Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Shares Tips Surrounding Total Solar Eclipse Celebration

solar eclipse

The once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse on April 8th will bring millions of people to Central Texas and the Hill Country. Here’s what a criminal defense lawyer wants you to know.

Eclipse Safety: Don't Let a Traffic Stop Ruin Your Trip!

  1. In Austin, drugs are basically legal. Or at least they’re not prosecuted. If you possess less than 4 grams of a controlled substance, and you’re not committing other crimes, most officers won’t even arrest you nowadays.
  2. If you’re in Austin and you get caught with a marijuana joint or THC edible, it’s possible the cop will even give you a light.
  3. Step one foot outside of Travis County, however, and the rules of the game are totally different. While Hays County and Williamson County are softer on drug possession than they used to be, you’re still facing at least probation for most THC possession cases.
  4. If you venture into the Hill Country, be VERY careful, especially in Blanco, Burnet, Llano, and San Saba counties. These are law and order jurisdictions, and possession of marijuana still results in arrest and aggressive prosecution.
  5. Kerr and Gillespie County law enforcement are also aggressive when it comes to drugs. While Hill Country prosecutors offer diversion opportunities, these are generally limited to people with spotless records.
  6. Don’t speed. Don’t change lanes without signaling. And don’t drive in the left lane unless you’re passing. Law enforcement throughout the Texas Hill Country aggressively enforce traffic violations and will stop vehicles for even minor violations.
  7. Really, I mean it, don’t speed. You can be legally stopped for driving even one mile over the speed limit. And most officers will conduct a warrantless search if they so much as smell a whiff of marijuana (or even perfectly legal hemp).
  8. If an officer asks to search your vehicle, just say no. Even if you think your car is cleaner than the Popemobile, still say no. Remember that vape pen Cousin Jimmy left in the back seat? It probably contains THC.
  9. And don’t forget about your right to remain silent. Remember, if an officer asks you, “did you smoke marijuana today?” you can choose to remain silent and assert your rights.
  10.  Most importantly, don’t use drugs and don’t bring drugs to the Texas Hill Country. Even tiny amounts can become very, very expensive problems. It’s just a bad idea.