I remember way back in 2005 when my nephew was stopped by police near Federal Rd and I-10, in east Houston, and was arrested for Possession of Marijuana.
Surely one must know that these things are illegal in Texas, possession of marijuana that is, but its not really that big of a deal on first look. However, the stigma of a drug crime on your background can keep you from landing some of the best jobs in the economy.
Normally, the Harris County Criminal Justice System (Harris County is the jurisdiction where Houston is) will let a misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana charged offender off lightly with a slap on the wrist. But in some cases, habitual offenders are enhanced to felon status.
However, in most cases an arrest that nets less than two ounces of marijuana will result in a light penalty which includes a small fine and a few days in jail.
Regardless of whether or not the crime is seen as a minor misdemeanor or not, if the offender continues to commit the same offense, no matter how seemingly insignificant the impact on society, they can be enhanced to felony level criminal penalties which is never good for a lowly criminal like a pothead, but so be it.
Fighting The Charge
The interesting facet of this situation was that my nephew wanted to fight the charge which he didn’t normally do. He would normally plead guilty and take the 2 day vacation.
Considering he may be facing felony punishment due to an enhancement based on habitual criminal activity, he had good reason to fight in out in court.
He fought the charge and won.
He had a well known criminal justice lawyer on his side in Carvana Cloud of The Cloud Law Firm. She explained to the jury at trial that society isn’t out to harshly punish casual recreational users of marijuana and that my nephew was the victim of his own free spirit in leaving beyond the confines of his home with his marijuana and nothing more.
Enhancing my nephew (name withheld) to that of a felon would do absolutely nothing to help society, and making a felon out of him by imprisoning him, thus making him an advanced criminal in training, would do more harm to the people of Houston, the State of Texas, and Harris County, and not a damn bit of good (I added the damn part). In fact, he said, it would hurt our community.
The jury returned a not guilty verdict. This was a shock because we were all looking forward to a monetary fine and a short jail sentence. One thing is for sure, he had a damn good lawyer in his corner to have gotten out of that one.
The Good News
Looking back, I felt the little bastard should have gotten some punishment, but you know what? He hasn’t had a single brush with law since 2005 and I think that event in his life was a turning point that even he noticed.
I’d say never give up on your loved ones because they may not give up on themselves.
I was inspired to post a write about this to the blog after talking with my nephew earlier today. During our conversation I brought up the fact that it had almost been ten years since he got busted for possession of marijuana. He replied that when he saw Houston criminal defense attorney Carvana Cloud talk to the jury like she did, he felt that his actions had the potential to ruin his life, and that it took him seeing someone he didn’t even know fighting hand, tooth, and claw on his behalf.
Someone fighting harder than he was – considering he was busted, again. Simply put, he was embarrassed.