While simple possession sounds like a minor offense, if you have never faced criminal charges it can be a very serious matter. No one foresees a criminal record in their future and you are probably frightened at what this charge could mean for you.
Some drug charges are written up as citations, not arrests. But they are just as serious and require a criminal court appearance and legal representation.
Avoiding a permanent criminal record should be your goal. I know you are frightened at what this charge could mean for you. But we can help.
Cops around middle Tennessee are super aggressive in writing drug possession citations, especially around Bonnaroo time. Police are typically heavy-handed when it comes to seeking out and arresting or citing drug dealers and even harmless recreational users.
But don’t panic about your citation, even if you are from out of state. We can help you. Please contact us for a free legal defense consultation on a drug possession or marijuana possession charge in Tennessee.
Tennessee Drug Classifications
The federal government classifies controlled substances into several “schedules”. Most states, including Tennessee, adopted these schedules, making minor adjustments. The following is how controlled substances are classified in Tennessee:
Schedule I drugs include those that are the most dangerous and have a high risk of addiction or dependency and no legitimate medical use. Drugs included under this heading include LSD (blotter acid), heroin, ecstasy (MDMA, “Molly”) mescaline, and psychedelic mushrooms (psilocybin).
Schedule III drugs are slightly less dangerous than Schedule II substances, but still have a moderate risk of abuse. Schedule III substances include anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine, and some depressants.
Schedule IV drugs have a slight risk of dependency and have very acceptable medical uses. Some Schedule IV drugs are clonazepam, tranquilizers, and sedatives.
Schedule V substances have a very low risk of dependency and include things like Tylenol with Codeine.
Schedule VI includes marijuana which is thought to have a very low risk of physical dependency.
Schedule VII includes only Butyl Nitrate also called “poppers”.
Tennessee Simple Possession or Casual Exchange
Simple possession or casual exchange is the lowest drug offense there is in Tennessee. If you did not have enough of a controlled substance on you to be charged with felony possession or a trafficking or sale charge, the other option for the prosecution is “simple possession”.
If you are charged with simple possession or casual exchange you will face Class A misdemeanor penalties for possession of most controlled substances. This means you may serve up to one year in jail and face fines up to $2,500.
If this is a second offense or greater, under this law you will face Class E felony charges which carry a potential sentence of 1-6 years and fines up to $3,000.
In addition to any jail or fines, you may be required to take a drug education class at the discretion of the judge.
Note: Also see our Marijuana charges page.
Ref: TCA 39-17-418
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Possession of paraphernalia is it’s own separate and additional drug charge.
Lots of otherwise legal items can be considered illegal drug paraphernalia depending on a variety of circumstances.
For example, any pipe can be considered paraphernalia if you admit to having smoked marijuana or other substances, even if no drugs are found.
A drug paraphernalia charge is a Class A Misdemeanor, which has penalties if up to just under 1 year in jail.
Is Medical Marijuana or Cannabis Oil Legal in Tennessee?
Medical cannabis is legal only under extremely limited circumstances, and for limited uses, but yes it is. If you have seizure disorders such as epilepsy and a recommendation from a doctor, cannabis oil (THC oil with less than .9% THC) is legal.
Regular cannabis or smoking in any form is still illegal in all circumstances.
Free Consultation on Tennessee Drug Possession Charges
If this is your first offense, there is a very good chance we can help you get probation rather than jail time. There is also the chance that we could get your charges dropped altogether. Call today to give us the details on your case and see what a difference a local and experienced criminal defense attorney can make.