Because marijuana laws are a hot topic around the country this year, a Tyler man is making more headlines than usual for the extreme sentence he received in Smith County last week. The fifty-four year old defendant was sentenced to 35 years in prison for possessing 4.6 ounces of marijuana.
This type of charge, possessing more than 4 ounces but less than 2 pounds of pot would bring the average defendant a potential 180 days to 2 years, as a state jail felony. This particular defendant, however, had priors and he was caught with the marijuana in a “drug free zone.”
The “drug free zone” was because he was found in possession within 1,000 feet of a daycare. The man reportedly had a joint in his mouth, some marijuana in his pocket, and some more in his vehicle. While this editorial in the Dallas Morning News states his actions weren’t very smart, people are arguing if they called for over 3 decades in prison.
The fact is: if you have a criminal history, your sentence will likely be harsher than someone who hasn’t ever run afoul of the law. As a matter of fact, people caught in possession of marijuana on a first offense often get a second chance.
This Tyler man had two felonies in his past, both convictions from the 1980s. No one is suggesting that he was a saint, merely that a 35 year sentence is much more than many violent assaults get. In this case, the prosecution actually asked the jury for a 99 year sentence according to the local Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Regardless of how many times you have been in front of the court, it never gets easy. Because your criminal history grows with each appearance, it may get harder and harder. Whether this is your first case or your fourth, you have every right to be nervous.
There are many factors that go into determining your potential sentence and the law governing your offense is only one. If you are facing charges like possession of marijuana, delivery, or even weapons charges, I may be able to help make sense of it all.
Contact me today for a consultation on your case.