Important Factors to Consider in a Drug Possession Defense

When charged with drug possession, an aggressive and well-crafted defense can be the only thing standing between you and severe legal consequences. You must take proactive steps early in your case, whether it's hiring a skilled attorney or understanding your options.

This article discusses the crucial aspects of a drug possession defense and the steps to take to protect yourself.

Drug Possession Laws in Tennessee

Drug possession laws in Tennessee can lead to serious consequences. If you are caught with illegal substances, you can face a range of penalties, including fines, probation, and even jail time.

The severity of the punishment varies based on a few key factors, including the type and amount of drug in possession. Your previous criminal history also matters.

The state also considers some drugs worse than others. For instance, penalties for a marijuana charge are far less severe than those for cocaine or heroin.

The Differences Between Possession and Intent to Distribute

Possession typically refers to an individual who has drugs in their possession for personal use.

Intent to distribute suggests that the individual is selling the drugs in question.

The consequences for both offenses can be severe, but intent to distribute carries much harsher penalties.

Authorities use various factors to prove an intent to distribute. They consider the amount of drugs in possession, how they are packaged, and the presence of weapons or large amounts of cash.

Investigating Police Procedure in a Drug Possession Arrest

If you have been arrested for drug possession, remember that you have legal rights that must be protected. One of those rights is that police officers must follow proper procedure when making an arrest. This includes obtaining a search warrant, reading you your Miranda rights, and properly documenting the evidence at the scene of the arrest.

It’s easy for police to break such procedure, even if it is by accident. Regardless of the motivation, you can challenge the procedure in your defense. If your attorney can prove that police officers did not follow proper procedure during your drug possession arrest, the entire case against you can be thrown out.

Mitigating Factors That Could Lessen Drug Possession Penalties

Drug possession penalties can be severe and life-altering, but some factors could mitigate the severity of these penalties.

For instance, the substance involved matters. Possession of less dangerous drugs like marijuana typically has lesser penalties compared to hard drugs like cocaine or heroin.

Another factor is the amount of substance found. Authorities typically assume smaller quantities are for personal use, and this can result in a simple possession charge.

The alleged offender's criminal history also plays a role in lessening penalties. A first-time offender may be treated more leniently than a repeat offender with a history of drug-related crimes.

Lastly, if the possession was accidental or if the offender was coerced in any way, a court may rule for a lesser sentence.

When Is a Plea Bargain a Good Option?

A plea bargain is a negotiated agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant. The accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions or benefits.

Plea bargains are a valuable tool for resolving a criminal case, including drug possession charges. They are an attractive option if you are facing serious consequences, such as lengthy prison sentences or hefty fines.

Before taking a plea bargain, you must weigh the pros and cons carefully. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before making a decision. A plea bargain is not the best option for everyone, and you need a clear understanding of your rights and options before proceeding.

Evidence That Proves You Weren't Aware of the Drug’s Presence

Often, people are accused of drug possession, but they were never aware of the fact that drugs were on or near them. To prove this claim, you need strong evidence.

One type of evidence that may be useful is documentation showing that you were in a location where you had no knowledge of a drug’s presence. This evidence could include a receipt or other proof of purchase in a different location. Surveillance video could show that you were in a different room when the drugs were discovered.

Additionally, witness statements can support your claim that you were unaware of the drugs. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong case by gathering such evidence effectively.

Other Legal Options

Drug court and diversion programs are helpful for nonviolent drug offenders. They provide the opportunity to seek treatment, avoid jail time, and clear your record.

Drug court is a specialized program where you can undergo drug treatment and court supervision rather than imprisonment. Diversion programs offer similar treatment options without the formal courtroom structure.

Both programs aim to address the root causes of drug addiction and decrease recidivism rates. Seeking legal options such as drug court or diversion programs can be a life-changing decision for those struggling with addiction in Tennessee.

If you are facing drug charges, Patton & Pittman Attorneys. For a consultation, set up time with us online or call us at (931) 361-4477.

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