5 Ways Your Marijuana Case Can Be Dismissed in Travis County
If you are arrested in Travis County for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and do not have an extensive criminal history, your attorney may be able to convince a prosecutor to dismiss your case. The dismissal will then allow you to file a petition to expunge the criminal records related to your arrest and prosecution.
Here are five tried-and-true methods to achieve such a dismissal. Remember, everyone’s case is different, and these dispositions may or may not be achievable in your case.
1) Motion to Suppress Evidence
If a police officer stopped you without reasonable suspicion or arrested you without probable cause, the marijuana may not be admissible in court. Your attorney can cite relevant case law to the prosecutor or the judge to show that your rights under the Fourth Amendment have been violated, resulting in a dismissal of the case.
2) Pre-trial Diversion Program
Years ago, the Travis County Attorney, in conjunction with the Community Supervision and Corrections Department, created the Pre-trial Diversion Program, designed to provide a first-time offender charged with a non-violent misdemeanor the opportunity to avoid a conviction. If your case is appropriate, your attorney may suggest that you apply for entry into the program. Upon acceptance, the case will be dismissed, subject to being re-filed if you fail to comply with the terms of the program.
One advantage of this program: upon completion, you immediately can file a petition for expunction of criminal records related to the case. One disadvantage: you must admit that you committed the offense.
3) Deferred Prosecution Agreement
Your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor that the circumstances of your case call for a deferred prosecution agreement. If so, you would sign a written agreement to abide by certain conditions for a set period of time, typically a year. One mandatory condition is that you not be arrested. Other conditions may specify that you perform community service or attend counseling.
The case is dismissed when you sign the agreement, subject to being re-filed if you fail to comply with the terms of the agreement. As with the pre-trial diversion program, you must admit in writing that you committed the offense.
4) Class C Reduction Agreement
Your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you to plead no contest to a Class C misdemeanor like possession of drug paraphernalia in exchange for a dismissal of your possession of marijuana case. The attorney must make sure that the reduction agreement calls for you to be placed on deferred disposition supervision. If you simply pay a fine, the result is a final conviction that eliminates the possibility of expunging criminal records related to either the possession of marijuana case or the Class C case.
5) Dismissal with Class and Community Service
Depending on the circumstances of your case and your personal history, your attorney may be able to obtain an agreement with the prosecutor to dismiss your case once you complete a drug counseling class such as the 15-hour Drug Offender Education Program certified by the Texas Department of State Health Services and perhaps complete some community service at a local nonprofit organization. Your attorney will reset the case to give you time to comply with the agreement. A proactive attorney might have you complete the drug class prior to negotiations with the prosecutor in order to encourage a prompt dismissal.