Experienced Drug Crime Lawyer in Franklin, TN
Strong advocacy for clients in and near Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood
A conviction for almost every type of drug crime will result in imprisonment and large fines. Convictions for any controlled substance such as heroin or cocaine can land you in jail for years or even decades. Subsequent drug crime offenses will result in even more prison time and large fines. On release from prison, you will likely have a difficult time finding employment and a place to live. If you’re convicted of a felony, you may lose your voting privileges and your right to carry firearms.
There is hope. There are often defenses that you can assert. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we have a strong record of success obtaining dismissals, acquittals, and reductions of drug crime charges to less serious offenses. We also pursue alternatives to the standard lock-them-up sentences, such as recovery courts which focus on treatment instead of punishment. If you are charged with a drug-related crime, don’t wait: call us in Franklin, Brentwood, or Columbia today to schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Did you know?
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, nearly 80% of all crimes have some involvement with drugs.
What is considered a drug crime in Tennessee?
Tennessee law makes it a criminal offense to knowingly:
- Manufacture a controlled substance.
- Deliver a controlled substance.
- Sell a controlled substance.
- Possess a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell the controlled substance.
It is also a criminal offense to knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance.
What types of drugs charges do your Franklin criminal defense lawyers handle?
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we represent defendants accused of drug-related crimes in federal and state courts, and represent clients charges with felonies or misdemeanors. Clients come to us for help when they are accused of:
- Dealing or selling drugs
- Possession of controlled substances
- Drug trafficking
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Drug-related assault while pregnant
- Drug-related crimes at festivals like Bonnaroo
We also work with clients whose professional licenses are at risk because of alleged drug abuse, as well as clients charged with other crimes while under the influence of drugs.
What are the schedules of controlled substances in Tennessee?
The state law that governs Tennessee drug crimes is the Tennessee Drug Control Act. Most violations begin with a determination of whether a drug is considered a “controlled substance.” Controlled substances, in Tennessee, are divided into the following categories:
- Schedule I. These are the most dangerous drugs. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and generally do not have any accepted medical use even for treatment under medical supervision. Examples include fentanyl, heroin, LSD, and methaqualone.
- Schedule II. These drugs have a high potential for abuse, do have an accepted medical use (usually with severe restrictions), and “may lead to severe psychic or physical dependence.” Examples include cocaine, opium, cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.
- Schedule III. These drugs have some potential for abuse, currently accepted medical uses, and “may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.” Examples include anabolic steroids, testosterone, and some hallucinogenic substances.
- Schedule IV. These drugs have a low potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use, and some risk of physical dependence or psychological dependence. Examples include various depressants and stimulants.
- Schedule V. These drugs have a low potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use, and “limited physical dependence or psychological dependence liability relative to the controlled substances listed in Schedule IV.” Examples include certain narcotics, depressants, and stimulants including codeine.
- Schedule VI. This category includes marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols; and certain cannabis equivalents.
- Schedule VII. This category includes butyl nitrite and any isomer of butyl nitrite.
What are the penalties for drug offenses in Tennessee?
Generally (there are exceptions) the penalties are more severe for any criminal offense involving a Schedule I drug and lower for the subsequent categories:
- Schedule I drug offenses: Class B felony resulting in 8 to 30 years in prison and/or up to $25,000 in fines.
- Schedule II drug offenses: Class C felony resulting in 3 to 15 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
- Schedule III and IV drug offenses: Class D felony resulting in 2 to 12 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
- Schedule V, VI, and VII drug offenses: Class E felony resulting in 1 to 6 years in prison and/or up to $3,000 in fines.
The classification of the offense may also increase based on the amount of the drug. The more the drugs weigh, the more severe the felony charge will be. Fines can reach $100,000 or more, depending on the severity of the crime and the number of criminal counts.
Note: the penalties for marijuana crimes can increase to a Class D felony for substantial amounts of marijuana possession or cultivation. Typically, possession and casual offenses are generally Class A misdemeanors unless other conditions apply. Possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana can result in up to 1 year in jail and $250 in fines
Exceptions to the rule
The penalties will increase for anyone who commits a drug crime on school property or within 1000 feet “of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool, child care agency, or public library, recreational center or park.” He or she will face an increased charge (A Class D felony can become a Class D felony) and may face additional fines.
How can a Franklin drug defense attorney help?
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we have been fighting for defendants for 30 years. We use every factual, practical, and legal defense available. The most common defense in drug crime cases is seeking to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained. If the police violated your Constitutional rights or failed to follow proper procedures the seizure of the evidence or the taking of any statements by you may be inadmissible.
The police are generally required to obtain a warrant to search your home or your person unless unique circumstances apply such as they see you personally commit a drug offense. Warrants must be based on probable cause. Searches and seizures must be reasonable. The police must advise you of your Miranda warnings. Any statements you gave in violation of your Miranda warning rights may be suppressed.
Other defenses in drug cases include:
- Arguing that you were not in actual or constructive possession of the drugs.
- The prosecution violated the chain of custody of the drugs which requires that law enforcement accounts for everyone who keeps, transfers, or examines the drugs.
- The drugs weigh less than the prosecution claims.
- You had a right to possession of the drugs such as – you had a valid prescription for the drugs
- The prosecution can’t show that you “knowingly” committed the offenses.
- The prosecution has not met its burden to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Alternatives to standard drug crime trials and sentencing
Tennessee authorizes drug courts in certain cases. If you are eligible for a drug court program, then the judge, prosecutor, and your defense lawyer will work to develop a treatment program for you instead of sentencing you to jail. These recovery programs are for non-violent offenders with substance abuse disorders.
Adult drug courts focus on judicially-supervised treatment, regular and mandatory drug testing, community supervision, sanctions for noncompliance, and other services. There are also special drug courts for veterans with drug disorders, people convicted of DUI, and juveniles facing drug charges.
We explain if you are eligible. If you are eligible we help work to craft the right program for your substance abuse problems. We also explain what happens to your criminal record if you successfully complete the court program.
Charged with a drug crime? Call us in Franklin today
Drug crime charges are frightening. Defendants should seek legal help as soon as possible after an arrest. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we will review your charges, explain how the criminal process works, and do everything possible to contest the charges. We file motions to suppress evidence in most drug cases. We seek to have the charges dismissed or to negotiate a just plea bargain.
To discuss your defenses to any type of drug charge from simple possession to sale and manufacture, call our office at 615-977-9370 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment with an experienced drug defense lawyer. We maintain offices in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood, Tennessee.