Sometimes Nothing is Better than Something
By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – It has been said that “something is better than nothing.” It can be argued, however, that sometimes nothing is better than something.
Such was the case on Friday, Jan. 26 when a Hempstead man turned a Class B misdemeanor drug possession charge into a third degree felony when he attempted to get rid of the illegal substance.
Derrick Dewayne Punchard, 28, was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and tampering with evidence after he was pulled over on a bicycle early Friday morning.
An arrest report obtained from the Crockett Police Department indicated Punchard was riding a bicycle along South Fourth Street at approximately 1 a.m. when CPD Officer Damarcus Williams initiated a traffic stop.
According to the report, Williams made the stop because Punchard was in violation of a city ordinance requiring bicycles to have some type of illumination when used after dark.
“While telling the individual about the city ordinance, he kept sticking his hands into his hoodie pocket and I (Williams) could hear what I believed to be a plastic bag rattling,” Williams stated in the report.
Punchard was instructed to take his hands out of his pocket while his identification was being checked. During this time, Williams reported he observed Punchard attempting to dispose of something from inside of his pocket.
The report stated Punchard had bent over to spit but when he straightened up, he kicked his leg in a backwards motion as if trying to hide something.
After observing the kicking motion, the CPD officer immediately detained Punchard. While looking to see what he was kicking, Williams discovered a bag of marijuana in proximity to Punchard.
“I asked Punchard why he tried to get rid of the bag and he stated that ‘something was better than nothing.’ I placed Punchard under arrest for possession of marijuana in an amount less than two ounces and tampering/fabricating physical evidence upon his admission of trying to hide the marijuana,” Williams stated in the report.
The tampering charge is considered a third degree felony while the possession charge is a Class B misdemeanor.
According to Section 12.34 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 10 years or less than two years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”
Punchard is held at the Houston County Jail on bonds totaling $10,000.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.