Being arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Tennessee is a serious offense. However, being charged with intent to sell those drugs or other serious drug crimes can be far more damaging.
Tennessee law enforcement agencies and prosecutors pursue drug charges aggressively, while the law provides harsh penalties upon conviction. Typically, the intent to distribute – sometimes called drug distribution or trafficking – is considered a felony offense.
Tennessee has laws that treat drug distribution or trafficking of illegal drugs very differently than the possession of the same drugs for personal use. If you have been charged with drug distribution or trafficking, it can be a confusing and frustrating time, and you might not know what to do or to whom to turn for assistance.
Putting experienced legal representation in your corner can strengthen your ability to contest drug distribution charges.
Nashville drug distribution defense lawyer Brian Lee Nash has successfully advocated for countless individuals throughout Tennessee in complex drug crime cases. This experience, combined with his legal team’s knowledge of Tennessee drug laws and courts, allows Nash Law, LLC to provide the comprehensive defense guidance you need when fighting drug distribution charges.
Please get in touch with the Nashville criminal defense attorneys at Nash Law, LLC today so we can begin building a strong defense on your behalf. We offer free and confidential case evaluations for all drug-related cases.
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What Are Some Types of Drug Distribution Offenses in Tennessee?
Tennessee Code Title 39. Criminal Offenses § 39-17-417 makes it illegal for an individual to knowingly or intentionally:
- Manufacture or make a controlled substance;
- Delivery/transport a controlled substance;
- Sell a controlled substance;
- Possess a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver the said controlled substance.
Under Tennessee Code § 39-17-402, delivery means the constructive, attempted, or actual transfer of a controlled substance from one person to another, whether or not there is an agency relationship.
Drug distribution/trafficking means, by definition, either possessing or transporting a controlled substance with intent to either sell or distribute the drugs. Drug distribution is prohibited under both Tennessee and federal laws through The Controlled Substances Act.
Common drug distribution offenses include:
Sale Of Controlled Substance
The sale of a controlled substance is charged as a felony offense in Tennessee. That means any sale, regardless of the amount, is categorized as a felony offense in Tennessee.
Possession With Intent To Distribute Or Sell
Tennessee law allows the inference that, based on the amounts of drugs possessed by an individual, together with other relevant facts surrounding the arrest, the controlled substances were meant for distribution or selling instead of personal use.
For instance, possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana in Tennessee is enough to infer that the accused had intent necessary for a drug distribution charge or possession with intent instead of simple possession, even if the defendant had no intention to sell or distribute the drugs.
However, prosecutors must still prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to sell, transport, or deliver the drugs.
Drug Trafficking And Conspiracy
Individuals suspected of engaging in the manufacture, transportation, distribution, or sale of a controlled substance may face this type of charge. Drug trafficking or distribution charges may result in life-altering consequences for the defendant.
If convicted, drug trafficking offenders face lengthy prison time along with probation time and hefty fines.
NOTE: All drug distribution offenses are charged and prosecuted as felonies in Tennessee; however, these offenses may still be prosecuted as federal crimes.
What Are Some of the Types of Penalties For Drug Distribution In Tennessee?
The penalties for drug distribution conviction are based on several factors, including the number of drugs, the drug schedule of the controlled substance, and any aggravating circumstances, such as prior convictions, involvement of minors, or selling in drug-free zones.
Generally, a drug distribution conviction in Tennessee may include a fine, incarceration, community service, probation, and potentially other consequences.
Although the feds classify controlled substances into specific schedules, Tennessee and other states adopt them in general but often change the scheduling of drugs.
Below is a look at potential legal punishments in Tennessee for drug distribution charges by drug schedule:
(*All penalties are for standard offenders, and mitigating factors may reduce or increase the sentence.)
Controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in this category include opiates, hallucinogenic substances such as LSD, depressants such as GHB, stimulants, and opium derivatives such as morphine and codeine compounds.
The manufacture, transportation, delivery, possession with intent, or distribution of Schedule I CDS is categorized as a Class B felony with a penalty of at least 8-12 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
CDS in this schedule include morphine, cocaine, phenmetrazine, etc. The manufacture, transportation, delivery, or possession with intent (p.w.i) of >2000g of Schedule I and II is categorized as a Class A felony with a penalty of imprisonment of not less than 15 years and no more than 25 years and a fine of up to $500,000.
The manufacture, transportation, p.w.i of > 5g of methamphetamine, cocaine, or other CDS that fall in the Schedule II category are categorized as Class B felonies and have a penalty of imprisonment for not less than 8 years and no more than 12 years, a fine of not less than $100,000, or both.
Schedule III and IV
CDS in this schedule include Nalorphine, Ketamine, appetite suppressants, dronabinol, etc. Making or selling drugs under Schedule III and IV is a class D felony with penalties of at least 2 years in prison (and up to 4 years), a fine of up to $50,000, or both.
Schedule V CDS include Pyrovalerone and Lacosamide & Pregabaline. Making, delivering, or possession with intent of schedule V drugs is a Class E felony punishable with at least one (and up to 2 years) in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Substances under schedule VI include marijuana, THC, and synthetic equivalents. The making, delivery, or p.w.i of marijuana in Tennessee can be categorized into different felony classes depending on the quantity of marijuana involved. For instance, the distribution of <1/2 oz of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year, a fine of $2,500, or both.
- Distribution of ½ oz – 10lbs of marijuana or <2lbs of hashish is a Class E felony with penalties of at least one year (and up to 2 years) in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
- The making, delivery, or possession with intent of 8 – 15lbs of hashish or 70-300lbs of marijuana is a Class B felony, punishable with a prison sentence of at least 8 years (and up to 12 years), a fine of up to $200,000, or both.
- The making, delivery, or possession with intent of more than 15lbs of hashish or more than 300lbs of marijuana is a Class A felony, punishable with a prison sentence of at least 15 years (and up to 25 years), a fine of up to $500,000, or both.
Substances under VII include Butyl nitrate. The making, transportation, or possession with intent of schedule VII CDS is a class E felony, punishable with a prison sentence of 1 year (and up to 2 years), a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
How Can A Nashville Drug Distribution Defense Lawyer Help Me?
The severe penalties from drug distribution charges, including possession with intent, will impact your finances, freedom, and future. Tennessee criminal proceedings are not easy to understand, and each case is different. A Nashville drug distribution defense lawyer has an in-depth knowledge of all drug laws. They know how to build a solid defense against the prosecution, including holding the police and prosecutors accountable for constitutional violations.
An experienced and dedicated Nashville drug distribution defense lawyer can determine whether your arrest was based on probable cause, whether your rights were violated, and they know how to mitigate drug distribution charges or lessen the severity of the allegations.
As you can see, a Nashville drug distribution defense lawyer can help in many ways and at different steps of your case, including:
- Plea bargains
- Handling witnesses
- Handling experts and investigators
- Asserting an alibi
- And many others
Get professional help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. They can reduce the charge of your drug crime, improve your chances of obtaining a favorable plea bargain and ultimately, reduce the severity of punishment.
How Much Will Hiring A Nashville Drug Distribution Defense Lawyer Cost?
Generally, criminal defense attorneys in Nashville charge per hour. However, the amount will vary depending on the charges you face and the potential legal issues involved. During your free initial and confidential consultation, our Nashville drug distribution lawyers will explain how much it will cost to work with Nash Law, PLLC’s distinguished drug crime attorneys.
Call Our Nashville Drug Distribution Defense Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
The Nashville drug distribution lawyers at Nash Law, PLLC understand the severity of drug crime charges. A drug distribution charge is no light matter. If you are under investigation or have been charged with a drug distribution offense, it is crucial you discuss your case with an experienced drug crime defense attorney right away.
At Nash Law, PLLC, we have the experience, dedication, knowledge, and tenacity to lay out your options and help you have a solid defense against drug distribution charges in Tennessee. Call 615-544-6096 today to discuss your options for fighting drug distribution charges.