Knoxville Drug Charges Lawyer
Being arrested for a drug-related crime is a big deal. Tennessee takes drug use and distribution very seriously and punishes all related crimes. The severity of a drug charge is contingent upon several factors, including which drug was used, how much was in the person’s possession, and where they were arrested.
You may believe that a drug-related arrest is no big deal, especially if it’s related to marijuana. However, marijuana is illegal in Knoxville, TN, even for medicinal use, and drug-related arrests are more frequent in the state than any other crime. If caught, drug use and distribution can have a significant impact on your life and future opportunities.
Whether you’ve been arrested for marijuana, prescription pills, methamphetamine or heroin, you need an experienced legal team like Shepherd & Associates, P.C. fighting on your side. Call us today at 865-982-8060.
Types of Drug Charges
There are several different types of charges you can face with a drug-related crime. Possible charges include:
- Simple possession, casual exchange: This is a Class A misdemeanor offense, in which you’ve been arrested for possessing a small amount of an illegal substance (usually less than .5 grams.)
- Possession with intent (known in other states as intent to sell or distribute): Tennessee law assumes that possession of a certain amount of drugs indicates that they are for more than just personal use. Possessing more than what is considered a personal use quantity of any drug can mean that you intend to sell or distribute it. Whether or not you intended to sell it is not relevant to the charges, however. The legal system determines whether they believe you meant to sell or distribute the drugs. Possession with intent can also include possession of paraphernalia, which would suggest that they were used in conjunction with the sale of drugs, such as scales, bags or other containers.
- Sale of a controlled substance: If caught in the act of selling drugs, to a private individual or an undercover officer, you will face charges of sale of a controlled substance. The sale of any controlled substance in any amount automatically classifies as a felony.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia: This is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee. Because many everyday household items can also function as drug paraphernalia, such as a kitchen spoon, there must be some evidence indicating use for drug purposes (it was bent or burnt on the bottom, for example).
Other factors that determine whether items classify as drug paraphernalia include the following:
- Prior convictions for drug-related charges
- Any residue of drugs on the object
- Instructions about how to use it
- How the item is displayed (for example, a glass pipe sold in a hookah shop does not indicate illegal activity, whereas the same thing could be used as a bong with marijuana)
- Statements from experts about its use
- Community standards, for example, police officers and other local experts may know how specific items are used in the area
- Drug trafficking: These charges usually include possession of more substantial amounts and suggest that drugs are transported across state lines, possibly while working with a cartel.
- Drug manufacturing: This is one of the most serious drug charges. Having a lab for cooking meth or an operation for growing marijuana frequently results in being charged with drug manufacturing.
Penalties for Drug Charges
The penalties for drug charges vary significantly based on several factors. One major factor that affects sentencing is if it is your first offense. Although some drug charges carry equal weight whether it’s your first offense or not, punishment is often harsher when you’re a repeat offender.
First-time offenders who have small amounts of a drug are likely to get a misdemeanor charge. Although misdemeanor charges are less severe than felonies, you can still expect to face fines and possible jail time.
However, possession of a controlled substance is always a felony. If you carry scheduled drugs such as Xanax, heroin, cocaine, or prescription painkillers, it’s automatically a felony. If convicted of a crime, you’ll face significant fines and jail time.
In addition to fines and jail time, a felony conviction will negatively impact many aspects of your life. Having a felony on your record can make it difficult to rent housing, get a job, or get student loans to further your education. Felony records often result in loss of child custody as well.
If you’ve been arrested on drug charges, you need a lawyer fighting for you. Experienced attorneys such as Kevin Shepherd can help you face the most minimal charges possible. Call Shepherd & Associates today at 865-982-8060.
SHEPHERD & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
Shepherd & Associates is located in Maryville, TN and serves clients in and around Rockford, Walland, Alcoa, Louisville and Blount County.
Attorney Advertising. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.