Everything about Federal Drug Crime Charges in Tennessee

Dealing with federal drug charges is a highly serious matter. Knowing what to do about them is a crucial step in exercising one’s right to a fair defense. Nevertheless, deciding where to begin might be confusing and often overwhelming.  

There’s a variety of drug charges that the law acknowledges, including: 

  • Manufacturing. Drug manufacturing refers to becoming involved in creating or enhancing illegal substances. Having ingredients such as chemical precursors may constitute drug manufacturing charges. These charges are often prosecuted at the federal level. 

  • Delivery. Individuals may be charged with a federal drug crime for delivering drugs. Delivery involves transporting illegal substances from one location to another. The individual may have no other part in the manufacturing or sale. However, their involvement in delivery is grounds enough for drug crime charges. 

  • Sale. Selling drugs involves the commercialization of illegal substances. Charged individuals may face state or federal drug charges depending on the amount in question. Prosecutors may discuss among themselves before deciding who leads the prosecution. In some instances, individuals may face both state and federal prosecution. 

  • Possession. Possession differs from delivery since possession is merely about having illegal substances in one’s power. For instance, being arrested for warehousing illegal drugs in a home can be considered possession. However, it may also be considered manufacturing and sale, depending on the circumstances. 

Please remember that drug charges can quickly become a complex issue. Getting the assistance of an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is key to building your best defensive strategy.

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What Are Drug Schedules in Tennessee? 

Drugs are classified into groups or “schedules.” Here is a look at the five drug schedules in Tennessee: 

  • Schedule I. These drugs have a high potential for misuse, such as addiction. Schedule I drugs serve no medical purpose though some may be used for recreational purposes. These drugs include Ecstasy, LSD, marijuana, and Heroin. 

  • Schedule II. These drugs may have some medical purposes though they have a high potential for misuse. Synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines are included in this list. 

  • Schedule III. These drugs have received medical approval but have a high potential for abuse. These include antidepressants, anabolic steroids, and appetite suppressants. 

  • Schedule IV. These drugs have been approved for medical use and have a lower possibility of abuse. These include medications such as Xanax. 

  • Schedule V. These drugs are approved for medical use and have little to no risk of misuse or abuse. Many drugs, such as Advil or Tylenol, can be purchased over the counter.  

Please note that charges involving schedule I, II, and III drugs have a high probability of leading to federal charges. So it's important to note which drugs are in question to articulate a defense strategy. 

What Are the Possible Penalties for Drug Charges in Tennessee? 

Possible penalties for drug charges largely depend on the charges themselves: 

  • Misdemeanors. Misdemeanor charges such as possession can lead to a fine or probation. Repeat offenders may serve a maximum one-year prison term and pay a fine. Individuals convicted of drug charges may become ineligible to own firearms due to their convicted status. These convictions may also affect employment opportunities and professional licensing. 

  • Felonies. Individuals convicted of felony drug charges may face prison terms greater than one year. In addition to an inability to own firearms, loss of employment opportunities, and professional licensing, individuals may face fines and potential deportation for foreign nationals. 

  • Fines. First offenders may be ordered to pay fines under local state law. However, the conviction may represent additional issues with employment opportunities. 

  • Probation. Probation may be sentenced instead of jail time. Individuals sentenced to probation must ensure they avoid any other criminal charges during their probationary period. Probation violations can lead to immediate arrest and subsequent jail terms. 

Understanding Federal Drug Charges 

Drug charges occur at the state and federal levels. In short, minor or less serious charges are prosecuted by the state. More serious charges are prosecuted at the federal level. 

So, what is the difference? The difference lies in the size and scale of the situation.

Consider the following situations:

  • An individual charged with drug possession that exceeds the legal amount will face state charges. In this example, a lesser charge does not imply a significant penalty. It is likely a misdemeanor charge. 

  • An individual is arrested for drug possession with an amount exceeding the legal limit. For instance, several ounces of illegal drugs are found in their possession. In this situation, the individual is charged with possession with intent to sell. This charge is both a state and federal crime. However, the state would most likely prosecute this charge. 

  • An individual is arrested on drug possession charges. Several kilos of cocaine were found in their vehicle. The individual is charged with drug trafficking. This charge is serious and considered a felony. It automatically becomes a federal charge and is prosecuted at the federal level. Because this is considered a felony, the penalty starts at a one-year prison term. 

Drug Crimes Attorney in Nashville, Tennessee

At Brazil Clark, PLLC, we work with our clients to protect their right to a fair defense. Call today to get the best possible legal defense team working on your side. We have experience dealing with both state and federal charges, including drug crimes. Our team of attorneys will work tirelessly to fight for your rights and seek the best possible outcome for your case.