Tennessee Felony Drug Related Offenses
Drug charges in Tennessee are extremely serious and complicated. They can range from Simple Possession (a Class A Misdemeanor), all the way to Class A Felony charges, which can carry up to a minimum of 15 to 40 years in prison without the chance for probation or parole.
Not all drug charges are the result of possessing an “illegal” drug – individuals can be charged with serious felony charges for possessing prescription drugs as well. The drug laws apply to anything that is considered a “controlled substance.”
People can be charged with drug offenses individually, or as part of a larger conspiracy including multiple individuals. The charges can be the result of something as simple as a traffic stop, or from a lengthy investigation from entities such as the DEA.
What makes a drug charge a felony instead of a misdemeanor? The majority of drug offenses in Tennessee are charged or indicted as felony offenses as a result of the amount and type of drug that are involved.
According to Tennessee law, it is illegal to manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess with the intent manufacture, deliver, or sell a controlled substance. Common controlled substances that result in felony drug charges include, but are not limited to, the following:
Schedule I Drugs
These are drugs including opiates, opiate derivatives, and hallucinogenic substances. Common examples are heroin, MDMA (also known as ecstasy or X), LSD, mushrooms, and peyote.
Schedule II Drugs
These are drugs that have a currently accepted medical use. Common examples are cocaine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Codeine, methamphetamine and other amphetamines, methadone, Ritalin, and PCP.
Schedule III Drugs
Common examples are anabolic steroids, suboxone, and medications which are mixed with a certain amount of other controlled substances (for example, Tylenol 3).
Schedule IV Drugs
This includes common narcotic drugs and antidepressants such as Xanax, Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Ambien, Tramadol, Lorazapam.
Schedule V Drugs
This includes medicines mixed with certain amounts of other controlled substances.
Schedule VI Drugs
The most common examples are marijuana, THC, and synthetic THC.
The severity of the charge increases by the amount of the drug and the classification of the drug. For example, any controlled substance that is a Schedule I Controlled Substance is automatically charged as a Class B Felony, and is subject to a possible 8 – 30 years possible punishment, along with a fine of up to $100,00.00. Marijuana in an amount of ½ ounce to 10 pounds is a Class E Felony, subject to a possible 1 – 6 years and a fine of up to $5,000.00.
Drug Free School Zone – Enhanced Punishment
In addition to the already considerable penalties for drug related offenses, there are areas considered “Drug Free School Zones” which increase the possible penalties and fines. These punishments can include additional incarceration, and lengthy minimum mandatory sentences with no chance for probation.
Areas considered to be school zones include any area within 1,000 feet of any of the following:
- Public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool
- Childcare agency
- Public library
- Recreational center
The most important thing to know about being charged with a drug related offense is that the punishments are extremely severe. If you have been charged with a felony drug offense, you need to contact a qualified attorney who has experience handling drug offenses immediately.
The attorneys at the Garza Law Firm have extensive experience handling drug related offenses in both General Sessions and Criminal Court in East Tennessee. They have the skill and knowledge you will need, and will work aggressively to ensure that you get the best outcome possible. Garza Law makes it simple to reach out to a legal expert—day or night—and take proactive measures with an attorney. Contact us online, chat with us using the box at the bottom of the page, or call us at (865) 540-8300.