Since the “War on Drugs” began back in the 1970s, states across the U.S. have universally strengthened their penalties for criminal offenses related to the possession, manufacture, or sale of a controlled substance. The State of Tennessee is no exception. If you have been arrested and charged with trafficking a controlled substance in Tennessee your first question is likely “How long can I go to jail for trafficking in Tennessee?”
Like all states, Tennessee divides controlled dangerous substances, or CDS, into seven categories based on two factors. The first factor looks at how addictive the substance is and how likely it is to be abused and the second takes into consideration whether or not there is any legitimate medicinal use for the substance. For example, a Schedule I CDS have a high probability of abuse and addiction while having no recognized medical value. By the time you get to a Schedule VII substance the probability of abuse and/or addiction is very low while the legitimate medical uses are high. The penalties for trafficking in a CDS are based, in part, on what Schedule CDS is involved. The other significant factor used in determining the penalties you face if convicted of trafficking a CDS is the quantity of the substance involved.
The potential penalties for manufacturing, delivering, selling, or possessing with intent to deliver or sell a CDS are found at
Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-417. Although not an exhaustive list, the following illustrate the range of penalties you may face if convicted of trafficking a controlled substance in Tennessee:
Manufacturing or selling a Schedule II CDS, or 0.5 grams or less of cocaine or methamphetamine, is a Class C felony, punishable by a minimum of three years and a maximum of 15 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
Manufacturing or selling a Schedule III or IV CDS is a Class D felony which carries a minimum prison sentence of two years and a maximum of 12 years and/or a $50,000 fine.
Manufacturing or selling a Schedule V CDS is a Class E felony, punishable by one to six years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Marijuana and related substances are all categorized as a Schedule VI CDS in Tennessee. The potential punishment for the sale of a Schedule VI CDS can vary greatly depending on the precise substance involved and the weight.
Manufacturing or selling a Schedule VII CDS is a Class E felony, punishable by one to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Aggravating factors, such as the presence of a weapon during the commission of the crime, or committing the crime in certain places such as a school yard or public park, can also increase the potential penalties if convicted.
If you have been charged with trafficking a controlled substance in Tennessee it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.