Tennessee has broad drug laws, from simple misdemeanor charges, like simple possession, to very serious “Killer B“ charges affected with serious drug possession and distribution. Typically, these charges bring significant areas of the law into play, which include search & seizure law.
Simple possession involves possession of a drug for personal use. The more serious criminal statutes involve possession with intent to resell or the manufacturing of drugs.
A part of determining how serious a drug charge requires the determination of the “Schedule” to which the drug is assigned. Tennessee law characterizes drug laws in “schedules” which are based upon the State’s presumptions regarding how dangerous or addictive the drugs may be. Tennessee law outlines “Schedule I” through “Schedule VII” drugs. The schedules are as follows:
Schedule I drugs are viewed as those having the greatest risk of dependency and no recognized medical use. Drugs in this category include LSD, heroin and mescaline.
Scheduled II drugs are viewed as having a high potential for abuse but may have recognized medical uses. Drugs in this category include opium cocaine methadone methamphetamine and amphetamines.
Schedule III drugs are viewed as potentially less dangerous than Schedule II drugs but still present a danger and a potential for abuse. Drugs in this category include anabolic steroids testosterone ketamine and some depressants.
Schedule IV drugs are viewed as having lesser risk of dependency but still presenting a risk for dependency. Drugs in this schedule include clonazepam tranquilizers and sedatives.
Schedule V drugs are viewed as having a lower risk of dependency but may still be subject to abuse. Drugs in this schedule include Tylenol with Codeine.
Schedule VI is the schedule that covers marijuana. Marijuana is considered to present an even lesser risk of dependency.
Schedule VII consists of butyl nitrate and its compounds.
Being charged with a criminal offense related to the manufacturing or intent to sell drugs can present significant potential for incarceration. The offenses are graded based upon the schedule of drugs presented, the amount or weight of drugs involved, and the intent of the individual in possession of the drugs. For example, possession of a Scheduled I substance, can result in incarceration of 8 to 30 years, and a fine of $100,000. Many serious drug offenses are considered “Killer B” offenses, which may not be probated in any way.
Many defenses are presented to drug offenses, and many resolutions short of incarceration may be possible. Drug offenses, as much as any offense in the State of Tennessee requires immediate, effective, and experienced representation.