Written by attorney Jose Juan Salayandia

Possession of Marijuana Arrest and Effects on Federal Financial Aid

First, a Possession of Marijuana Arrest is one of the most common arrests in El Paso, Texas. Keep in mind that this is not legal advice and that you can could ** contact me** if you are facing this type of situation.

A possession of marijuana arrest occurs after the law enforcement officer finds the marijuana or some traces of marijuana in a container or a device for marijuana consumption. It is important that one recognize the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present. The moment that one requests an attorney AND exercises their right to remain silent, the initial interview should stop. Additionally, an individual that has been pulled over can decline the law enforcement officer’s request to inspect the vehicle. The law enforcement officer will likely inspect the vehicle after an arrest has been made.

Before we get into the topic, possession of marijuana arrest effect on federal financial aid, I will include the potential penalties for a conviction for this offense. These are the basic penalties and a consultation with an ** attorney** is recommended to get the more detailed explanation of the penalties in Texas.

  • Possession of 2 oz or less is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  • Possession of 2 to 4 oz is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
  • Possession of 4 oz to 1lb is a felony, punishable by 180 days to 2 years jail, and a $10,000 fine.
  • Possession of 1 to 5lbs is a felony, punishable by 180 days to 2 years in jail, and a $10,000 fine. Similar to the previous possession, but the jail sentence will be more towards the maximum.
  • Possession of 5 to 50lbs is a felony in the third degree, punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a $10.000 fine.
  • Possession of 50 to 2,000 lbs is a felony in the second degree, punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Similar to the previous possession, but the jail sentence will be more towards the maximum.
  • Possession of more than 2,000lbs is a felony in the first degree, punishable by 5-99 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

In order to get a conviction or prosecuted for this offense of possession of marijuana, the prosecution must satisfy the required elements beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s important to hire an ** attorney** to get a good idea if the facts will satisfy this requirement. Some possible defenses include things like the marijuana was not in the possession of the defendant or the substance was not marijuana. ** As your law firm**, I can review the police reports, pictures, and video to ensure that we fight for your rights.

If a conviction is secured by plea or trial, the prosecutor can recommend a sentence but the Honorable Judge is free to give the sentence he or she sees as appropriate (some rules apply and it’s best to consult with an attorney). The possible outcomes to a conviction are probation, fee, jail time, or a combination of the above mentioned things. Also, it could be the case that the defendant gets some time of deferred probation. In this scenario, the accused declares himself guilty but the judge does not accept the plea. In this case, if the terms of probation are adequately satisfied, the case gets dismissed without the plea of guilty ever being accepted.

Two other outcomes are Pre-Trial Diversion (known as PTD) or a dismissal. A dismissal takes effect the moment the prosecutor submits the motion to dismiss and the Honorable Judge grants it. It is always good to be able to not fail a drug test the day of your hearing if it is the case that your attorney is trying to get something dismissed.

The Pre-Trial Diversion outcome is a bit more complicated. PTD is very similar to probation in that there are classes and fees associated with a period of time that the Pre-Trial Diversion team is supervising the individual. However, if the individual completes the requirements and pays the associated fees, the case gets dismissed. Usually, PTD is offered to individuals who have had no prior interactions with law enforcement agencies.

Financial Aid Issues

In order to understand some of the issues that might affect your federal financial aid, you should be clear of the result from the possession of marijuana arrest. Was it a conviction or was it a successful deferred probation, PTD, or dismissal outcome? If you do not have a conviction, then you are likely in the clear. However, you might be eligible for part of the year based on the type of drug conviction and how long ago it happened. You can also not be eligible or you could be eligible for Federal Financial Aid. It’s important to speak with your attorney with regards to the outcome of the arrest so that you can accurately answer the questions on the FAFSA.

Additionally, you should know which convictions will count and which will not count. It could be the case that conviction that were removed from your record will not count. Convictions (or adjudications) that occurred before you turned 18 years old will likely not count unless you were convicted and treated as an adult.

What happens if you have a conviction that makes you ineligible for Federal Financial Aid? You should contact the financial aid department at your school to see what programs you are not eligible to receive. It could be that you can’t be a student worker or receive grants. Also, your financial aid office could direct you to some rehabilitation program that qualifies under the rules of financial aid for reinstatement of Federal Financial Aid. For the program to qualify, it must satisfy various requirements. Among these requirements, you will find that the program must have two (2) unannounced drug tests AND be recognized as a Federal, State, or Local government agency run program. The requirements sometimes change and a quick visit to your financial aid office would be very beneficial.

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If you have other questions, you might find some answers on my blog at

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