TN Law: Distinguishing Between Simple Possession and Possession with Intent

If you’re suspected of a drug crime in Tennessee, you should learn about the different laws around this crime. For instance, there are different charges for different levels of possession. Learning facts like these helps you protect your rights.

In this article, we talk about the difference between simple possession and possession with intent as it relates to Tennessee law. We'll explore what each charge means and how each is treated by the state’s criminal justice system. By understanding these nuances, you will gain valuable insight into the severity of these accusations, and you may discover ways to defend yourself against these allegations.

What is Simple Possession in TN?

Simple possession refers to the act of possessing a controlled substance without the intent to distribute. Often, a simple possession charge means the police believe you had just a small amount of the drug on you.

In Tennessee, simple possession is a misdemeanor and carries penalties such as fines, community service, and even jail time.

What Is Possession with Intent in TN?

In Tennessee law, possession with intent means the defendant had control over a prohibited substance, and they had the intention to either distribute or manufacture it.

Elements of possession with intent include:

  • The amount and type of drug
  • Any evidence of past transactions
  • The presence of paraphernalia such as scales or packaging materials

If found guilty, suspects face lengthy prison terms and hefty fines.

What to Do if You’re Accused of Drug Possession in Tennessee

Being accused of drug possession in Tennessee is a serious situation that comes with severe consequences. If you find yourself in this situation, remain calm and take immediate action.

First and foremost, do not admit to any wrongdoing. Remember your right to remain silent, and don’t make any statements without consulting a lawyer. Legal representation is another of your rights, so exercise it. Secure legal counsel as soon as possible.

In fact, you should avoid discussing the situation with anyone other than your lawyer. Remember the old saying, “Loose lips sink ships.” Even if you are innocent, a simple slip of the tongue could be misinterpreted, and even a close friend could be forced to testify against you.

Tips for Choosing a Qualified Attorney

First, make sure the lawyer is experienced in drug possession cases. Look for someone who has a deep understanding of Tennessee's drug laws and has successfully defended clients with similar charges.

Next, choose an attorney who you feel comfortable communicating with. You should feel free to openly express yourself. Also, look for a lawyer who will keep you informed every step of the way. Don’t let anyone tell you, “Don’t worry about what I’m doing. Just trust me.” This is a giant red flag. This person holds your freedom in your hand, and you must know what they’re up to.

Remember, the consequences of a drug possession conviction can be severe, including jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can impact your future. Choose your attorney wisely and give yourself the best chance for a positive outcome.

Patton & Pittman Attorneys has years of experience defending clients against drug possession allegations. Our team will always include you in every step of the process, never leaving you in the dark. If you need help, set up a free consultation with us by contacting us online or calling us now at (931) 361-4477.

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