Tennessee, along with most states, takes a harsh stance on weapons when they are used in the commission of a crime. In fact, a weapon does not actually have to be used in the commission of a crime for the weapon to be a factor in your sentencing. If you have been charged with a criminal offense you need to know about the enhanced penalties for weapons in Tennessee so that you understand the potential penalties you are facing if convicted.
The State of Tennessee provides for enhanced penalties if the defendant possessed a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony. Specifically, the law states it is a criminal offense to possess a firearm during the:
- Commission of a dangerous felony
- Attempt to commit a dangerous felony
- Flight or escape from the commission of a dangerous felony
- Flight or escape from the attempt to commit a dangerous felony
Of course, the next question then is “What is considered a dangerous felony in Tennessee?” The following is a list of criminal offenses that the State of Tennessee deems “dangerous felonies” for purposes of the weapons enhancement.
- Murder or attempt to commit murder
- Especially aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Especially aggravated burglary
- Aggravated burglary
- Especially aggravated stalking
- Aggravated stalking
- Initiating the process to manufacture methamphetamine
- A felony involving the sale, manufacture, distribution or possession with the intent to sell, manufacture or distribute, a controlled substance.
If you are determined to have had a firearm in your possession during the commission, attempt, or escape of a dangerous felony the law imposes some harsh penalties. In essence, the weapons enhancement means that you will not be eligible for pretrial diversion, community corrections, probation, treatment programs, or any other lenient sentence until you have served the entire mandatory minimum sentence for the crime of which you are convicted.
If you are facing charges for a dangerous felony in Tennessee and the State has also included the weapons enhancement in your case it is even more important that you consult with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney as early on in this prosecution of your case as possible to ensure that your rights are protected and to begin formulating your defense.