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Knoxville criminal defense for drug crimesAccording to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), approximately 80 percent of crimes in Tennessee are in some way connected to drugs. Tennessee has some of the harshest penalties for drug crimes in the country. Even a charge like simple possession can result in jail time if you are convicted. Anyone who has been charged with a drug offense should contact a Knoxville defense attorney for help in defending against the charges.

Serious Drug Issues

The TBI also estimates that at any given time, there are 800 or more methamphetamine labs in operation in the state. Although the use of methamphetamine has decreased, the use of heroin has spiked again. Even more alarming is that the heroin being sold in Tennessee is often laced with fentanyl, a dangerous and powerful synthetic opioid that is supposed to only be prescribed to patients dealing with severe pain. Pure fentanyl is so powerful and so dangerous that it can kill a person if even just a small amount is absorbed through the skin.

Prescription drug use is also a criminal issue in the state. Tennessee ranks third in the U.S. for prescription drug abuse. In recent studies, more than 70 percent of participants admitted to using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons that they obtained from a family member or friend. People who become addicted to these drugs often find themselves facing some kind of criminal charges for drug-related crimes, often convicted and sentenced to jail.

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know county defense lawyerOn April 20th of this year, two teenage brothers were found dead in their Roane County, TN home. According to law enforcement, the teens, aged 19- and 17-years old, had a variety of drugs on them and it was determined both died from a lethal dose of fentanyl in pill form. Last week, police arrested a Rockwood, Tennessee couple, charging them with two counts of second-degree murder in the brothers’ death. The couple has also been charged with reckless endangerment, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, money laundering, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.

Death By Distribution

Tennessee, just like at least 20 other states in the country, has enacted a death by distribution/drug-induced homicide law. Under Tennessee’s death by distribution law, an individual can be charged with second-degree murder if they sell or give someone fentanyl or carfentanil either alone or in combination with any controlled substance (per the Tennessee Drug Control Act of 1989) and that person dies because of those drugs.

When a person is charged with death by distribution, the prosecutor does not have to prove the individual acted with malice; they only need to prove that they supplied someone with the drugs that killed them.

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Anderson County criminal defense attorney for marijuana possessionThere are currently 36 states in this country that have passed laws that regulate cannabis for medical use. Tennessee is not included in that list of states, and a bill that would have decriminalized medical marijuana was narrowly defeated – 9 to 8 – by a Tennessee House committee last week. If passed, the law would have allowed people with certain medical conditions, upon approval by their doctor, to possess a limited amount of marijuana products without being charged for drug possession. The lawmakers who sponsored the bill say they are not giving up, despite statements by Gov. Bill Lee that he is opposed to any cannabis legalization, including for medical use.

Tennessee Marijuana Laws

According to polls conducted in the state, more than 80 percent of Tennessee voters support the right for patients and their doctors to be able to decide if medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment. Despite that overwhelming support, marijuana use remains illegal for both medical use and recreational use in the state.

Possession of any amount of marijuana is charged as a misdemeanor in the state. A conviction can mean up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. In 2016, both Memphis and Nashville passed local ordinances that gave law enforcement the discretion to charge a person with a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor if they had a small amount of marijuana on them. The then-governor and state legislators quickly passed a law that repealed those ordinances.

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Blount County criminal defense attorney drug crimes

In the past decade, the legal restrictions surrounding marijuana have shifted on a state-by-state basis. These variations of the law include the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes as well as the decriminalization of marijuana for those who have previously faced charges. Depending on where you live, you may have free reign, or you could still face stiff restrictions for drug possession. Tennessee is one of seven states that is still standing as a stronghold against all forms of legalization. One state senator, however, is using her voice to stand up for those who are in need of the benefits of medical marijuana.

State Senator Advocates for the Sick

As Tennessee’s surrounding states begin to loosen their marijuana regulations, many Tennesseans are wondering when their state will follow suit. Republican State Senator Janice Bowling has supported the movement to legalize medical marijuana for years, and she intends on taking action again this winter. According to reports from WREG, Sen. Bowling plans on introducing a new medical marijuana bill when lawmakers reconvene at the start of the new year. 

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Knox County criminal defense attorney drug charges

Drug use often begins as a party tool at a young age and quickly transitions into full force addiction as time goes by. As of late, Tennessee’s district attorneys general have recognized the danger of fentanyl along with its recent resurgence in popularity, and are taking action to educate teens about this illegal substance. Because some controlled substances are more potent and dangerous than others, Tennessee divides these drugs into categories known as schedules, each of which increases in the severity of charge and consequence. Since many teens are unaware of the physical and legal consequences of fentanyl, a high number of Tennessee minors are getting involved with this substance and facing criminal drug charges as a result.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is steadily climbing its way to becoming the most dangerous drug in America. The United States has seen a significant rise in opioid usage, known as the opioid epidemic, and Tennessee is no exception. According to a report in The Tennessean, over 9,100 people in Tennessee have died of drug overdoses between 2013 and 2018, and over 70 percent of these deaths were partially caused by opioids, including fentanyl. 

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