Defending against Drug Possession Charges in Nashville

In Nashville, TN being found in possession of certain drugs and controlled substances is illegal. The police do not have to prove that you consumed or intended to traffic the respective drugs. Simple possession is a criminal offense and you will need an experienced Nashville drug crimes defense lawyer to fight the charges. Let us explain how drug possession is punished in Tennessee and what the possible defenses against these charges are.

Drug Possession Laws in Tennessee

In our state, drug possession is a criminal offense, classified and punishable based on various factors. These are:

  • Simple possession and casual exchange: this is a Class A misdemeanor carrying the following penalties: up to $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail
  • Second and subsequent possession charge: if you are a repeat offender, your offense will be a Class E felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and $3,000 in fines
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia: if you are caught in possession of equipment used to consume drugs, you may spend under a year in jail and pay a fine at the court’s discretion

As you can see, drug possession charges lead to hefty penalties if you are convicted. However, an experienced lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped or obtain a favorable plea bargain.

Here are a few valid defenses against drug possession charges in Nashville:

1. Unlawful Search and Seizure

Police officers cannot perform searches without probable cause. If they do, any item they seize may not be admissible in court as evidence against you. Without the physical evidence of the drugs, there are no charges against you.

However, proving an unlawful search and seizure is not easy. You must prove that you were not doing anything that would give an officer a reasonable suspicion to stop you or pull you over while you are driving.

If the search was performed on your home, the officers must:

  • Have a warrant issued by a judge
  • Perform the search after lawfully arresting you
  • Prove that you gave consent
  • Prove the existence of an emergency which made the search necessary (for example, the risk that someone would lose their life or evidence would be destroyed)

2. No Control over the Drugs

One of the most common instances of being charged with unlawful drug possession occurs when a friend or family member is the actual owner of the controlled substances, but they are found in your car or close to your person.

For example, you are driving with a friend in your car and, unknown to you, they put drugs in the glove compartment. At a point, you slam the brakes, the glove compartment opens, and a police officer nearby notices the drugs.

Telling the officer that the drugs do not belong to you is not sufficient to escape the charges. You will need to consult with an experienced Nashville drug crimes defense lawyer to bring clear and convincing evidence of your innocence.

being in possession of controlled substances is illegal

3. Temporary Possession

Imagine this scenario: you go to refill your wife’s prescription for opioid painkillers. You get pulled over for a DUI check and the police officer sees the drugs in the open glove compartment or on the seat next to you.

In this case, you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance – until an attorney will prove that you were in temporary possession. It is not recommended to try to argue with the police officer. Instead, invoke your right to remain silent and get in touch with an experienced attorney.

4. You Have a Valid Prescription

Law enforcement officers will arrest you and charge you with drug possession even if you show a prescription. They will want to check if it is valid or if you are shopping for doctors to obtain prescriptions.

Once your lawyer establishes the validity of the prescription, you will be free of the charges. However, the prosecution may charge you with intent to sell, if you were in possession of a large quantity of prescription medication, beyond the normal amount.

Consult with an Experienced Nashville Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer!

Drug possession charges may lead to a jail sentence, fines and a criminal record which any employer or landlord may find out about. You cannot underestimate the severity of the situation.

The best decision is to talk to a skilled Nashville drug crimes defense lawyer and be honest and upfront about the circumstances that led to your arrest and charges.

At Byron Pugh Legal we offer each new client a free case review, so call us at 615-257-9705!