We Protect the Rights of Individuals Accused of Criminal Offenses Related to the Possession or Distribution of Cocaine
Being arrested on cocaine charges is a serious matter. In Tennessee – and under federal law – cocaine is what is known as a Schedule II drug, meaning that offenses related to it can result in significant criminal penalties. It doesn’t take much cocaine to yield a felony charge in Tennessee. Felony or misdemeanor, though, the impact of a cocaine arrest can be far-reaching. Major fines and prison time are on the table, but there are other collateral consequences as well, many of which can last for the rest of your life.
If you have been arrested on cocaine charges and you want to avoid the penalties and other consequences that can come with a cocaine conviction, you should look into retaining experienced legal counsel. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Knoxville cocaine defense lawyer today, call Barnes Law at 865-805-5703 or contact us online.
A Drug Conviction Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life
If you are convicted on cocaine charges, the consequences you will face extend well beyond whatever fines, jail time, or both that are part of your sentence. Almost all cocaine charges are felonies. Felony convictions of any kind have a severe negative impact on your life; the involvement of drugs only makes it worse. If you work in a profession that requires a license, such as law or medicine, the odds are pretty good you will lose your license. The loss might be temporary, but it might not, and you will have to apply for reinstatement. Even if you regain your license – and even if your job doesn’t require one — a felony drug record won’t make you the most attractive of potential hires. You might not be able to get hired at a job comparable to the job you held before your conviction – and the odds are excellent you will be fired from that job if you are convicted.
If you are in this country as an immigrant, that drug conviction could cost you your immigration visa, or even your green card – your permanent resident status. Denial of any citizenship application is almost guaranteed, and deportation is likely. Your drug conviction could have negative impacts on any child visitation or custody rights, and in most states you will lose your right to vote. Forget about gun ownership.
The hits keep coming. A felony drug conviction will cost college students any federal student aid they may be receiving, whether that aid is in the form of grants, scholarships, federally subsidized loans, or any other kind of federally sponsored student aid program. You will lose that federal aid for at least a year, and possibly more.
You can count on serious negative financial impacts from a cocaine arrest, as well, even if you are not convicted. Following your arrest, it is possible you could be fired from your job or be suspended until you are cleared or convicted. Obviously, that is depends upon your employer, but both outcomes are possibilities. You likely will have to post bail. The cost of your defense will not be cheap. If convicted, you likely will face fines, and potentially jail time. One costs money, the other prevents you from making any. It is a bleak picture.
What are the Criminal Consequences of a Cocaine Arrest?
While federal charges apply primarily to those caught with large amounts of cocaine, Tennessee law provides charges for any amount of cocaine. Drug charges in Tennessee come in a five-tier hierarchy, ranging from misdemeanor to felony. These charges are:
- Simple possession or casual exchange. Even as a Class A misdemeanor, this offense can be result in up to one year in jail and fines of as much as $2,500. A second offense is a felony, as can be a “simple exchange” from an adult to a minor.
- Possession with intent to distribute is a felony charge, and involves larger amounts of cocaine
- Sale of a controlled substance, also a felony
- Drug trafficking and conspiracy, and
- Drug manufacturing.
The penalties you can face for a cocaine conviction in Tennessee are fairly extensive and cover a broad range. Jail time and fines are on the list, of course, but there are numerous other penalties that can be added to your sentence, including:
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Seizure of property
- A jail or prison sentence
- Fines that can range into six figures
- Community service or court-mandated rehab
For cocaine convictions in Tennessee, with the exception of most simple possession charges, the penalties include substantial jail or prison time. Penalties for these offenses involving cocaine are harsh, including:
- First-offense purchase or possession of cocaine (above the very small about covered by simple possession) calls for imprisonment of at least 2 years, but no more than 15 years.
- A second offense requires at least five years in prison, but no more than 30 years
- A first-offense charge of selling or possession of cocaine with intent to distribute carries a penalty of at least 5 years in prison, but no more than 30 years.
- A second offense can get you at least 10 years in prison, but no more than 40 years. However, life imprisonment also is a sentencing option, depending upon circumstances.
Obviously, the stakes are high if you are arrested on a cocaine charge, however “minor” the charge might seem. For this reason, it’s critical that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to have the charges against you completed dropped or secure an acquittal at trial. Even if you end up pleading guilty, the representation of an attorney can often result in a favorable plea bargain that allows you to avoid the most serious consequences associated with the offense of which you were accused.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Knoxville Cocaine Defense Attorney
At Barnes Law, we are committed to protecting the rights of people accused of serious crimes and work hard to secure the best possible outcome in each case we handle.