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July 13, 2001 I went to a friend’s house. The were drinking and what not. As I was leaving, they decided to drive to the store. I didn’t want them to drive, so I offered to take them. As we exited their apartment complex, I took a left into a parking lot of a grocery store due to the fact the light at the end of their road literally took 10 minutes to change. Well, I got pulled over for “evading a traffic signal”. The fellas in the car smelled of marijuana, I did not. So we were all ordered out of the car. As the driver, I was put in the back of the police car, alone. An officer came up and asked if they could search. I said, “Sure. There’s nothing in the car.” BECAUSE TO MY KNOWLEDGE THERE WASN’T. Well, a few minutes later, he comes back to his car with a bag of dirty brown weed. “What’s this?” “Well, it looks like marijuana, but it’s not mine.” “You’re the driver, and they aren’t claiming it.” (The guys were actually on ecstasy and alcohol, but they were allowed to go home.) I went to jail a week before my son was born. My court appointed attorney told me I should take probation, since “it’s your weed, dude”. According to him, the laws of Texas state the DRIVER is ultimately responsible, even if they don’t know about illegal substances on the persons with whom they are travelling. So I took probation, deferred adjudification. And I made a mistake. Ten months later, after going to drug counseling that I had to pay for OUT OF MY OWN POCKET at $100 a week, I was leaving the clinic. A different friend said, “It’s 4/20. I know you haven’t smoked, just smoke this once.” Stupidly, I did. Three days later, I was given a urinalysis by the drug counselor, not my Probation officer. I failed. When I saw my probation officer, he said I was being sent to boot camp. (This is my ONLY criminal charge, EVER btw). I called a lawyer, who told me to NOT return to my P.O. as there would be a Sheriff to take me into custody. We saw the Judge in November, who said “I’m not giving him an second chances. 180 days in jail.” I served 4 months in Harris County jail, for 20 grams of shwag.

I haven’t committed any more crimes, I don’t even drive anymore because I can’t afford the insurance. And this stupid conviction, 8 years old now, has prevented me from getting the jobs I want, am qualified for, and deserve.
User story by StupidChoices in Texas

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