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Penalties are severe for drug crimes in Tennessee


Any drug crime conviction in Tennessee can have serious penalties. Tennessee officials prosecute drug crimes aggressively and those who are charged can face prison and high fines.

The penalties for drug crimes vary based on the type and amount of drug. In Tennessee controlled substances are sorted into "schedules" based on how dangerous they are believed to be. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous, addictive, and have no medical use. These include heroin and LSD. Schedule II drugs also have a high probability of abuse but some are approved for medical use with severe restrictions. The drugs include cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamines. Further down the schedule, Schedule VI drugs include marijuana.

The penalties for possession or intent to distribute vary based on what schedule the drug is. A Schedule I drug is a Class B felony. A Schedule II drug is a Class C felony. A Class B felony can carry a fine up to $100,000 and prison time. A person can also be charged with a simple possession or casual exchange. These charges bring less severe penalties with a first offense being a Class A misdemeanor. Additional offenses will bring higher penalties and longer jail times for both a misdemeanor simple possession charge and a felony possession.

A person who finds themselves facing drug charges and an arrest may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in criminal defense. They can help explain the charges and penalties and help the defendant tell their side of the story.

Source: T.C.A. § 39-17-401 et seq.

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