While marijuana may be legal in some states, it's still very much illegal in Tennessee. Recently the city of Memphis passed an ordinance “decriminalizing” certain amounts of marijuana. Basically the amount of a marijuana cigarette. However, we can assure you, the police have been ordered to ignore this ordinance and treat every marijuana case the same. Drug charges in general can be devastating. Luckily, our law firm has an excellent record at minimizing the effects of drug charges in almost every drug case we’ve handled.
The Memphis drug charge lawyers at Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC are litigators dedicated to defending your rights. For years, we’ve helped people fight bogus arrests and convictions stemming from the inequitable “war on drugs.” Our law firm has handled hundreds of drug cases and we believe there is no area of law where a criminal defense attorney can make a bigger impact than in defending drug charges. Nearly all drug arrests involve a search and seizure, usually without a lawful warrant. Our lawyers have won dozens of suppression hearings proving the government cannot break the law in order to arrest you. We’ve also helped dozens of addicts receive treatment through drug court or other means.
Tennessee law classifies cocaine as a schedule II drug. A conviction for simple possession of cocaine, or possession with intent, could result in heavy fines and/or a lengthy prison sentence. If you have been charged with a cocaine related drug offense in Memphis, Tennessee, then you need an aggressive Memphis cocaine attorney who knows the "ins and outs" of Tennessee's cocaine laws and Memphis drug court.
There are two forms of cocaine. The most popular is the powder form which dissolves in water and can either be snorted up the nose, ingested by mouth, or injected. The other form is known as "freebase" and is usually smoked. Crack cocaine was developed as a poor man's version of the pure freebase form. Crack is a mixture of cocaine and a cheaper additive, usually baking soda, that when processed creates a rock crystal. When heated up, the rock crystal releases a vapor that gets the person high. Freebase cocaine increases the intensity of the high and is extremely addictive.
Because of the war on drugs, Tennessee cocaine laws are very harsh. Tennessee courts are not lenient on defendants who have been caught possessing or selling cocaine. Depending on the amount, Tennessee law requires a mandatory fine ranging from $750.00 to $100,000.00. If you have a prior drug conviction or possess cocaine near a school, the penalties could be greatly increased.
Simple possession of cocaine requires a mandatory fine of $750.00 to $2,500.00. The maximum jail term is 11 months and 29 days. Also, the court could order mandatory-random drug screens and drug treatment if necessary. Felony cocaine laws require a jail term of 3-15 years if the amount is less than 0.5 grams and a jail term of 8-30 if the amount is over 0.5 grams. The fine cannot exceed $100,000.00.
Defending a cocaine case requires specialized knowledge of Tennessee drug laws and of the Memphis drug court system. You need a drug charge lawyer experienced at arguing against violations of your constitutional rights due to unreasonable searches and seizures.
Marijuana has been used for years to treat a host of medical conditions, from pain and nausea to anxiety and insomnia, but its therapeutic benefits are always overshadowed by the war on drugs. Since the inception of this war, laws prohibiting marijuana have failed to stem its use. Despite over 20 million arrests for marijuana offenses in the past five years, statistics show that over 30 million Americans used marijuana in 2010 alone. Across the country, police continue to arrest hundreds of people every hour, even if they are licensed to use, carry or sell medical marijuana. These arrests and convictions are based on outdated drug laws that arbitrarily distinguish between "medicinal" and "street" varieties and impose sentences disproportionate to the crime.
In Tennessee, all forms of marijuana, even medicinal, are illegal. Tennessee imposes severe penalties for marijuana offenses. Convictions for possession of one-half ounce (14 grams) or less are punishable by longer sentences than under federal law. A third conviction for possession is punishable by up to 6 years in prison. Convictions for the sale of marijuana are similarly based on weight, with 300 pounds or more carrying a maximum sentence of 60 years. Compared to other drug offenses and violent crimes, these terms are unnecessarily severe and punish the wrong people. Both federal and state marijuana laws target a specific demographic and result in discriminatory penalties for the same offense.
First, use common sense. Do not leave marijuana or drug paraphernalia in plain view where police can see it. Also remember that the smell of marijuana is pungent and carries, so law enforcement can detect marijuana from far away. Second, know your rights. Police are intimidating, but they do not have the authority to violate your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures or your Fifth Amendment right to keep silent and be represented by counsel. Remember that you never have to consent to a search or answer questions by yourself.
If you are accused of a marijuana possession charge, the drug charge lawyers at Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC can help.
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Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC
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Memphis, TN 38104
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