The Legal Implications of Drug Trafficking Charges in Tennessee

If you are charged with drug trafficking, you must secure legal representation immediately. Unlike simple possession, drug trafficking charges carry very severe penalties. The legal implications of these charges can loom like a shadow over your life for years after you completed the sentence pronounced by the judge. Talk to a Nashville drug crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible after being charged.

This article will present a general outlook of the penalties you may face and their consequences on your future.

How Are Drug Trafficking Charges Determined?

As a first instinct, when you are found in possession of controlled substances you will claim that they are for your personal use. This would lead to being charged with simple possession of drugs.

However, if the police officers discover large quantities of these substances, they will not take your claims into account. You will be accused of drug trafficking – possession with the intent to sell or distribute the drugs. This classification of your offense will be also influenced by the existence of any prior criminal charges related to drug crimes.

Let us now explain the penalties you can be charged with in Tennessee:

Penalties for Trafficking Schedule I and II Controlled Substances

Schedule I and II drugs include substances such as:

  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Opiates

For the first offense, the sentence for drug trafficking charges involving Schedule I and II substances is between 5 and 30 years in prison. If a person died or suffered severe injuries as a result of the drug trafficking crime, the minimum mandatory sentence is 20 years in prison.

For a second offense, the sentence ranges from minimum 10 years and maximum life in prison.

The sentence also includes a fine of maximum $5 million for an individual and $25 million for an organization. Under the asset forfeiture law, the judge may also order the seizure of all proceeds and items resulting from or used in the commission of the crime.

possession of large quantities of drugs leads to trafficking charges

Penalties for Trafficking Schedule III, IV and V Controlled Substances

Many people who consult with a Nashville drug crimes defense lawyer are surprised to be charged at all for possession of large quantities of Schedule III, IV and V controlled substances. While some of the substances on the list – anabolic steroids, Valium or Xanax – are considered dangerous for the general public, few people know that even cough drops are included.

Specifically, Tylenol with codeine is considered Schedule V controlled substances and can lead to drug trafficking charges.

The penalties for a first offense are between 1 and 10 years in prison, plus paying legal fees and restitution. The convicted person will also be subject to asset forfeiture and will lose federal benefits for 5 years for a first conviction and 10 years for the second and subsequent convictions.

Moreover, depending on the quantity of controlled substances, the defendant may face not only state charges, but also federal charges of drug trafficking.

Aggravating Factors Increase the Penalties

Last, but not least, some aggravating factors may oblige the judge to impose harsher penalties. The most serious aggravating factor is breaking the Drug Free School Zone Act.

If you were caught committing the crime of drug possession with the intent to traffic at a certain distance from school, playgrounds, parks and other similar areas, your crime will receive the next higher classification. You will also have to pay extra fines ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Nashville Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer!

A conviction for drug trafficking charges may result in decades or a lifetime behind the bars. Thus, do not treat the charges lightly, even if it is your first offense.

Instead, reach out to an experienced Nashville drug crimes defense lawyer to start building your case. We offer each new client a free case evaluation, so call us today at 615-255-9595!

Byron L. Pugh
Accused of a Crime? Don't Hesitate & Contact Bryon Pugh Legal Today

Get an experienced, dedicated, and trustworthy criminal defense attorney that will fight for you!