Drug Conviction

Drug convictions in Tennessee can result in various consequences, and the severity of these consequences often depends on factors such as the type and amount of the controlled substance involved, the defendant's criminal history, and whether the offense is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.

How Different Drugs Affect Criminal Sentences

Drug crimes carry varying penalties depending on the seriousness of the controlled substance involved. These severity levels are broken down into different tiers, known as “drug schedules.” Tennessee recognizes several schedules, with the first comprising of the most dangerous substances and carrying the strictest penalties.

What are Drug Schedules in Tennessee?

Schedule I Drugs

Schedule I drugs are deemed the most serious because of their risk for causing addiction and dependency, as well as the general lack of any legitimate medical purpose for the substance. Common examples include:

  • BZP
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Mescaline
  • Mushrooms
  • Peyote

Any manufacture, delivery, sale, or possession with intent of a Schedule I drug is a Class B felony. As such, it carries a sentence of 8 to 12 years and a fine of up to $100,000. When the amount of the controlled substance exceeds a certain threshold – with the exact quantity depending on the type of drug – the fine is raised to a maximum of $200,000.

Schedule II Drugs

Schedule II drugs are abused frequently, and, when misused, can result in a severe psychological or physiological dependency. However, there are instances, albeit very few, in which the substances can be used for medical purposes. Drugs in this category include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Opium
  • Ritalin

Manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent of cocaine or methamphetamine is a Class C or Class B felony depending on the quantity. If someone is found with:

  • Less than .5 grams: The offense is a Class C felony punishable by a sentence of 3 to 6 years and a fine of up to $100,000
  • More than .5 grams: The offense is a Class B felony punishable by a sentence of 8 to 12 years and a fine of up to $100,000

Any manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent of other Schedule II drugs, or Schedule I drugs exceeding certain amounts depending on the exact substance, is a Class A felony punishable by 15 to 25 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000.

Schedule III Drugs

Schedule III drugs are less dangerous than Schedule II drugs, though they are still frequently abused. Drugs in this tier include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Hydrocodone
  • Ketamine

Drug offenses involving Schedule III drugs are Class D felonies punishable by a prison sentence of two to four years and a fine of up to $50,000.

Schedule IV Drugs

Drugs under Schedule IV are often prescribed to help patients, but have a slight risk of dependency. This includes:

  • Fenfluramine
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Klonopin
  • Xanax® (alprazolam)
  • Valium® (diazepam)
  • Other benzodiazepines/ sedatives

Drug crimes involving flunitrazepam are considered a Class C felony punishable by a prison sentence of three to six years and a fine of up to $100,000. Other Schedule IV drug offenses are Class D felonies punishable by a prison sentence of two to four years and a fine of up to $50,000.

Schedule V Drugs

Schedule V drugs are not typically addictive, but they too have a potential for abuse. They include medicines with limited amounts of codeine and opium. Any abuse of these drugs is a Class E felony punishable by one to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Schedule VI Drugs

Schedule VI drugs include marijuana, THC, and their synthetic equivalents. In Tennessee, marijuana is illegal for all medicinal and recreational use. The only exception is for high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oils for those who suffer from seizures.

The penalties for the manufacture, delivery, and possession with intent depend on the amount of drug involved. It could be punished as:

  • Class E felony: for ½ ounce to 10 pounds of marijuana or less than 2 pounds of hashish. This carries a sentence of 1 to 2 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Class D felony: for 10 to 70 pounds of marijuana, 2 to 4 pounds of hashish, or 10 to 19 plants. It carries a sentence of 2 to 4 years and a fine of up to $50,000.
  • Class C felony: for 4 to 8 pounds of hashish or 20 to 99 plants. It carries a sentence of 3 to 6 years and a fine of up to $100,000.
  • Class B felony: for 70 to 300 pounds of marijuana, 8 to 15 pounds of hashish, or 100 to 499 plants. It carries a sentence of 8 to 12 years and a fine of up to $200,000.
  • Class A felony: for more than 300 pounds of marijuana, more than 15 pounds of hashish, or more than 500 plants. It carries a sentence of 15 to 25 years and a fine of up to $500,000.

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Case Evaluation

A defense lawyer will thoroughly evaluate the details of your case to identify potential legal defenses, weaknesses in the prosecution's case, or violations of your constitutional rights.

Legal Advice and Guidance

Providing legal advice tailored to your specific situation, explaining the charges against you, and guiding you through the legal process.

Negotiation Skills

Negotiating with prosecutors to seek reduced charges, lesser penalties, or alternative resolutions such as diversion programs.

Building a Strong Defense

Crafting a robust defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case, which may include challenging evidence, questioning the legality of searches, or disputing the validity of witness testimony.

Mitigating Penalties

Working to minimize the potential consequences, such as reducing jail time, fines, or other penalties associated with the theft conviction.

Protecting Your Rights

Vigilantly protecting your constitutional rights throughout the legal process, ensuring that law enforcement and the prosecution adhere to proper procedures.

If you have a pending drug charge in Nashville, or the Middle Tennessee area, and want a strong criminal defense attorney who will fight for you and your rights, then contact Provenzano Law today for a free consultation.

Your fight is my fight

Contact Provenzano Law today, and let's start building your defense.

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