Drug Possession Lawyer in Knoxville

Possession of a controlled substance is a serious offense in the state of Tennessee that can affect a person’s life for years. Although it is legal to possess some controlled substances with a valid prescription from a doctor, in most instances, possession of small or even trace amount of an illegal substance can land a person in serious legal trouble.  

Simple Possession Attorney

The simple possession statute in Tennessee, Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-418, is straightforward in comparison to other states, because regardless of the type of controlled substance in the offender’s possession, the charge of simple possession will be the same.

The sentences imposed on the offender can change based on the type of substance if the drug possessed is methamphetamine, but generally, most simple possession charges are approached in a similar manner under Tennessee law. However, when the amount of a controlled substance in an offender’s possession rises to the level of possession with the intent to sell, the type of substance in the offender’s possession does matter.

Tennessee Controlled Substance Schedules

The state of Tennessee has elected to divide controlled substances into seven categories, which are referred to as schedules, as opposed to the Federal Government’s five schedule system. The schedule that a particular controlled substance falls into is based on the likelihood the substance will be abused, whether or not the substance has an acceptable medicinal use in the United States, and whether or not a user of the substance can develop a physical or psychological dependence to the substance. Some of the most common controlled substances and their respective schedules are listed below:

  • Schedule I: Heroin, Ecstasy, LSD
  • Schedule II: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Morphine
  • Schedule III: Testosterone, Ketamine
  • Schedule IV: Xanax, Valium
  • Schedule V: Tylenol with Codeine
  • Schedule VI: Marijuana
  • Schedule VII: Butyl Nitrate (Poppers)

Knoxville Felony Possession Lawyer

The mere possession of a controlled substances is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee that is punishable by 11 months and 29 days in the county jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. However, when the amount of the substance possessed by an individual is beyond what would be considered personal use, the police will normally charge an offender with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, but the prosecution has to prove that the offender intended to sell the substance.

How Intent to Sell is Proven in Tennessee

Proving intent is not always a straightforward task. Generally, the amount of the substance possessed does play an important role. For example, it would be difficult to argue that one ounce of heroin was for personal use only, but it is conceivable that two grams of heroin could be for purely personal use.

Another aspect to consider is how the substance was found. If the substance was found in a single bag or container, this is indicative of personal use, but if the drugs were found separated into multiple bags or containers, it is usually a sign that the controlled substance was being sold. The prosecution will also use the presence of scales, large amounts of money, and packaging materials such as small bags to demonstrate intent as well.  

Penalties for Possession with Intent to Sell in TN  

Tennessee law treats possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver the same as if the offender actually carried out the act itself. The type of substance and the amount of the substance are two factors that are used to determine the classification of the crime committed by an offender, when aggravating factors such as the possession of a firearm or selling to a minor are not present. Some examples of the crime classification associated with a charge possession with intent to sell are listed below:

  • Less than 150 grams of Heroin
    • Class B felony
    • 8 to 30 years in prison.
  • Less than .5 grams of cocaine or methamphetamine
    • Class C Felony
    • 3 to 15 years in prison
  • More than .5 grams of cocaine or methamphetamine
    • Class B felony
    • 8 to 30 years in prison

How Can a Drug Possession Lawyer Help Me?

At the law office of Paul Hensley, our experienced drug possession attorney has been handling drug charges of all kinds for years. We will analyze how the evidence against you was obtained, work on a strong defense for trial, and if needed, negotiate the best plea bargain possible.Give our office a call today for a free consultation to find out how a drug possession attorney can help you.   

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