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Frequently Asked Questions about Drug Crimes
What are drug schedules and how do they affect my case?
Tennessee classifies controlled dangerous substances into certain schedules. It also includes punishments for the compounds that are used to manufacture or cultivate these dangerous drugs. There are seven “schedules” of drugs under the state’s laws. Schedule I includes the most dangerous substances, such as heroin, while the seriousness drops in Schedule II, III, IV, and V. The probability of abuse also drops with each schedule. Marijuana is considered a Schedule VI drug, as well as cannabis extracts, while schedule VII covers Butyl nitrite.
Being arrested and charged for any type of drug crime involving these substances can result in life-altering penalties, but they will typically range depending on the schedule. For example, being arrested for possession of heroin will often bring more severe penalties than being arrested for possession of illegal prescription drugs.
Can I be penalized for being in possession of a legal drug?
Yes. If you are found with a drug that you do not have a legal prescription for, you could be arrested for possession or other related charges. Just because a substance is not deemed illegal for all uses does not mean that you can possess it without valid medical approval. If you are convicted of this crime, you could face up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines for just the lowest charge.
What are drug free zones?
There are certain areas that are considered drug free zones. Being caught for a drug crime inside of these zones could result in increased fines, jail time, and other consequences. These zones are usually mandated around schools, daycares, libraries, local parks, or even recreational areas.
What does it mean to be over the threshold amount of drugs?
Though being in possession of drugs is not as serious a charge as selling or trafficking drugs, it can easily be bumped up to possession with the intent to commit further crimes in certain situations. For instance, if you are found to be in possession of a large amount of cocaine, law enforcement may deem that this was not for personal use, but instead for resell or distribution. Being over the threshold amount of drugs for a particular substance can carry heavy penalties and call for more serious defense.
Can my drug conviction be expunged from my record?
If you were charged and convicted of a drug crime, it may be difficult to have it expunged from your record. Your record can only be expunged if the charges were dismissed, a verdict of not guilty was returned, you were arrested without being official charged, or other approved situations. However, if you don’t have a previous offense on your record, you may be eligible to have the proceedings deferred and placed on probation instead so that no judgment of guilty is entered against you. This will depend on the severity of your charges, your record, and the prosecution and judge in your case.
Will I go to jail for my drug possession charges?
While most drug crime convictions will result in some amount of jail time, this is not always the case. In general, drug possession is considered a misdemeanor, so long as you are not in possession of a large amount of drugs. For example, being in possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana will be considered a misdemeanor and may result in no more than 1 year in jail. Offenders can negotiate to have their jail time reduce or dismissed in favor of a drug treatment program in certain situations. When you work with a seasoned Nashville drug crime lawyer, you can fight your charges and secure the best possible outcome!