Drug Possession Lawyers in Clarksville Defending Clients in Drug Crime Cases
Charges involving drug crimes can be complicated, and they often require an in-depth understanding of the laws surrounding legal search and seizure and police procedure when it comes to searches and collection of evidence. If you’ve been charged with possession of illegal drugs or a controlled substance, find out what you need to know about your charges, the legal grounds for conducting a search, and how a criminal defense attorney can help you fight back.
Drug crimes can carry serious penalties, and you need a law firm that has experience with these charges to help defend you. Call Hibbeler & Associates today to talk to a member of our team and find out how our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you.
What Are the Different Drug Possession Charges?
When you are charged with a possession-related drug crime, it is usually either a simple drug possession charge or a possession with intent to distribute an illegal or controlled substance. Simple possession is a drug crime that means you were found to be in possession of an illegal or controlled substance, but the amount found was deemed small enough that the assumption was that it was for personal use only. If you are found with a larger amount of a substance or also have things like baggies or a scale with you, you’re more likely to be charged with possession with intent.
What Grounds Does an Officer Need to Have to Conduct a Legal Search?
One of the most important parts of many cases involving drug crimes is the circumstances under which the evidence was found. Officers have specific rules that they have to operate under to ensure that any search and seizure of a person or property is legal and that any evidence found can be used in court.
Officers can conduct searches based on a search warrant. However, there are specific guidelines for getting a search warrant approved by a judge. The officers have to show that there is probable cause for the search and provide a detailed explanation of what they are searching for and the area they are searching. If the search warrant is valid and is executed properly, the evidence found is generally admissible in court.
Officers may also conduct a search for drugs or drug paraphernalia if you are under arrest for any other crime. This is an important fact to be aware of because it means if you are arrested for a low-level charge like shoplifting, the officers can legally search you and add additional charges if they find drugs on your person. Officers can also conduct searches if you provide verbal consent. This is why it’s very important not to answer any questions or allow any searches of yourself or your property without a search warrant and without speaking to an attorney first.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in Tennessee?
The penalties for drug crimes in Tennessee depend on the type of charge and whether you have a past criminal record. For example, a third offense can carry more serious penalties than a first offense, particularly if the charge is usually a misdemeanor such as simple possession. A misdemeanor simple possession charge carries a potential sentence of up to 1 year in jail and a fine.
For a felony charge of possession with intent to distribute, the prison sentence depends on the amount of the substance you were found in possession of. For example, possession of 0.5 ounces up to 10 pounds is a Class E felony and is punishable by up to 6 years in prison. But a Class B felony could mean up to 30 years in prison.
It’s important that you are aware of the full extent and potential consequences of your charges if you are convicted. Understanding the amount of prison time you’re facing, and your defense options can help you make the right choices for your case.
Is It Possible to Have Drug Possession Charges Dropped or Reduced?
When it comes to drug-related offenses, it is possible to have charges dropped, but it can be difficult. The main way to have the charges dropped is to show that the evidence itself was collected without following the laws and proper procedures, so it can’t be used as admissible evidence in court. For example, if your attorney can show that the search and seizure were executed illegally, all evidence is the fruit of the poisonous tree and cannot be used against you.
Getting a drug crime reduced to a lesser charge is also possible — and potentially more likely. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal for you where you would plead guilty to a lesser charge — and face less or no jail time — in exchange.
If you’re in need of a criminal defense attorney, call the law firm of Hibbeler & Associates at 931-236-2711. Our team offers free consultations so we can understand more about your case and you can learn more about our firm.