Imagine spending several years in prison for a drug offense. That is the reality of being convicted for a drug trafficking offense under Tennessee law. Although drug trafficking is a nonviolent crime, Tennessee laws are extremely harsh for those charged with moving or selling large quantities of drugs. This is true for those charged with trafficking marijuana, cocaine, heroin, steroids, or any other illegal substance. Tennessee has passed minimum sentence requirements for anyone convicted of drug trafficking. Because the stakes are so high, it is important to hire a Tennessee attorney who knows the “ins and outs” of drug trafficking laws and defenses.
Tennessee views drug trafficking as a very serious criminal offense because it involves the distribution of large quantities of drugs when compared to the typical street level sale of drugs. Trafficking involves making, transporting, distributing, or selling of a large quantity of drugs. Drug possession can also constitute drug trafficking if the prosecution prove there was intent to distribute or sell drugs.
Because drug trafficking is such a concern, the federal government has even stepped in and created their own separate set of laws and penalties for drug trafficking. These penalties are separate from Tennessee laws. However, there is a nationwide movement from the states to adapt similar penalties that mirror federal sanctions. This creates even greater penalties for those accused of drug trafficking. Tennessee lawmakers are always considering harsher penalties for drug and criminal offenses.
Ask anyone involved in either the court or prison system and they will tell you that our prisons are filled with drug offenders who have only committed nonviolent crimes. In fact, there is a national debate concerning drug offenders who often spend more time in jail than their counterparts who have committed violent crimes. Some violent criminals actually never spend any time in jail and have their sentences served entirely on probation.
What makes a drug trafficking offense worse?
There are certain circumstances or factors that can enhance the penalties associated with drug trafficking charges. If you are caught selling drugs near a school zone, the penalties will be worse. Likewise, selling drugs to a minor can also make the drug offense worse. The prosecution will also look at the type of drugs that are found in your possession. For example, it is better to be in possession of marijuana than heroin or cocaine. Meth is perhaps the worst drug to be found on your person. Tennessee will also look at your criminal record and see if this is your first drug offense. It always better if this is your first criminal offense.
Although drug addiction is not a defense to any drug related charge, it can be used as an element to negate your criminal activity or mitigate your actions. For example, many people who become addicted to drugs often sell drugs in order to sustain their drug habit. If this is the case, I strongly advise people in this category to seek drug rehabilitation. This drug rehab could untimely act as a silver lining in your defense. It can help explain otherwise poor decisions.
If you need help with a felony drug trafficking offense in Tennessee, give Lee Martin a call at 615-345-1988. He has over 16 years or experience and knows how to get results in Tennessee drug cases.