International General Counsel Awards
Modern Law Awards 204
TACDL ...wherever justice demands
Tennessee Bar Association

Alternative Sentencing Options for Drug Offenses

Nashville Attorney Advocating for Defendants in Narcotics Cases

The consequences of a Tennessee drug conviction may negatively affect many areas of one’s life, from employment to personal relationships. The penalties imposed for a drug conviction depend on many factors, but may include a potential jail sentence for felony offenses. In many drug cases, however, defendants may qualify for alternative sentencing. If you are facing a conviction for drug trafficking, a synthetic drug crime, or another criminal offense, a Nashville drug crime lawyer can evaluate your eligibility for alternative sentencing. Bernie McEvoy can provide practical advice and defense representation in Davidson and Williamson Counties. He can help you pursue a positive outcome in your case, and advocate for alternative sentencing options for the drug offenses you are facing.

Alternative Sentencing Options for Drug Offenses in Tennessee

To the extent allowed under Tennessee law, trial judges are encouraged to use alternatives to incarceration to punish drug crime convictions. Alternative sentencing options may include probation supervision, supervised work release, fine restitution, victim compensation, community service, and other options that take place outside of prison. Community based programs, such as drug and alcohol treatment and counseling, may also be available. In some situations, the defendant may be able to complete a diversion program to prevent a drug conviction from going on their record.

Many defendants convicted of C, D or E felony drug offenses are considered favorable candidates for alternative sentencing options. These defendants generally will have no enhancement factors in their case, such as violence or use of weapons, and zero to two prior felony convictions. It is important to note that even when the defendant is a favorable candidate, the defendant may not receive alternative sentencing if they have failed past efforts at rehabilitation, if their criminal history shows a clear disregard for the laws and morals of society, or if other facts and evidence demonstrate that it is not appropriate. A seasoned drug crime attorney can help you make the argument that you should be considered for alternative sentencing.

Diversion Programs

A pre-trial diversion or a judicial diversion program may be a way for eligible defendants to avoid a drug conviction and jail time, even if they committed the offense charged. Pre-trial diversion suspends the prosecution of a drug case until the defendant has successfully completed a period of supervision. The defendant may also be required to perform community service, attend a drug and alcohol class, or fulfill other terms of the diversionary probation. Once these conditions are met, the drug charges are dismissed. Judicial diversion is similar, except the defendant must plead guilty to the drug charge in court. The plea is suspended and no sentence is imposed during the period of supervision. If the defendant successfully completes the program, the guilty plea is not entered into the system.

Community Based Alternative Sentencing

Community based alternatives may be another option for selected, nonviolent felony drug offenders to get the help they need. Community based alternatives to incarceration may be available in non-violent felony drug cases if the offense did not involve the use or possession of a weapon, and the defendant does not demonstrate a pattern of violent behavior. In addition, when the offense is non-violent and the defendant is the primary caregiver of a child, the trial court may consider available community-based alternatives to confinement.

Community based programs generally involve close supervision of the defendant, but are not conducted in prison. The defendant may be sentenced to community service, house arrest, alcohol or drug treatment, and/or psychiatric counseling. Other short-term programs may take place in residential settings, such as detoxification centers, community residential treatment centers, in-house drug and alcohol treatment programs, and other options.

Discuss Alternative Sentencing Options for Drug Offenses with a Nashville Lawyer

If you are convicted of a Tennessee drug crime, you may be eligible for alternative sentencing. Nashville defense attorney Bernie McEvoy can help you fight drug charges and evaluate the best options in your situation. He serves areas throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Franklin and Nashville. Request your free consultation today by contacting the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy online or calling (615) 255-9595 during the week and (615) 804-8779 on evenings and weekends.

Client Reviews
“Bernie McEvoy was very focused on learning all the facts of the case I brought to him. He represented me with the highest of professionalism. He is a great listener who knows how to formulate a plan of action and seek the best possible solution.” Larry M.
“From the moment I met Mr. McEvoy, he welcomed me as a client and provided excellent representation. He has compassion for each person and works diligently to provided the best possible results.” Lawrence E.
“We hired Bernie for a criminal defense case. Overall we were pleased with the outcome. I would recommend Mr. McEvoy. He is very pleasant to work with and works “for” you, not the system. Thanks Bernie!” Taffney H.