Since the “War on Drugs” began back in the 1970s most states across the United States have strengthened their controlled substance laws as well as increased the possible penalties for violating those laws. The State of Tennessee is no exception. If you have recently been arrested and charged with a cocaine related offense you should know the punishment for possession or sale of cocaine in Tennessee. Because of the various factors that can all impact the punishment you are personally facing, as well as the likelihood of being convicted of the charges you are facing, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible; however, a basic understanding of the laws and penalties for possessing or selling cocaine is a good place to start.
Factors that will typically affect your potential sentencing range for a controlled substance conviction include:
- ·What schedule the substance is classified as
- ·The type of controlled substance
- ·The amount in question
- ·Whether or not there was evidence of the intent to sell versus simple possession
Tennessee classifies cocaine as a Schedule II “controlled dangerous substance”, or CDS. A Schedule II CDS is considered to have a high probability of addiction or abuse and no known medical value. Not surprisingly, the manufacture, delivery, sale, or possession with intent of a Schedule II CDS can carry harsh penalties if convicted. Specifically, the sale or possession with intent to sell, 0.5 grams or more of cocaine or any substance containing cocaine is charged as a Class B felony and carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. The manufacture, delivery, sale, or possession with intent of less than 0.05 grams of cocaine is usually a Class C felony; however, if a firearm was involved it can be charged as a Class B felony. The potential punishment for a Class C felony in Tennessee involving cocaine is up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. The sale of cocaine can be charged as a Class A felony if greater amounts are involved, subjecting the defendant to the possibility of up to 60 years in prison along with fines.
Simple possession of cocaine is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee; however, the charge can be enhanced to a Class F felony if the defendant has a prior conviction for the same or similar offense. As a Class A misdemeanor the potential penalties include up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. If convicted of the more serious Class F charge you face up to 6 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $3,000.
If you are facing charges for the sale or possession of cocaine in the State of Tennessee it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free initial consultation.
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