If you’ve been charged with simple possession or casual exchange in Clay County, Tennessee, it’s important that you contact an experienced attorney.
Simple possession or casual exchange is an A misdemeanor. T.C.A. § 39-17-418. That means someone convicted of simple possession or casual exchange could receive up to 11 months, 29 days in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. T.C.A. § 40-35-111. There are also mandatory minimum fines to consider. T.C.A. § 39-17-418. If the drug involved is marijuana or hashish, the minimum fine is $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for the third or subsequent offense. If the conviction is for another drug, the minimum fine is $750 for the first offense, $850 for the second offense, and $1,000 for the third or subsequent offense.
Some drugs carry extra penalties. T.C.A. § 39-17-418. For example, if you have two or more prior convictions for simple possession or casual exchange and the current violation involves heroin, then you’re on the hook for an E Felony. Even if its your first offense, if the violation is for meth, there is a thirty day minimum jail sentence (although, at least the simple possession or casual exchange of meth is just an A misdemeanor).
The penalties get much harsher if you’re an adult who casually exchanges drugs to a minor two years younger than you who you know is a minor. T.C.A. § 39-17-418. In that case, you’re punished as if you violated T.C.A. § 39-17-417 (felony manufacture, sale, or delivery).
So, is there any good news (other than your high)? Yep. Most simple possessions plea out to 11 months, 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation. If you have good facts, you may be able to get 6 months supervised probation, 5 months & 29 days probation so long as you have your costs and fines paid off. Finally, depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to get some of those costs or fines waived. The details are very fact dependent, and you should never just assume because most people get a certain offer, that you will. It’s critical that you talk with an attorney to help guide you through the process and speak with the local district attorney on your behalf.