The old saying “The Devil is in the details” holds true when it comes to drug charges. The details of the allegations, of the things the police claim when filing criminal charges, will impact the severity of the penalties.
Example #1: Type.
Controlled substances, or illegal drugs, are put into one of seven categories in Tennessee. Lawmakers consider those that fall into the first category as the most dangerous with the highest risk of addiction. As such, they come with the strictest penalties. Examples of substances that fall within this category include heroin and LSD.
Lawmakers arrange the drugs down the list of controlled substances based on a number of factors. One of which is whether or not they sever a medicinal purpose. Moving down the list, Schedule II drugs include opioids, cocaine and meth, Schedule III, steroids and ketamine, Schedule IV includes prescription medications like Xanax and sedatives, and Schedule V, Tylenol with Codeine. Lawmakers in Tennessee moved away from the federal controlled substance list with this next part, Schedule VI, placing marijuana here. The federal list puts marijuana as a Schedule I substance. Finally, Schedule VII, contains butyl nitrate also known as poppers.
Example #2: Weight.
The weight or amount of the illegal substance can also impact the potential sentence. Simply put, the more the police claim you have in your possession the more time in person or monetary penalties they can push for at sentencing. If there is more than a certain amount, more than 0.5 ounces for marijuana as an example, the state can argue that you did more than simply possess the substance, you were also looking to sell it.
It is important to carefully review criminal charges and fight back if the police made false charges. A miscalculation of the weight of the substance or misinterpretation of the situation can have a huge impact on the potential sentence — and sentences are harsh. They can range from up to life imprisonment for the most serious offenses to a year for even the most mundane allegations.
You do not have to simply agree with what the police say happened. It is generally not a good idea to accept a plea deal and hope you can just move on with your life. A drug crime conviction can impact everything from future job prospects to housing options. Take your future into your hands and fight back.