photo of Richard Richard C. McConathy
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
5700 Granite Pkwy #200
Plano , Texas , 75024 USA
(469) 304-3422

This hCard created with the hCard creator.

Several states across the United States began reducing the number of arrests for marijuana possession over the last few years, and many cannabis users were comforted knowing they may get tickets instead of being arrested for simple possession offenses. While certain law enforcement agencies in Texas will now issue tickets for possession of four ounces or less of marijuana, people facing these charges should still seek the help of a cite and release attorney.

The program being utilized is also known as cite and release, and it can still involve certain consequences for alleged offenders. Tickets for marijuana possession may involve more serious penalties than a traditional traffic ticket, and alleged offenders can still face misdemeanor charges in some cases that can include significant fines and possible jail sentences.

Cite and Release Defense Lawyer in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney, TX

Did you receive a citation instead of being arrested? Make sure you get in touch with the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as possible. We can handle many different kinds of cite and release cases and knows how to help people achieve the most favorable possible outcomes for their cases. 

Contact our firm today at (469) 304-3422 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Plano, Allen, Frisco, McKinney, TX, and surrounding areas of Collin County, Texas. Allow us to better examine your case and explain your legal recourse.

Elements of Cite and Release Offenses in Texas

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) reports that Austin, San Marcos, Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio are among the cities now using cite and release policies, and Bexar County, Tarrant County, and Nueces County are among the counties in Texas also using it. Cite and release programs mean alleged marijuana offenders receive tickets instead of being arrested for possessing four ounces or less of marijuana. An alleged offender can still face immediate arrest when they do not comply with law enforcement officers.

Texas law provides that if an alleged offender does not do one of the following, they could be arrested for marijuana possession:

  • Fail to provide identification (ID)
  • Have outstanding warrants
  • Refuse to sign a ticket or demand to see a magistrate
  • Not being a Texas resident
  • Being suspected of a more serious offense
  • Being intoxicated to a level that police decide the alleged offender presents a danger to themselves or others

An arrest or a ticket concerning marijuana possession of four ounces or less is typically a misdemeanor offense. A cite and release policy is a directive to law enforcement officers to issue citations, tickets, or warnings for some low-level offenses instead of making arrests. 

Current state law establishes that utilizing cite and release is an option, but it is not necessarily mandatory. With a cite and release program, alleged offenders receive citations instead of being arrested and sent to jail, and they also receive a summons to report to specific locations at later dates to handle their criminal charge(s). 

An officer may also issue a warning and let a person go without writing a citation. The goals of cite and release programs include reducing racial disparities in policing and arrests, reducing the number of overall arrests, eliminating discretionary arrests for some low-level offenses, decreasing the arrest-to-deportation pipeline, increasing data transparency between local law enforcement agencies and the public, and institutionalizing community involvement in policy making and implementation.

A citation or ticket will be better than an arrest because it not only avoids the harmful effects of an arrest but when it concerns COVID-19, an arrest also means a higher chance of infection or even death for both an officer and an alleged offender. A strong cite and release policy has a clear directive to police officers to issue citations, tickets, or warnings instead of making arrests, with only limited disqualifying circumstances, involves a data transparency mandate such as regular public data reports on the use of cite and release, including demographic information of individuals affected, have robust and regular forum for community input in the implementation of the policy, create an accountability mechanism if officers violate the policy, take form as an ordinance, not an administrative policy, include all eligible offenses, and involve a pre-charge diversion element allowing for alleged offenders who are cited to participate in diversion programs and avoid any arrest, criminal charges, contact with courts, and potentially harmful effects of a criminal record.

Citation-eligible offenses can include all Class C Misdemeanors (except for public intoxication) and certain Class A and Class B Misdemeanors, such as:

  • Possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana 
  • Possession of less than 4 ounces of Penalty Group 2-A controlled substances (such as synthetic marijuana)
  • Criminal mischief with damage up to $750
  • Theft of up to $750 in property
  • Theft of up to $750 in services
  • Driving with an invalid license 
  • Graffiti
  • Contraband in a Correctional Facility

Law Offices of Richard C McConathy Cite and Release

Marijuana Ticket Penalties in Texas

Cite and release offenses for marijuana possession will still be criminal offenses. Although receiving a ticket can feel more like a traffic citation, you still face Class A or Class B misdemeanor charges. 

Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.121 establishes drug possession penalties based on quantities of drugs. Possession of as much as two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor. 

Class B misdemeanor convictions are punishable by either or both of the following:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Fine of up to $2,000

Possession of more than two ounces or up to four ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanor convictions are punishable by either or both of the following:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fine of up to $4,000

Possession of more than four ounces of marijuana usually results in an actual arrest and possible felony charges. Felony marijuana possession penalties can include:

  • 4 ounces to 5 pounds — State jail felony punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • 5 to 50 pounds — Third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • 50 to 2,000 pounds — Second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • More than 2,000 pounds — First-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000

It is important to remember that an alleged offender who is apprehended while possessing large amounts of cash, possessing more drugs than are necessary for individual use, possessing weapons or guard dogs, possessing paraphernalia such as scales or packaging material, possessing a chemical lab, possessing the equipment necessary to transport drug manufacturing materials, or possessing the chemicals needed to manufacture a controlled substance can face possession with intent to distribute charges, and these types of encounters usually do result in arrests. The criminal penalties can also be enhanced in such cases.

Even misdemeanor convictions can still be devastating to people’s lives. Misdemeanor charges can seriously impact professional goals, personal relationships, and educational endeavors. 

Collin County Cite and Release Resources

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) Fact Sheet HB 1388 (Cite and Release) — According to this TCJC document, the 10 Texas counties with the largest jail populations had jails operating at a high capacity (74 percent on average). It says current cite and release policies are reducing arrests, providing a safe model for expansion. Over the first year that Bexar County implemented cite and release, 2,500 people were cited rather than arrested, 4,249 officer hours were saved, and over $2 million were saved in booking and prosecution costs alone.

Why We Should Advocate for Cite and Release in Texas | ILRC — This article notes that Texas state law has allowed for law enforcement agencies to issue citations or tickets instead of making arrests for certain low-level offenses for more than 13 years, but the practice has been severely underutilized throughout the state. It states that arrests for citation-eligible offenses in Austin decreased by more than 60 percent since the city’s cite and release resolution was passed in 2018. It further notes that cite and release intend to mitigate racial profiling in policing and avoid the harmful effects of arrests, such as deportation, job loss, and barriers to finding employment and housing.

Find A Collin County Cite and Release Possession Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you received a citation for marijuana possession or another misdemeanor offense in the greater Collin County area, do not think that the ticket is an easy matter to resolve because you can still be facing significant criminal penalties. You will want to retain legal counsel for the best chance of overcoming your criminal charges.

Call (469) 304-3422  or contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at for a consultation about your alleged offense in Plano, Allen, Frisco, McKinney, TX, and surrounding areas of Collin County, Texas. We can then better understand the nature of your charges and also examine your possible defense options.

0/5 (0 Reviews)