Bill Text: TX HB334 | 2017 | 85th Legislature 1st Special Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2017-08-09 - Left pending in committee [HB334 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB334-Introduced.html
  85S10886 LHC-D
 
  By: Moody H.B. No. 334
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of
  certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution
  for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a
  criminal offense.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 481.121(b), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  An offense under Subsection (a) is:
               (1)  a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of marihuana
  possessed is two ounces or less but more than one ounce;
               (2)  a Class A misdemeanor if the amount of marihuana
  possessed is four ounces or less but more than two ounces;
               (3)  a state jail felony if the amount of marihuana
  possessed is five pounds or less but more than four ounces;
               (4)  a felony of the third degree if the amount of
  marihuana possessed is 50 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds;
               (5)  a felony of the second degree if the amount of
  marihuana possessed is 2,000 pounds or less but more than 50 pounds;
  and
               (6)  punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department
  of Criminal Justice for life or for a term of not more than 99 years
  or less than 5 years, and a fine not to exceed $50,000, if the amount
  of marihuana possessed is more than 2,000 pounds.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter D, Chapter 481, Health and Safety
  Code, is amended by adding Sections 481.1211 and 481.1212 to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 481.1211.  CIVIL PENALTY: POSSESSION OF SMALL AMOUNT OF
  MARIHUANA. (a) Notwithstanding Section 481.121 and except as
  otherwise provided by Section 481.1212, a person who knowingly or
  intentionally possesses a usable quantity of marihuana in an amount
  that is one ounce or less does not commit an offense but is liable to
  the state for a civil penalty not to exceed $250.
         (b)  The imposition of a civil penalty under this section is
  not a conviction and may not be considered a conviction for any
  purpose.
         Sec. 481.1212.  OFFENSE:  SUBSEQUENT POSSESSION OF SMALL
  AMOUNT OF MARIHUANA. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:
               (1)  knowingly or intentionally possesses a usable
  quantity of marihuana in an amount that is one ounce or less; and
               (2)  has previously been assessed a civil penalty three
  times under Section 481.1211.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
         SECTION 3.  Section 481.125, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by adding Subsection (g) to read as follows:
         (g)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that
  drug paraphernalia was knowingly or intentionally used, possessed,
  or delivered solely in furtherance of a violation of Section
  481.1211 or an offense under Section 481.1212.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter B, Chapter 45, Code of Criminal
  Procedure, is amended by adding Article 45.062 to read as follows:
         Art. 45.062.  PROCEEDINGS FOR CERTAIN MARIHUANA POSSESSION
  VIOLATIONS AND OFFENSES. (a) A peace officer may not make an
  arrest solely because of a violation of Section 481.1211, Health
  and Safety Code, regardless of whether the person may be subject to
  prosecution under Section 481.1212 of that code. A peace officer
  may issue to a person a citation that contains written notice of the
  time and place the person must appear before a justice court, the
  name and address of the person charged, and the violation charged.
  The citation must notify the person that the person may be subject
  to prosecution for a Class C misdemeanor under Section 481.1212,
  Health and Safety Code, if the person has previously been assessed a
  civil penalty three times under Section 481.1211, Health and Safety
  Code.
         (b)  The district or county attorney of the county in which
  the conduct described by Section 481.1211, Health and Safety Code,
  is alleged to have occurred may:
               (1)  bring an action in the justice court of the county
  to collect the civil penalty of a person who receives a citation
  under this section; or
               (2)  charge the person with an offense under Section
  481.1212, Health and Safety Code, if the person has previously been
  assessed a civil penalty three times under Section 481.1211 of that
  code.
         (c)  Except as otherwise provided by this article, a civil
  action under this article for a violation of Section 481.1211,
  Health and Safety Code, shall be conducted in the manner provided by
  this chapter as if an offense were charged.
         (d)  The court may not:
               (1)  issue an arrest warrant under Article 45.014 for a
  violation of Section 481.1211, Health and Safety Code, or an
  offense under Section 481.1212 of that code; or
               (2)  require the person who violates Section 481.1211,
  Health and Safety Code, or commits an offense under Section
  481.1212 of that code, to give bail under Article 45.016.
         (e)  A citation issued under this article is considered to be
  a sufficient complaint for purposes of Articles 45.018 and 45.019
  if the citation is filed with the court by a district or county
  attorney.
         (f)  A person liable for a civil penalty under Section
  481.1211, Health and Safety Code, may not appeal under Article
  45.042.
         (g)  Before imposing a civil penalty under Section 481.1211,
  Health and Safety Code, the court shall determine whether the
  person subject to the penalty is indigent. If the court determines
  the person is indigent, the court shall waive the penalty and may
  order the person to complete not more than 10 hours of community
  service.
         (h)  Subsections (n), (p), and (q) apply to a person for whom
  a court waives a penalty under Subsection (g).
         (i)  The court may waive or reduce the civil penalty for a
  person other than a person described by Subsection (g) if:
               (1)  the person subject to a civil penalty under
  Section 481.1211, Health and Safety Code, attends a program that
  provides education in substance abuse and is approved by the
  Department of State Health Services, the Texas Department of
  Licensing and Regulation, or the Texas Department of Public Safety;
  or
               (2)  the person performs not more than 10 hours of
  community service, as ordered by the court.
         (j)  If during a proceeding for a violation of Section
  481.1211, Health and Safety Code, the court finds that the person
  has previously been assessed a civil penalty under that section one
  or two times, the court shall, in addition to assessing a civil
  penalty, order the person to attend a program that provides
  education in substance abuse and is approved by the Department of
  State Health Services, the Texas Department of Licensing and
  Regulation, or the Texas Department of Public Safety.
         (k)  If during a proceeding for a violation of Section
  481.1211, Health and Safety Code, the court finds that the person
  has previously been assessed a civil penalty under that section
  three times, the court shall suspend the proceedings and notify the
  appropriate prosecuting attorney so that the person may be charged
  with an offense under Section 481.1212, Health and Safety Code.
         (l)  On a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for an offense
  under Section 481.1212, Health and Safety Code, by a defendant and
  payment of all court costs, the judge shall defer further
  proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and place the
  defendant on probation under the provisions of Article 45.051.
         (m)  The court may issue a capias for the arrest of a person
  who fails to appear or to make payment, as directed by a citation
  issued under this section.
         (n)  Law enforcement may seize any marihuana in possession of
  a person subject to a civil penalty under Section 481.1211, Health
  and Safety Code, or subject to prosecution under Section 481.1212
  of that code.  If marihuana is seized under this article in
  connection with a violation of Section 481.1211, Health and Safety
  Code, law enforcement shall preserve the marihuana as if the
  marihuana were evidence of an offense under Section 481.1212,
  Health and Safety Code, pending the final resolution of a civil
  proceeding under this article.  After final resolution of a civil
  proceeding under this article, any marihuana seized is subject to
  forfeiture and shall be disposed of in accordance with Section
  481.159, Health and Safety Code.
         (o)  This article does not affect the authority of a peace
  officer to conduct a search or seize marihuana or other property as
  contraband under Chapter 18 or 59 or other law.
         (p)  The identity of a person cited for a violation of
  Section 481.1211, Health and Safety Code, is confidential
  information and may not be disclosed to the public unless the person
  is charged with an offense under Section 481.1212, Health and
  Safety Code, in connection with that citation.
         (q)  The identity of a person found liable for a civil
  penalty under Section 481.1211, Health and Safety Code, is
  confidential information and may not be disclosed to the public.
         SECTION 5.  Section 51.03(a), Family Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Delinquent conduct is:
               (1)  conduct, other than a traffic offense, that
  violates a penal law of this state or of the United States
  punishable by imprisonment or by confinement in jail;
               (2)  conduct that violates a lawful order of a court
  under circumstances that would constitute contempt of that court
  in:
                     (A)  a justice or municipal court;
                     (B)  a county court for conduct punishable only by
  a fine; or
                     (C)  a truancy court;
               (3)  conduct that violates Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06,
  49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code; [or]
               (4)  conduct that violates Section 106.041, Alcoholic
  Beverage Code, relating to driving under the influence of alcohol
  by a minor (third or subsequent offense); or
               (5)  conduct for which a person is subject to a civil
  penalty under Section 481.1211, Health and Safety Code, or that
  violates Section 481.1212 of that code.
         SECTION 6.  Section 118.124, Local Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 118.124.  PROHIBITED FEES. A justice of the peace is
  not entitled to a fee for:
               (1)  the examination of a paper or record in the
  justice's office;
               (2)  filing any process or document the justice issues
  that is returned to court;
               (3)  a motion or judgment on a motion for security for
  costs;
               (4)  taking or approving a bond for costs; [or]
               (5)  the first copy of a document in a criminal case
  issued to:
                     (A)  a criminal defendant in the case;
                     (B)  an attorney representing a criminal
  defendant in the case; or
                     (C)  a prosecuting attorney; or
               (6)  the filing of a civil action by the state under
  Section 481.1211, Health and Safety Code.
         SECTION 7.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  a violation of law that occurs on or after the effective date of
  this Act. A violation that occurs before the effective date of this
  Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the violation
  occurred, and the former law is continued in effect for that
  purpose. For purposes of this section, a violation of law occurred
  before the effective date of this Act if any element of the
  violation occurred before that date.
         SECTION 8.  This Act takes effect December 1, 2017.
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