In 2014, drug-related charges were one of the most common criminal charges that people faced in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Over 47,000 individuals were charged with criminal offenses that were drug-related.
Tennessee judges do not take drug and alcohol offenses lightly. Regardless of the level of the charge, prosecutors, judges, and police officers seek to hold offenders accountable for crimes allegedly committed.
There are five types of drug-related charges in the state of Tennessee.
- Simple possession, casual exchange
- Possession with intent
- Sale of a controlled substance
- Drug trafficking and conspiracy
- Drug manufacturing
What are the drug possession penalties?
A first time charge of simple possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance under Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-418 is a Class A misdemeanor, which can be punished with up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and fines of up to $2,500. A violation under Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-418 is a felony if a person has two or more prior convictions under this section.
It is important to note that these charges typically only are used in cases involving the alleged possession of small amounts of controlled substance. Possession of a larger amount could lead to more serious charges, such as possession with intent to sell.
Penalties for Drug Charges
In an effort to combat the chronic drug problem in the state, law enforcement in Tennessee is rather heavy handed when it comes to seeking and apprehending drug dealers and even recreational users.
If you have been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance in Tennessee, you could face penalties including:
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Forfeiture of property
- Jail and/or prison time
- Community service
A drug offense conviction could also have various other harmful long-term effects. These can include limiting a person’s ability to find employment, ability to own or possess a firearm, one’s eligibility for federal student aid, and immigration consequences. Additionally, people who are convicted of certain offenses that involve amphetamine, methamphetamine, and other stimulants are added to the Tennessee Drug Offender Registry, which is publicly searchable.