Drug crimes are always serious. Being arrested for being in possession or dealing drugs could mean facing serious legal consequences, not to mention social ones. Besides facing jail time and losing your freedom, you also face the potential loss of respect from friends and family.
When you’re charged with any form of drug crime in Franklin, you need to seek legal representation to help you beat the charges. Fortunately, the Franklin drug crimes defense lawyers at Nash Law are always ready to help. We understand how catastrophic drug crime convictions can be in Tennessee, even for first-time offenders.
When you contact us, we’ll work our best to make sure that you have a strong criminal defense case before heading to court. Our aim will be to help you dodge a drug conviction so that you can continue with your life. Contact our Franklin criminal defense lawyers at 615-627-4529 for a free consultation.
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What Are Some of the Different Types of Drug Crimes?
The following are some of the different types of drug crimes you could face in Tennessee:
Possession is a charge accusing you of having an illegal drug, such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamines, or other controlled substances in your possession. Based on the amount of drugs, you may be charged with possession with intent to distrubute.
This refers to being in possession or owning items used to produce or consume drugs. Some examples include syringes, rolling papers, scales, little bags, bongs, pipes, etc.
This charge accuses you of transporting illegal drugs. Drug trafficking may take the form of making a delivery of drugs across the state or by importing them while working for drug cartels.
Drug manufacturing is perhaps the most serious drug crime you could find yourself accused of. It simply means that you’re being accused of allegedly making or producing illegal drugs, whether it’s growing marijuana or making meth in a lab.
The Tennessee court system is usually quite strict on drug crimes, which is why it’s essential to work with an experienced drug crime lawyer in Franklin, Tennessee. The state law considers most drug crimes felonies, with the exception of being in possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana.
How Are Drugs and DUI in Tennessee Related?
In Tennessee, the higher the number of times a person is convicted of a drug-related DUI, the more severe the subsequent penalties. In case someone is convicted for DUI more than three times, the subsequent offenses are usually charged as felonies, which are punishable by jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges.
The following are the sentences for a conviction:
- First offenders are required to pay a fine of no more than $1,500 and their licenses revoked for a year.
- Second offenders are required to pay a fine of no more than $3,500, have their licenses revoked for two years, and serve a jail term of at least 45 days up to a year. The driver may also be required to participate in a drug treatment program.
- Third offenders are required to pay a fine of no more than $10,000, have their licenses revoked for six years, and get jail time of at least 120 days up to one year.
- Subsequent offenders will be charged with a Class E felony, serve jail time for one year with a minimum of 150 consecutive days, pay a fine of no more than $15,000, and get their license revoked for 8 years.
- You could face other consequences in case you cause danger to a minor passenger in the car, kill someone in an accident, or when you cause a collision in a DUI accident.
What Are Some Penalties for Drug Crimes in Tennessee?
For all the drug crimes you could be charged with, there are corresponding consequences that would result from a conviction. In Tennessee, possession is regarded as only a misdemeanor offense, while the rest are felony offenses.
Being charged with simple possession or casual exchange is a Class A misdemeanor charge, and the penalty is serving up to a year in jail and paying a fine of up to $2,500. You might also be required to take drug education classes.
Possession with intent, drug trafficking, sale of controlled substances, and drug manufacturing are all considered felony charges. Felony drug convictions usually result in the suspension of your licenses, forfeiture of property, prison/jail time, fines, and probation and/or community service.
Conviction of any number of drug crimes will not only result in legal consequences, but also career-based, familial, and social penalties as well. Your future career prospects and housing could be affected by a felony conviction, not to mention affect how you will be viewed in social circles.
The ramifications of a drug conviction in Tennessee are quite severe. As your drug crime lawyers, we can help to avoid the process. We will do everything in our power to clear your name so that you can start moving on with your life.
What Are the Differences in Misdemeanor vs. Felony Drug Charges in Tennessee?
In general, misdemeanor convictions usually result in one year or less in jail, while a felony conviction will result in over a year in prison or jail. Felonies typically have more serious and lifelong consequences, such as the loss of firearm rights and difficulty in finding housing and employment. The penalties will also vary widely depending on the kind of drug crime you’re charged with.
Your Franklin drug crime lawyer can explain to you the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor charge in Tennessee, and how they apply to the charges you’re facing.
Can I Have a Drug Conviction Expunged in Tennessee?
Drug crimes usually carry penalties that are anything but simple. If convicted, you could face fines, probation, or jail time. But even after enduring these punishments, the charge will stain your record permanently, unless it’s expunged later.
An expungement will ideally return a convicted person’s record to the state it was before the crime. While an expungement won’t clear the entire record, it will clear the offense you’re pursuing expungement for.
A simple drug possession charge, be it a misdemeanor or a felony, can be expunged so long as:
- It occurred after 1st November 1989
- You were sentenced for three years or less
- More than five years have elapsed since the completion of your sentence
In a case in which your petition for expungement fails, you could try again after a mandatory 2-year waiting period.
Keep in mind that simple possession cases that ended up being retired, dismissed, or otherwise received a verdict of not guilty can easily be expunged by filing the necessary paperwork with the court clerk, and the process can be done without having to pay the standard fee. However, if you accrued court costs, you would have to satisfy these debts before the charge is expunged.
What Are Some of the Possible Defenses in Drug Crimes Cases?
Common defenses against drug charges include:
Drugs Were Not Yours
This works because the prosecution will have to prove that the person charged was actually in possession. For instance, if you’re in a hotel room with a few other people and the police show up with a warrant to search the room, they would still need to prove that any narcotics they busted belonged to you and not to any of the other roommates.
Chain of Custody
The prosecution has to demonstrate how the drugs were handled from the time the police seized them through to your trial. In case the drugs can’t be completely accounted for or can’t be found, the prosecution’s case should fail. The chain of custody rule usually applies to the type of drug and the weight or amount of the drug.
There are times when a police officer will use unscrupulous means to prove possession by planting evidence in your bag or elsewhere. Although it’s rare, misconduct from the officer may be in violation of the due process, and can therefore be asserted by your defense lawyer.
Part of our job will be providing the judge and jury with a reasonable explanation as to how and why the events in question transpired. When we review the details of your case, we will be able to ascertain the best defensive strategy that can yield the best outcome for you.
How Much Will Hiring a Franklin Drug Crime Attorney Cost?
The amount of legal fees you will have to pay will mainly vary based on what you’ve been charged with and the potential legal issues you could be facing. Talk to us today to schedule a free consultation with our Franklin drug crimes defense lawyers. By the time you’re through with our free case evaluation, you will have a good idea of how much it will cost to work with a distinguished law firm.
Contact a Franklin Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation
Facing a drug crime could seriously affect your life, especially if you are found guilty of the crime. Fortunately, our Franklin drug crimes defense lawyers at Nash Law will work by your side to help build a strong criminal defense and represent you with aggressive persistence and confidence, while providing you with guidance at each step of the process.
We are proud to offer free legal consultations for all clients who have been charged with drug crimes in Tennessee. Give us a call at 615-627-4529 or fill out our contact form to reach out today.