If you’ve been charged with drug possession in Tennessee, it can be a very serious matter, and the charges can include charges for possession of items you never thought about, such as drug paraphernalia.

You can be charged with possession, even if you don’t have drugs on your body. You can be charged with drug possession for having drugs nearby or in your car.

You can be charged with possession even if you don’t have drugs but possess drug paraphernalia, such as a pipe. In Tennessee, the possession of drug paraphernalia is either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class E felony. Merely possessing drug paraphernalia alone with no aggravating factors typically is a Class A misdemeanor; whereas the sale of drug paraphernalia to a person under 18 years of age by a person over 18 is a Class E felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia along with the intent to sell drugs also is a Class E felony.

So what does a criminal charge mean?

The severity of drug possession charges in Tennessee depends upon the type and amount of the controlled substance found in your possession. The Tennessee Drug Control Act divides drugs into seven categories or schedules. There are differences in the punishments if you simply possessed the drugs versus possessing with the intent to manufacture, deliver or sell the drugs. For example, simple possession of drugs without intent to manufacture, deliver or sell them is a misdemeanor crime punishable up to 11 months and 29 days, unless the person charged has two or more prior convictions and that would turn it into a Class E felony. In contrast, if a person charged with possession of cocaine or methamphetamine was also manufacturing it, delivering it, selling it or had the intent to do so, he or she would face a Class B felony punishable from 8 – 30 years and a maximum $100,000 fine if the amount involved is .5 grams or greater.

If you’ve been charged with drug possession in Tennessee, it’s important that you know your rights because you may be facing some very serious punishment for actions you never considered would amount to drug possession.