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  85R1455 JSC-D
 
  By: Moody H.B. No. 81
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to a civil action to collect a civil penalty for possession
  of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to
  prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia.
         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 Section 481.1211 to read as follows:
         Sec. 481.1211.  CIVIL PENALTY: POSSESSION OF SMALL AMOUNT OF
  MARIHUANA.  (a)  A person who knowingly or intentionally possesses a
  usable quantity of marihuana in an amount that is one ounce or less
  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.
         (c)  A peace officer may not make an arrest solely because of
  a violation of this section.  A peace officer may issue to a person
  who violates this section 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 civil violation
  charged.
         (d)  The district or county attorney of the county in which
  the conduct described by Subsection (a) is alleged to have occurred
  may 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.
         (e)  A civil action under this section shall be conducted in
  the manner provided by Chapter 45, Code of Criminal Procedure, as if
  an offense were charged, except that:
               (1)  the court may not:
                     (A)  issue an arrest warrant under Article 45.014,
  Code of Criminal Procedure; or
                     (B)  require the person liable for a civil penalty
  to give bail under Article 45.016, Code of Criminal Procedure;
               (2)  a citation issued under this section is considered
  to be a sufficient complaint for purposes of Articles 45.018 and
  45.019, Code of Criminal Procedure, if the citation is filed with
  the court by a district or county attorney; and
               (3)  a person liable for a civil penalty under this
  section may not appeal under Article 45.042, Code of Criminal
  Procedure.
         (f)(1)  Before imposing a civil penalty under this section,
  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.
               (2)  Subsections (i) and (j) apply to a person for whom
  a court waives a penalty under Subdivision (1).
         (g)  The court may waive or reduce the civil penalty for a
  person other than a person described by Subsection (f) if:
               (1)  the person subject to a civil penalty under this
  section attends a program that provides education in substance
  abuse and is approved by the Department of State Health Services 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.
         (h)  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.
         (i)  Law enforcement may seize any marihuana in possession of
  a person subject to a civil penalty under this section. If marihuana
  is seized under this section, law enforcement shall preserve the
  marihuana as if the marihuana were evidence of an offense under this
  chapter pending the final resolution of a civil proceeding under
  this section.  After final resolution of a civil proceeding under
  this section, any marihuana seized is subject to forfeiture and
  shall be disposed of in accordance with Section 481.159.
         (j)  The identity of a person cited or found liable for a
  civil penalty under this section is confidential information under
  Section 552.101, Government Code.
         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.
         SECTION 4.  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.
         SECTION 5.  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 6.  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 7.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.