The penalties for a drug-related criminal conviction vary according to the type and quantity of the drugs involved, but they can be very severe in many circumstances. When you are facing drug charges, you may need a solid legal defense to protect your future.
Retaining a Chattanooga drug lawyer may be your most effective means of defending yourself against drug charges. By enlisting the aid of a seasoned criminal defense attorney, you may be in a better position to avoid or minimize unwanted repercussions.
There are various types of drug crimes codified under Tennessee state law, the penalties for which differ according to the nature of the crime, the amounts of drugs involved, and the class of drugs involved. Commonly seen drug crimes include:
The Tennessee Drug Control Act utilizes the same classification system as the federal Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes controlled substances into one of five schedules based on its level of danger to the public, its risk of misuse, and its accepted medicinal uses. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous and thus carry the potential for the most significant penalties, whereas Schedule V drugs are the least hazardous of controlled substances.
Generally, the larger the amount of the drugs involved and the more dangerous the drugs are, the more severe the penalties for a conviction may be. A Chattanooga drug attorney could further explain the elements required for a conviction for each drug offense and the full range of their consequences.
Simple possession drug charges are among the most frequently charged in Chattanooga. Under Tennessee Code Annotated §39-17-418, individuals commit simple possession when they knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance, except on the authority of a valid prescription by a doctor.
A charge for simple possession is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a jail sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days. Individuals also may be subject to probation, random drug screens, community service hours, drug offender school, and fees. The type of the drug involved may also alter the sentence—for instance, individuals who possess any amount of methamphetamine must serve a minimum 30-day jail sentence.
Possession of large amounts of drugs typically results in charges for production, delivery, sales, or possession with intent to distribute. Other factors that might lead to these charges can include the presence of large sums of cash, individual packaging of the drugs, and distribution paraphernalia such as scales and baggies.
The level of the charges and the resulting penalties depend on the schedule and the amount of the drug. Under Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-417, for example, the distribution or possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I controlled substance can result in Class B felony charges and a maximum $100,000 fine. Having the assistance of a drug lawyer in Chattanooga can be crucial to achieving a favorable outcome under these circumstances.
Every drug case is different, and the consequences of a conviction can vary significantly depending on the particular charges. Since the ramifications of a drug conviction can impact your life dramatically, you are likely to need the help of a Chattanooga drug lawyer.
With a drug conviction on your record, you may experience difficulties in finding jobs, pursuing specific careers, and obtaining some professional licenses, and you also may find it more challenging to find housing and get credit. By building a strong defense to the charges against you, you may be able to reach a better outcome in your case. Call today to get started.