If you’ve never been accused of a criminal charge before, or if you have an extensive criminal history, an arrest for cocaine possession is a serious matter. You are at risk of a potential prison sentence, not to mention the stress that goes along with criminal court proceedings. It’s understandable to be frustrated and scared during a time like this. As local Tennessee criminal defense lawyers, we can help you work through your legal defense options during this difficult time.
No two cases are the same. And even when you’ve represented hundreds of clients against criminal charges, you recognize the facts that set each case apart from the others. It’s in these unique differences, these details, that a successful defense strategy can be built.
Maybe you are innocent of the charges against you. Perhaps, however, you admit to making a mistake, but the police violated your rights when conducting the search. If so, the evidence could be thrown out of court and your case potentially dismissed.
These are the things your attorney will look for when consulting with you on your case.
Tennessee Cocaine Possession Penalties
Under Tennessee law, the penalties for cocaine possession can be quite severe. If you have any prior convictions on your record, the penalties are increased even further.
The charge of simple possession or casual exchange of cocaine is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor offense, carrying up to one year in jail and fines reaching $2,500.
If, however, this is not your first offense, you can face Class E felony charges and up to 6 years in prison with $3,000 in fines.
This charge is typically applied when small amounts of cocaine are concerned. If there are larger amounts, it can be inferred that you intended to distribute the cocaine, and the charges subsequently elevated.
While many people think they have to have the drugs on them to be charged and found guilty of possession, which is not really the case. If the drugs are under your control, you can be convicted. This means they could be on your property or simply within your reach. Of course, your attorney can argue that the drugs belonged to someone else, but the success of that defense will depend on a variety of factors.
Tennessee Probation/Drug Courts
In certain situations, especially if you do not have an extensive criminal history, you could be eligible to have your case heard in a drug court or you could benefit from a favorable plea agreement. Though neither of these options effectively does away with the charges you face, they could both prevent you from spending any significant amount of time in jail.
Discussing your case with a local defense lawyer will provide you with insight into how the local laws apply specifically to the facts of your case, and how such an attorney may be able to help you defend these cocaine possession charges.