Drug crimes in Tennessee are serious offenses, and with the increased media attention being given to drug addiction and decriminalization, it’s important to revisit the consequences of being charged with illegal drug usage in Tennessee. While there are drug diversion programs for first-time offenders, for those with multiple offenses, the penalties and fines can become very steep. For offenders facing even misdemeanor charges for crimes like simple possession, the consequences of minor offenses can have lasting consequences.
Felony & Misdemeanor Drug Charges in Tennessee
The holiday season is upon us, and we can expect an influx of college students returning from out of state and guests coming to visit family and friends. While larger metropolitan areas in the state have started decriminalizing marijuana cases, Tennessee still considers it a controlled substance. Whether you’re charged with a felony or a misdemeanor drug crime, it’s important that you start preparing an aggressive defense strategy. Securing legal representation as soon as possible ensures your attorney has time to put together a strong defense on your behalf.
Our attorneys can help you develop a legal defense against any of the following charges:
- 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
If you are found in possession of a controlled substance, you can be charged with simple possession. The charge of simple possession also means the quantity of drugs in possession was within the range considered consistent for personal use. Possession of sellable amounts of controlled substances is a more serious crime with stiffer penalties. Simple possession, according to Tennessee Code 39-17-418, is a misdemeanor drug crime with fines and penalties ranging from no jail time to up to a year in jail. The fine for simple possession is $2500. The charge of simple possession is the only drug charge categorized as a misdemeanor. Controlled substances under ½ an ounce fall within the boundaries of simple possession.
Tennessee First Time Offender Program
Tennessee has a first-time offender’s program that helps those without a history of crime avoid prosecution for a first-time drug offense. The program is available to offenders without a felony conviction or previous criminal record. If a defendant completes the state’s diversion program, they can avoid criminal prosecution and keep the drug conviction off their record.
To be eligible for the state of Tennessee’s diversion program, a defendant must meet the following requirements:
- It’s the defendant’s first and only time being granted a pretrial diversion
- The defendant has never served jail time for a misdemeanor conviction
- The defender either has no felony convictions, or it’s been at least five years since all sentencing or probationary programs were completed.
- The defendant has never been or is not currently seeking suspension of Class A, Class B, or Class C felony
- The defendant cannot have a Class A, Class B, or Class C felony conviction for a sex crime, DUI, or vehicular assault
- The defendant has never been convicted for a Class A misdemeanor or higher
The Lasting Consequences of a Drug Conviction
Drug convictions can have a lasting effect on your life. Even after you’ve paid the penalties and fines for the crime, you could be carrying the stigma of a drug conviction for the rest of your life. A drug penalty can limit your career choices and leave you with a steep uphill climb to restore your life. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Patton and Pittman so we can review your case and begin developing a strategy for your defense. The sooner you reach out to our team at (931) 361-4477, the sooner we can start working on your case.