If you face drug possession charges in Tennessee, you should know how sentencing works before you arrive in court. While simple possession constitutes a misdemeanor, the state mandates felony charges for other types of drug crimes, including selling, transporting and manufacturing controlled substances along with the intent to commit those crimes.
Learn more about the potential legal consequences of a drug-related conviction in Tennessee.
Simple possession penalties
Simple possession occurs when you knowingly have a controlled substance in your possession. It can also occur if you give or receive this substance to someone else. Tennessee charges simple possession as a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction can result in a fine of up to $2,500 along with up to 11 months and 29 days in prison. In addition, when the substance in question is methamphetamine, the offender must serve at least 30 days in prison unless he or she enrolls in state drug court. All convicted drug offenders in Tennessee must also attend a drug and alcohol abuse education session at their own expense.
Felony possession penalties
You can receive Class E felony charges in Tennessee if you exchange a controlled substance with someone you know is a minor and who is at least two years younger than you. A third-time conviction for simple possession of heroin is also a Class E felony. Penalties for a conviction may include a fine of up to $3,000 and a sentence of up to six years in prison.
Felony distribution penalties
Selling, delivering and manufacturing a controlled substance as well as the intent to do so result in felony charges in Tennessee. The penalties vary depending on the amount of the substance and where it falls on the federal drug schedule. For example, the distribution of a Schedule I substance, considered the most dangerous, constitutes a Class B felony. For a conviction, you could receive up to $100,000 in fines as well as eight to 30 years in prison.
Because of the diverse possible penalties for Tennessee drug convictions, preparing for your court date will help you defend yourself against these charges.