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Drug possession and the penalties you face in Tennessee

If you possess drugs for any reason and you do not have a prescription, you can face strict penalties. Whether the drugs are technically legal or not, you still could be charged with possessing a controlled substance.

Drug possession doesn't need to ruin your life. There are many good defenses that you can use as protection in court and to prevent your facing unfair or harsh penalties.

How do drug possession defenses work?

Drug possession defenses are circumstances-dependent. Denying involvement with drugs and any illegal activities surrounding them is one approach, but you may also be able to build a defense based on admitting to possessing drugs.

For instance, if you are a victim of entrapment, you will be able to show that you were in possession of drugs but that the police tricked you in order to make an arrest. Similarly, if a friend or other party was in your vehicle or you borrowed another person's jacket, there could be an argument that any drugs found were not your own.

Beyond these defenses, there are chain-of-custody defenses. During the discovery phase of the case, the prosecution can be compelled to produce the actual drugs from your arrest. Those drugs have to be analyzed and transferred from labs to the police station and other locations. With so many transfers, there is a potential that they could be lost or the amount significantly diminished. If that happens, the evidence against you is greatly weakened.

Unlawful search and seizure is another defense you may be able to use. This defense is particularly common in situations involving traffic stops. Any drugs that are in plain view are typically able to be taken into possession by police during any routine traffic stop. However, it's unlikely the officer would have any reason to search your vehicle if there are no obvious drugs in your possession.

For that reason, you need to carefully explain how your traffic stop or arrest took place. There may have been a lack of probable cause to stop you initially, a lapse in arrest protocols or in the manner in which your vehicle or person was searched. If so, the evidence could be ruled as inadmissible and the charges dropped.

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Jack P. Sherman, Attorney at Law
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Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: 901-646-4270
Phone: 901-233-3474
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