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Knoxville Drug Defense AttorneyWhether you have been charged with possession of drugs for personal use or the intent to sell, a skilled criminal law attorney can determine what defense strategy may work for your situation. Although every case has a different set of circumstances, there are some common defenses that an attorney can use to defend their client against these charges, such as procedural errors or challenging evidence the prosecution wants to introduce to the court. The following are some of the most common defenses.

The Drugs Belong to Another Person

A common defense is that the drugs were not yours or that you had no idea they were in the car or house. Your attorney may be able to introduce evidence to cast reasonable doubt to the jury that the drugs were actually yours.

Crime Lab Analysis

Although a drug might look like meth, does not mean that it is meth. The prosecutor must be able to show that a seized substance is the drug it claims to be by sending it to a crime lab and having it tested. The analyst must then appear at the trial to testify and present their findings. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to challenge those findings. One example would be evidence that there was an issue in the chain of custody, causing contamination.

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Knox County criminal defense attorneyThe opioid epidemic is killing approximately 70,000 people each year in the United States. It is estimated that each year, there are more than 1.5 million people who struggle with addiction. For many who are addicted, once they cannot get legitimate prescription medications, they often turn to heroin. Every year, more than 50,000 people use heroin for the first time and every year, more than 14,000 people die from heroin overdoses.

While many states have passed laws that are more sympathetic for addicts who commit crimes, focusing more on treatment over punishment, that does not seem to be the case in Tennessee as lawmakers consider a bill that would require all health care providers to notify police of anyone they treat for a drug overdose.

SB 1891

According to wording in the bill, anyone who is “called to tender aid to persons” who are suffering a drug overdose would be required to report that overdose to either the police chief or sheriff of the area treatment was provided. In addition, the health care provider must also report that the individual who suffered the overdose to the District Attorney General’s Office.

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Knoxville marijuana possession lawyerOn January 25, 2022, the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act” was introduced and assigned to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee for consideration. This could be a game changer for legal medical and recreational cannabis. With 37 states across the country currently having some form of medical cannabis program, Tennessee can soon become number 38. The bill would overhaul current laws making both medical and recreational marijuana legal. Local governments would not be able to override proposed laws, but they could vote to ban the sale within their jurisdictions by a two-thirds vote. Several benefits for consumers could be available in the near future, but familiarizing yourself with all the rules and regulations is key. Until that time, it is important to remember that possession of cannabis is still illegal.

What Happens if You Are Caught With Cannabis in Your Possession?

A conviction on a first offense for marijuana possession under Tennessee law incurs fines of $250.00 for a half-ounce of marijuana or less. Possession will have mandatory fines and up to one year in jail if convicted. Maximum fines can reach up to $2,500. Penalties for possession with intent to distribute starts at $5,000 and will increase with the amount of marijuana found on hand. This is considered a serious offense and is handled as a Class E misdemeanor. Cultivation of 10 plants or less can land someone in prison for up to six years. Larger quantities can increase the time up to 60 years.

Over the last few years, many states around the country have legalized or decriminalized cannabis, making the drug easier to obtain than perhaps ever before. However, you should definitely think twice about bringing marijuana purchased legally in other states into the state of Tennessee, as the penalties for possession can be serious.

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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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