Defending Yourself In Tennessee Against Drug Crimes

The Tennessee Drug Control Act, Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-401, et seq., governs drug crimes in Tennessee. In particular, Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-417, states:

(a) It is an offense for a defendant to knowingly:

  1. Manufacture a controlled substance;
  2. Deliver a controlled substance;
  3. Sell a controlled substance; or
  4. Possess a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell the controlled substance.

The range of punishments for manufacture, sale, or possession with intent to deliver or sell a controlled substance will vary based on the type and amount of the drugs.

Other Tennessee drug crimes are as follows:

  • Simple Possession or Casual Exchange (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-418)
    • (a) It is an offense for a person to knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of professional practice.
    • (b) It is an offense for a person to distribute a small amount of marijuana not in excess of one-half ( 1/2 ) ounce (14.175 grams).
  • Counterfeit Controlled Substances (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-423)
    • (a) It is an offense for a person to:
      • (1) Sell;
      • (2) Deliver; or
      • (3) Distribute a substance that is represented to be a controlled substance and which is substantially similar in color, shape, size, and markings or lack thereof, to a Schedule I, II, III or IV controlled substance as classified in §§ 39-17-406–39-17-412, in order that the substance may be sold as a controlled substance.
    • (b) It is an offense for a person to manufacture for sale or exchange any substance with the intent that the substance substantially imitate in color, shape, size, and markings or lack of markings, the physical appearance of a Schedule I, II, III or IV controlled substance, as classified in §§ 39-17-406–39-17-412, in order that the substance may be sold as a controlled substance.
    • (c) A violation of subsection (a) or (b) is a Class E felony.
    • (d) It is an offense for a person to be the recipient of a sale or exchange of a substance set forth in this section. A violation of this subsection (d) is a Class A misdemeanor. In addition to the penalties set forth in this section, the court may impose a mandatory drug rehabilitation program.
  • Unlawful Drug Paraphernalia (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-425)
    • (a)(1) Except when used or possessed with the intent to use by a person authorized by this part and title 53, chapter 11, parts 3 and 4 to dispense, prescribe, manufacture or possess a controlled substance, it is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this part.
      • (2) Any person who violates this subsection (a) commits a Class A misdemeanor.
        • (b)(1) Except when delivered, possessed with the intent to deliver, or manufactured with the intent to deliver by a person authorized by this part and title 53, chapter 11, parts 3 and 4 to dispense, prescribe, manufacture or possess a controlled substance, it is unlawful for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this part.
          • (2) Any person who violates subdivision (b)(1) commits a Class E felony.
          • (3) Except when delivered by a person authorized by this part and title 53, chapter 11, parts 3 and 4 to dispense, prescribe, manufacture or possess a controlled substance, any person eighteen (18) years of age or over who violates this subsection (b) by delivering drug paraphernalia to a person under eighteen (18) years of age who is at least three (3) years younger than that person commits a Class E felony.
  • Anabolic Steroids (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-430)
    • (a) It is unlawful for a practitioner to prescribe, order, distribute, supply or sell an anabolic steroid for:
      • (1) Enhancing performance in an exercise, sport or game without medical necessity; or
      • (2) Hormonal manipulation intended to increase muscle mass, strength or weight without medical necessity.
    • (b)(1) It is unlawful for any person who is not a practitioner or lawful manufacturer of anabolic steroids to:
      • (A) Knowingly or intentionally manufacture or deliver an anabolic steroid, pure or adulterated; or
      • (B) Possess, with intent to manufacture or deliver, an anabolic steroid.
  • Drug-Free School Zone – Enhanced Penalties (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-432)
    • (a) It is the intent of this section to create Drug-Free Zones for the purpose of providing vulnerable persons in this state an environment in which they can learn, play and enjoy themselves without the distractions and dangers that are incident to the occurrence of illegal drug activities. The enhanced and mandatory minimum sentences required by this section for drug offenses occurring in a Drug-Free Zone are necessary to serve as a deterrent to such unacceptable conduct.
    • (b)(1) A violation of § 39-17-417, or a conspiracy to violate the section, that occurs on the grounds or facilities of any school or within one thousand feet (1,000′) of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool, child care agency, or public library, recreational center or park shall be punished one (1) classification higher than is provided in § 39-17-417(b)-(i) for such violation.
    • (2) In addition to any other penalty imposed by this section, a person convicted of violating this subsection (b) shall also be subject to the following:
      • (A) Upon conviction of a Class E felony, a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000);
      • (B) Upon conviction of a Class D felony, a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000);
      • (C) Upon conviction of a Class C felony, a fine of not more than forty thousand dollars ($40,000);
      • (D) Upon conviction of a Class B felony, a fine of not more than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000); and
      • (E) Upon conviction of a Class A felony, a fine of not more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
  • Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-433)
    • It is an offense for a person to promote methamphetamine manufacture. A person promotes methamphetamine manufacture who:
      • (1) Sells, purchases, acquires, or delivers any chemical, drug, ingredient, or apparatus that can be used to produce methamphetamine, knowing that it will be used to produce methamphetamine, or with reckless disregard of its intended use;
      • (2) Purchases or possesses more than nine (9) grams of an immediate methamphetamine precursor with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine or deliver the precursor to another person whom they know intends to manufacture methamphetamine, or with reckless disregard of the person’s intent; or
      • (3) Permits a person to use any structure or real property that the defendant owns or has control of, knowing that the person intends to use the structure to manufacture methamphetamine, or with reckless disregard of the person’s intent.

Contact Our Firm

If you have been charged with or are being investigated for any of the above-referenced offenses, please contact the criminal defense lawyers at McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law, today at 865-566-0125 or send us an email. Free initial telephone consultations are available. We accept credit cards.