Drug Charges in Tennessee
In Tennessee, a person may be charged with any of the following drug-related offenses:
Simple Possession or casual exchange is the lowest drug offense in Tennessee. According to Tennessee Code Section 39-17-418:
“It is an offense for a person to knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of professional practice.”
Simple possession is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Possession With Intent to Sell
In Tennessee, if the quantity of controlled substance found in your possession is considerably more than a reasonable amount meant for personal consumption or recreational use, you may be facing “possession with intent to sell” charges.
Sale of a Controlled Substance
A person may be charged for the sale of a controlled substance when a police officer has directly observed a drug sale or the drug sale involved an undercover law enforcement officer.
An individual may be facing drug trafficking charges for transporting large amounts of controlled substances, especially across state lines. Transporting substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl in large quantities can easily lead to drug trafficking charges.
Drug manufacturing occurs when a person is involved in any process involved in producing or creating an illicit drug or controlled substance. Under Tennessee state laws, cultivating or manufacturing illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine, is considered illegal.
Possession with intent to sell, drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, and sale of a controlled substance are felony charges with serious penalties, including prison time, hefty fines, and a criminal record.
In Tennessee, controlled substances are classified into seven “schedules.” The schedule classifications are based on the level of dangerousness of the drug. They determine the level of charges and the potential consequences of a drug conviction. These schedule classifications are as follows:
Schedule I: These are substances with a high potential for abuse and no medical value. They include heroin, psychedelics, psilocybin mushrooms, and peyote.
Schedule II: These substances have a high potential for abuse and are severely restricted for medical purposes. They include opiates, cocaine, narcotics, methamphetamines, methadone, and amphetamines.
Schedule III: These drugs have a high potential for abuse but less dangerous than Schedule I or Schedule II drugs. They are severely restricted for medical use and treatment. They include some depressants, testosterone, anabolic steroids, and ketamine.
Schedule IV: These are substances with a slight risk of dependency but have numerous medical purposes. They include Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives.
Schedule V: These include substances such as Tylenol and Codeine. They have a lower risk of dependency but may be abused from time to time.
Schedule VI: In Tennessee, marijuana is labeled as a Schedule VI drug. The substance has a low risk of physical dependency.
Schedule VII: This includes only butyl nitrate. The substance is known by several names, including locker room rush and poppers.
Possible Penalties: Sentencing by Schedules
According to Tennessee Code Section 39-17-417, the criminal penalties for selling, delivering, manufacturing, or possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture will depend on the schedule classifications and number of previous offenses.
Schedule I & Schedule II Substances
- Purchase or possession, first offense: Imprisonment for between two and fifteen years.
- Purchase or possession, second offense: Imprisonment for between five and thirty years.
- Sale or intent to distribute, first offense: Imprisonment for between five and thirty years.
- Sale or intent to distribute, second offense: Imprisonment for between ten and forty years OR life imprisonment.
Schedule III, Schedule IV, & Schedule V Substances
- Purchase or possession, first offense: Imprisonment for between one and five years.
- Purchase or possession, second offense: Imprisonment for between one and ten years.
- Sale or intent to distribute, first offense: Imprisonment for between one and ten years.
Drug Charges Defense Attorney in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Drug crimes are serious offenses that are often punished severely in Tennessee. Defending your drug crimes charges without an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can increase your risk of suffering the maximum penalties if convicted. Therefore, when facing drug crime charges, it is important to retain a skilled Tennessee criminal defense attorney to help defend your rights and outline a strong legal defense strategy.
At the Law Offices of Fisher Wise, I have devoted my career to offering comprehensive legal representation in drug law violation matters. As a knowledgeable Tennessee drug crimes defense attorney, I will investigate every detail of your case, strategize an effective defense to establish a strong case, and do everything in my capacity to keep you out of jail. Using my extensive experience, I will help you navigate the Tennessee criminal justice system, fight vigorously to defend your rights, and improve your prospects of a favorable outcome.