Although social attitudes about drugs have changed dramatically in recent years, the laws in Tennessee really haven’t followed suit. It is still against the law to use, possess, manufacture and sell controlled substances and numerous prohibited drugs. Those who are arrested based on allegations of violating drug laws may face harsh sentences in many cases and, all too often, life-altering criminal charges.
The exact penalties that someone will face depend on various factors, including the type of drug involved, the amount of the drug police discover and the defendant’s criminal history. Some drug offenses in Tennessee are misdemeanor charges, but others are classified as felony charges.
It can be hard for people to understand exactly what penalties they might face after an arrest because of the vast array of drug charges possible under Tennessee state law. Those who learn more about basic drug charges will be in a better position to mount the strongest possible defense under the circumstances.
When is a drug crime a misdemeanor?
First-time possession offenses in Tennessee often lead to misdemeanor charges that frequently carry up to $2,500 in fines and potentially up to a year in state custody in some cases. However, only those in possession of a small amount of a substance will face simple possession charges. Anyone caught with more than a half ounce of a controlled substance will likely face more serious penalties.
Other than first-time possession charges, the other possible drug charges in Tennessee are actually felony offenses. Drug sales, possession with intent to sell, as well as manufacturing and trafficking, are all possible charges when the police arrest someone with a large amount of controlled substances in their possession.
The weight of the substances will determine the class of the felony offense and therefore the amount of prison time possible. Those caught with under ten pounds of a controlled substance might face up to six years in state custody. Those caught with more than 300 pounds could face up to 30 years in prison.
Learning state law is a good start for those accused of breaking it
Anyone who has been accused of a criminal infraction needs to educate themselves and get adequate legal support if they want to avoid life-altering consequences. Mounting a strong defense strategy in the Tennessee criminal courts can benefit those who have been accused of drug charges ranging from first-time misdemeanor offenses to very serious felony charges.