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Q

I had my driver's license suspended for possession of Marijuana and when the time was up and I got my license back I had to get an SR22 certificate. How long does one have to have the SR22? I got my license back in January of 2007. I live in San Antonio, Texas


A

The usual penalties for possession of marijuana with intent on personal consumptions are 0 - 180 days imprisonment and or a fine of up to $2,000. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) a person's license is also automatically suspended upon final conviction of a drug offense (which does NOT have to occur while operating a motor vehicle). The suspension period is 180 days (6 months).

In addition, a drug education program is automatically required and must be completed within the 180-day suspension period or the license remains suspended until such time as a certificate of completion is received by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). You can read more about these laws under Texas Transportation Code section 521.372.

The reinstatement requirements after a drug (marijuana possession) offense include:

  • A reinstatement fees will be required prior to the renewal/issuance of a driver license.
  • Obtain proof of insurance (form SR-22) from your insurance company and submit to the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS). The SR-22 is required for two years from date of conviction.
  • Certificate of completion of the required drug class must be forwarded to DPS.

So after your 6 month driver's license suspension you will need to maintain a SR-22 filing with the state for 2 years.

For general information, Section 481.121, Texas Health and Safety Code, deals with possession of marijuana offenses and gives the following penalty information:

  • less than 2 oz. is a Class B misdemeanor;
  • more than 2 oz. and less than 4 oz. is a Class A misdemeanor;
  • more than 4 oz. and less than five pounds is a state jail felony;
  • more than five pounds and less than 50 pounds is a 3rd degree felony;
  • more than 50 pounds and less than 2000 pounds is a 2nd degree felony;
  • and more than 2000 pounds is life imprisonment or a term of 5 to 99 years and a fine not to exceed $50,000.

So you are familiar with the specific penalties that are associated with misdemeanor and felony charges in Texas see the list below:

  • A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
  • A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or both fine and confinement.
  • A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or both fine and confinement.
  • A state jail felony is punishable by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than 2 years or less than 180 days and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
  • A 3rd degree felony is punishable by imprisonment for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
  • A 2nd degree felony is punishable by imprisonment for any term of not more than 20 years of less than 2 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
  • A 1st degree felony is punishable by imprisonment.

In 2005 there was House Bill 254 that was put forth in Texas which would have reclassified marijuana possession of up to one ounce of marijuana as a Class C misdemeanor instead a Class B. A Class C misdemeanor is the category of most traffic violations. HB 254 would have left possession of one to two ounces at that level (same level as first time DWI). This would have allowed police officers to confiscate the marijuana, and write someone a ticket for it, rather than arresting them and placing the offender in jail.

Under this Bill offenders would have to undergo drug counseling. The driver's license suspension would remain since it was added as a penalty to comply with federal drug law. Despite this House Bill passing unanimously through the TX House Criminal Jurisprudence committee, it was never scheduled for a floor vote, and died so the Texas penalties for possession of marijuana were not amended and remain the same as they have been.


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