In Tennessee, a drug conviction involving cocaine can result in severe criminal penalties, and it may also have a lasting impact on future career opportunities and the defendant’s personal reputation. In high-stakes cases, hiring an experienced drug crime lawyer may make a difference in defending a cocaine charge. As a former assistant district attorney, Nashville cocaine crime lawyer Bernie McEvoy understands how the prosecution approaches a felony drug case. He can provide trustworthy advice and assertive representation to people charged with cocaine crimes in Davidson and Williamson Counties, as well as people facing charges based on marijuana or other drugs.Overview of Cocaine Crimes in Tennessee
Controlled substances are classified by schedule pursuant to Tennessee law. Schedule II drugs have been found to have a high potential for abuse, which may in turn lead to severe psychic or physical dependence. Cocaine and other derivatives of cocaine or coca leaves that have not been decocainized are classified as Schedule II drugs in Tennessee. Accordingly, the drug offenses defined under Tennessee law apply to cocaine in any form. These include crack cocaine, a product of cocaine, and other additives processed into rock crystal.
It is a crime in Tennessee to knowingly possess or casually exchange cocaine or any other controlled substance in any amount, unless it was obtained directly by prescription or the order of a professional practitioner. Possession as used in the statute can mean actual possession, such as cocaine in a pocket or shoe worn by the defendant, or constructive possession. Constructive possession is having control and dominion over something without actual possession. An example may be cocaine found in a storage unit that was rented solely to the defendant. In these cases, a judge or jury may infer that a defendant had constructive possession over the cocaine. However, a skilled cocaine crime attorney in Nashville often can dispute the prosecution’s theory of the case.
When it is a first-time offense, simple possession of cocaine is typically a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction may result in a jail sentence, a fine, drug offender school, and community service work. Under some circumstances, the offense may be elevated to a felony and carry more severe penalties, such as in cases involving a casual exchange to a minor from an adult who is two or more years older.
Under Tennessee law, it is a felony offense to knowingly manufacture, deliver, or sell cocaine, or knowingly possess cocaine with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell it. The penalties for a felony cocaine conviction may include jail time and very large fines, so you should promptly retain a Nashville cocaine crime attorney to try to avoid these consequences. The amount of cocaine, the surrounding circumstances, and the criminal history of the defendant will affect the class of felony charged and the associated penalties. A first-time violation is generally a Class C felony for less than 0.5 grams of cocaine. If the amount involved is 0.5 grams or more, a Class B felony may be charged. The charge may also be elevated to a Class B felony if the defendant carried or used a deadly weapon when committing the offense, or if someone died or was injured as a result of the offense. An amount of 300 grams or more is a Class A felony. The sale or distribution of large amounts of cocaine may fall under federal drug trafficking laws in addition to state laws.
Defending against a cocaine charge in Davidson or Williamson County takes legal knowledge and diligence. In most cases, it is important to analyze the circumstances of the offense and the facts surrounding the arrest. If evidence was obtained in an unlawful search or seizure, or in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights, there may be a strong argument to have it thrown out. A skilled criminal attorney can identify weak points in the prosecution’s case and develop an appropriate defense strategy.Retain a Cocaine Crime Lawyer in Nashville to Fight Your Charge
Attorney Bernie McEvoy has the experience and dedication to defend against cocaine and other felony drug charges. He can represent people from areas throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Nashville and Franklin. Request a free consultation regarding a drug case or another criminal matter, such as a DUI, by contacting the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy through our website or our daytime phone number at (615) 255-9595 or at (615) 804-8779 after hours.