In early January, multiple law enforcement agencies joined together to arrest nine men and women who were “smurfing” — purchasing pseudoephedrine products in order to manufacture methamphetamine. The individuals in question now face charges ranging from possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia to promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and felony evading arrest.
If you are similarly charged with drug possession — or any other drug crime — in Tennessee, you should take these charges seriously. They can have a lasting impact on your criminal record.
What is drug possession?
In Tennessee, it’s illegal to possess a controlled substance without having a medical prescription for the substance. If you’ve been arrested but didn’t have enough of the controlled substance in your possession to be charged with manufacturing or distributing the drug, you will be charged with possession.
You will face the same charge for possession of a more harmless drug, such as marijuana, as you will face for possession of a very harmful substance, such as heroin or cocaine. It’s important to know also that “possession” can mean anything from having the drugs in your pocket to having them in your car or even near you.
Can I get the charges dismissed?
Drug possession charges can be difficult to get dismissed because, unlike most crimes, the state does not have to prove your mental state or intent. It doesn’t matter why you had the drug or what you were going to do with it.
What are the penalties?
First and second convictions for drug possession are a class A misdemeanor and the penalties include a jail term of up to one year, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. Convictions for third and subsequent possessions are class E felonies, and they will land you one to six years in prison, a fine of up to $3,000, or both. You can also be fined an additional $10,000 for third and subsequent offenses if you committed the offense near a school or other drug-free zone. The court may also require you to take drug education classes or perform community service.
If you’ve been charged with drug possession, you face serious repercussions if you are convicted. Consultation with an experienced drug crime lawyer will get you the best possible outcome for your case.