked or ingested. As little as 0.04 g, a small roach, tiny amounts of shake in the bottom of a bag, and a mixture of stems and seeds have all been found to be a "useable amount." Typically, a small amount of resin in a pipe is not considered a usable amount, but still, this doesn't mean that the police won't arrest you and charge you with possession based solely on the resin.

The contraband must actually be marijuana. Police often only identify it by sight and smell based on their previous "experience and training."

The Law

TEXAS HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE - Section 481.121. 
OFFENSE: POSSESSION OF MARIHUANA. (MARIJUANA)

(a) Except as authorized by this chapter, a person commits an offense if 
the person knowingly or intentionally possesses a usable quantity of marihuana.

Punishment Ranges

Amount Charge Level Jail Time Fine
2 oz or less Class B Misdemeanor Up to 180 days Up to $2000
> 2 oz to 4 oz Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 year Up to $4000
> 4oz to 5 lbs State Jail Felony 180 days to 2 years Up to $10,000
> 5 lbs to 50 lbs 3rd Degree Felony 2 to 10 years Up to $10,000
> 50 lbs to 2000 lbs 2nd Degree Felony 2 to 20 years Up to $10,000
> 2000 lbs or more 1st Degree Felony 5 to 99 years or Life Up to $50,000

In addition, a conviction for Possession of Marijuana also carries a 180 day driver's license suspension.


Hiring a lawyer to fight your POM / Possession of Marijuana charge can help you keep your record clean.

We Can Help

At the Law Office of Justin Copeland we are dedicated to defending the rights of those in need, and we are committed to the presumption of innocence. We believe in our clients and will aggressively defend your rights, no matter the situation. We recognize that every case is different, and we will build a custom defense strategy based solely on the merits of your case. You can rest assured that we will aggressively fight for your rights.

While we deal with the legal issues in your case, we fully understand the pressures and anxieties that you have to deal with on a day to day basis. We will work to help you through this very difficult time. We are committed to providing you with a helping hand as well as an aggressive legal representation.

Contact an Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Office of Justin Copeland Today

At the Law Office of Justin Copeland we believe a client's defense is only as good as the relationship with his or her attorney. This relationship is best developed through open communication. For this reason, the Law Office of Justin Copeland is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Mr. Copeland personally returns all of his phone calls. We urge you to contact us today to setup a free initial consultation.

In the News


KXAN - August 6, 2008


The University Star - June 12, 2008

Contact Us

Travis County Office
502 W. 13th St.
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: 512.850.4529
Fax: 512.628.6010
Email: info@jcopelandlaw.com

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