Penalties and Fines for Drug Charges in Tennessee

Tennessee drug crimes carry severe penalties and fines. Even if you face a misdemeanor charge, like simple possession, the penalties and fines can be jarring. The charges for drug crimes in the state range from rehabilitation to jail or prison time, depending on the charge's severity and specifics.

5 Types of Drug Charges

While some of the larger metropolitan areas have sought decriminalization and reduced policing of marijuana cases, the drug is still considered illegal in Tennessee. Regardless of what type of drug crime you’re charged with, you need to prepare an aggressive defense. You will need to secure legal representation so you can begin putting together a strategy that addresses the specifics of your situation. You don’t want to arrive in criminal court without a solid legal defense in place to fight drug charges.

Tennessee has 5 drug charges residents and visitors should be aware of when in the state:

  • Drug Trafficking
  • Drug Manufacturing
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance w/Intent
  • Sale of a Controlled Substance
  • Simple Possession

Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance in Tennessee

The crime of simple possession sounds like a minor incident, but according to Tennessee Code 39-17-418, the offense is a misdemeanor. The punishment for a conviction ranges from no jail time to up to a year in jail. The fine for simple possession is $2500. Simple possession is the crime of being found in possession of a controlled substance. Simple possession also means the amount of drugs found in possession were within limits considered consistent with personal use. Possession of sellable quantities of controlled substances carry a stiffer penalty.

Tennessee marijuana drug laws apply charges based on possession amounts:

Simple Possession: The charge of simple possession is the only drug charge categorized as a misdemeanor.

  • Up to ½ ounce is a (Class A Misdemeanor)

Sale or Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent

The crime of possession with intent is a serious charge. All charges of possession with intent are considered felonies, and the punishment can range from 1 year in jail to 30+ years in state prison.

Sale or Possession w/Intent: All of these charges are felonies, ranging in penalties and fines.

  • ½ Ounce to 10 lbs. (Class E Felony)
  • 10 lbs. to 70 lbs. (Class D Felony)
  • 70 lbs. to 300 lbs. (Class C Felony)
  • 300+ lbs. (Class B Felony)

Sale or possession with intent is a serious drug charge. All four charges for possession with intent are classified as felonies. The penalties for these felonies range in length:

  • Class B Felony: 8 to 30 years
  • Class C Felony: 3 to 15 years
  • Class D Felony: 2 to 12 years
  • Class E Felony: 1 to 6 years

The Lasting Consequences of a Drug Conviction

A drug conviction can impact your life for many years after the crime. In addition to carrying a stigma, felony convictions can also leave you limited in career choices. You will also incur fines, possible prison time, and loss of privileges. With so much at risk, if you face drug charges, you need to work with an attorney to mount a strong defense. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Patton and Pittman to schedule a consultation to discuss your case's specifics. The sooner you reach out to our team at (931) 361-4477, the sooner we can start working on your defense.

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