Understanding Drugs Charges in Tennessee

What You Should Know About Tennessee Drug Crimes

The state of Tennessee takes drug crimes very seriously, and prosecutors are cracking down on getting all offenders to face consequences. Our state has specific laws that govern how you will be charged and what consequences you may face, which can make your case that much more complicated.

If you’re charged with a drug-related offense in Tennessee, it’s essential to understand the details of your charges and how you should proceed in order to protect yourself and your future.

What are the Different Categories of Drugs in Tennessee?

Under federal law, different drugs are classified into different categories, typically referred to as “schedules” for the purpose of determining the level of harm each type of drug poses as well as the legal penalties associated with charges involving them.

Tennessee schedules are adopted and adjusted from federal rulings, giving us seven categories. Some of the most common include:

Schedule I

These include psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and mushrooms, as well as heroin. This schedule is considered to be the most dangerous as the drugs are highly-addictive and serve no medical purpose.

Schedule II

These drugs are also considered highly-addictive but can serve some medical purpose. They include opiates/opioids, methamphetamines, and cocaine.

Schedule III

These drugs are considered less, but still potentially abusive and can include testosterone, anabolic steroids, and certain depressants.

Schedule IV

Drugs in this category have several medical purposes but pose a risk of dependency. They include diazepam (Valium®), alprazolam (Xanax®), and other sedatives.

Schedule VI

In Tennessee, this schedule includes marijuana, unlike federal statutes that place it in a high category, since it has a low risk of abuse. However, it is still considered illegal, for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

What are Tennessee Drug Charges?

If you’re found with drugs, there are several different charges you could face depending on the details of your arrest.

Simple Possession

The lowest possible charge, simple possession, will always be considered a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, regardless of what substance you are found with. If you are a second-offender or are found with more than half an ounce of the substance, you could be charged with a felony.

Misdemeanor possession carries penalties of up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines, while felony possession carries the potential for up to six years in jail and $3,000 in fines.

Possession with Intent to Sell

Depending on the amount of drugs you’re found with, you may be charged with intent to sell — even if you did not intend to sell the drugs. The prosecution will typically use the presence of items associated with selling, such as scales or bags, to argue you planned on selling the drugs. Under state law, this charge is considered a felony, meaning you can face heavy penalties.

Drug Trafficking or Manufacturing

When it comes to manufacturing and trafficking drugs, both federal and state laws (and the resulting penalties) may apply.

If you transport drugs over state lines, you may face federal charges, while trafficking and manufacturing done within Tennessee borders will face state charges. It’s also important to know that you can face manufacturing charges whether you intended to distribute the drugs or keep them for personal use.

If you’re convicted of either of these crimes, you will face a minimum of one year in jail, as well as be subject to heavy fines, long probation periods, community service, and much more.

Do I Need a Lawyer When Faced with Drug Charges?

In short, yes. Tennessee takes drug crimes very seriously, putting your entire future on the line if you’re convicted. On top of jail time and heavy fines, drug crime charges can result in a loss of :

  • Driving privileges — especially if your drug charge is related to a DUI

  • Firearm privileges

  • Voting privileges

  • Job and livelihood

When you’re facing drug charges in Tennessee, you need an experienced legal team who will aggressively defend you.

Tipton County Drug Crime Attorneys

The legal team at Huffman Mason, PLLC can help you build an aggressive and dynamic defense. You can expect a professional and innovative defense, and our combined 40 years of experience will create an effective and airtight defense against your drug-related charge.

Contact us today to begin building your defense!