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Drug Trafficking

Drug Trafficking2021-09-23T17:40:28-05:00

Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyers in Chattanooga

Drug Trafficking Criminal Attorneys in Chattanooga Tennessee

Selling, transporting or importing illegal drugs or controlled substances all come under the broad term of “drug trafficking” in Tennessee.

Unlike a drug possession charge, a charge of drug trafficking may be investigated as a federal crime under laws passed by the U.S. Congress. If you are convicted, you face serious, life-changing consequences including substantial prison time.

To give yourself the best chance of avoiding an unwanted criminal record that follows you around for the rest of your life and impacts your future, consider representation by a criminal defense lawyer experienced in drug trafficking cases.

Law enforcement must follow procedures carefully for drug trafficking charges to be proven and evidence can often be questioned. The seasoned defense lawyers at Houston & Alexander in Chattanooga are adept at investigating every avenue in building your defense.

What is drug trafficking in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, drug trafficking is defined as the sale, transportation or importation of illegal drugs (also known as “drug distribution”).

Typically, the drugs involved in such cases are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, as well as pharmaceutical opiates used as pain medications and sleeping tablets. However, they can also involve many other illicit substances.

Drug trafficking may be investigated as a federal crime by federal agencies and prosecuted as a felony (unlike possession, which is normally a misdemeanor). Therefore, it can result in prison time and substantial fines.

What are the drug trafficking laws in Tennessee?

Drug possession charges are usually filed if you are found with illegal substances on your person or otherwise in your possession.

For trafficking charges to be filed, law enforcement would need evidence that you intended to sell, import, or transport them. So, if a large amount of money is found on you in addition to drugs when stopped by police, trafficking charges may well follow.

Note that the trafficking laws also cover “precursors”, which are substances used to make certain artificial drugs, most notably methamphetamines.

State and federal drug trafficking laws in Tennessee

If you are caught trafficking a controlled substance across state lines, the federal law comes into play and you may be investigated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

If the sale or transportation of the drug is entirely within Tennessee, local state laws will apply but that does not greatly diminish the potentially severe consequences.

What are the main types of controlled substances in Tennessee?

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, drugs are classified in descending order of perceived harm that they do to individuals and society as a whole.

These classifications run from Schedule I (most perceived harm/least value to society) to Schedule V (least perceived harm/most value to society).

  • Schedule I: These drugs are considered highly addictive, with no accepted medical use, and are unsafe even under medical supervision. Common examples include heroin and LSD.

  • Schedule II: These drugs are highly addictive and may lead to severe drug dependence, but may have a medical use. Common examples include cocaine, methamphetamine, and oxycodone (OxyContin).

  • Schedule III: These drugs have a low potential for abuse with accepted medical uses and a moderate risk of dependence. Common examples include anabolic steroids, ketamine, etc.

  • Schedule IV and V: These types of drugs have a low potential for drug abuse with accepted medical uses and limited potential for dependence. Common examples include Xanax, Tramadol, etc.

Some people are surprised that marijuana is included as a Schedule I drug under federal laws.

With attitudes across the U.S. changing towards marijuana, there may be changes to this in the future. Marijuana may be removed as a Schedule I drug but we should bear in mind that repeated petitions for this to happen have been made unsuccessfully since the 1970s.

In Tennessee, marijuana possession remains illegal and if you are charged with trafficking marijuana, you could face a prison sentence of 15-60 years for the most serious types of felonies. More information about Tennessee’s penalties for marijuana trafficking is included below.

Drug Trafficking Criminal Attorneys in Chattanooga Tennessee

Looking for a drug trafficking defense lawyer in Chattanooga, TN?

If you’ve been charged with a drug trafficking, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney immediately.
Call (423) 267-6715 or request a free case evaluation today.

What are the penalties for drug trafficking in Tennessee?

If you are charged with drug trafficking, the potential consequences you face will depend on the following factors:

  • The type of drugs involved (Schedules I-V)
  • The quantity of drugs
  • The geographical area in which the alleged offense took place
  • Whether children were involved or targeted

Penalties for state drug trafficking offenses

It is difficult to speak generally about the penalties but, at a minimum, if you are convicted you can expect 3-5 years in prison unless your defense lawyer can reduce it. For very large quantities, up to life imprisonment can result.

Tennessee state law penalties specify several levels of drug trafficking based on volumes of illicit drugs trafficked.

As a guideline for marijuana, these penalties are as follows:

  • Trafficking of 0.5 oz. to 10 lbs.: 1-6 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

  • Trafficking of 10 to 70 lbs.: 2-12-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $5,000.

  • Trafficking of 70 to 300 lbs.: 8- 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000.

  • Trafficking over 300 lbs.: a prison term of 15-60 years and a maximum fine of $500,000

Penalties are even more severe if you are convicted for a second or subsequent offense.

Penalties for federal drug trafficking offenses

For federally charged crimes, the quantity of controlled substance trafficked is again the key to sentencing for a conviction.

The federal statutes contain guidelines and the following are a few typical examples of the type of sentence you can expect:

  • 1 kg of heroin, 5 kg of cocaine, or 1000 kg of marijuana: 10 years to life in prison.

  • 100g of heroin or 500g of cocaine: 5 to 40 years in prison.

  • 50 kg of marijuana: up to 5 years in prison.

In addition to penalty enhancements for trafficking of larger quantities of controlled substances, enhancements exist for crimes that result in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, as well as for prior convictions.

Prison term enhancements may also be applied if the person convicted is considered the leader of an organized trafficking unit or if a firearm is involved. For the use of a firearm, the term served would be on top of the term served for drug trafficking. The jail time would not be served concurrently.

Regardless of whether you are charged at the federal or state level for a drug trafficking crime, the penalties are potentially very severe. If you are arrested and charged, it is no time to take a gamble with your future.

You need representation from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the local justice system and with defending drug trafficking charges.

Protect Your Rights: Call Houston & Alexander, PLLC

A charge of drug trafficking can lead to a federal investigation and even a state-investigated crime can have serious repercussions.

Book a free consultation with an experienced drug trafficking attorney at Houston & Alexander, PLLC. We will protect your rights and freedoms and reduce the impact on your future.

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TESTIMONIALS

The moment finally came when I saw Jay walk down the stairs in the court room, he flashed me a thumbs up and I knew... I knew I won. If you need a lawyer do not hesitate to call Houston & Alexander. There is no one that will represent you better anywhere in Chattanooga. I wholeheartedly give them five stars. - Antonio
I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUIs and other charges. I was not sure where to turn and called Houston and Alexander. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids...everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence net result was I was able to keep my family together. -Colleen
We've been clients of Houston & Alexander for three years, with Bret Alexander representing us during that time. I can't speak highly enough of his integrity, professionalism, and his dedication to our legal needs. We are so grateful for his guidance and effectiveness through such a difficult time. He's an attorney you can trust and depend on to do the right thing. We are sincerely so grateful. Thank You! - Trish
I am a Desert Storm veteran and found myself in need of legal counsel. Everyone from the receptionist to the attorney himself treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. I found them to be knowledgeable and most helpful. I would recommend Houston and Alexander for all your legal needs. Thank you for all of your help. - C Pugh
I won't go into specifics because they are very embarrassing for my family. But if you have a daughter who has been criminally charged with a serious charge, Johnny Houston should be your go-to gentleman. Because of his hard work, and diligence in our case, we can once again hold our heads High and consider this a lesson learned. Thank you Johnny Houston from the bottom of our hearts! -Karen A.
My son made a couple of mistakes and was faced with having a criminal record. Mr. Houston stepped in and provided us with excellent representation. My son will NOT have a record now and is looking forward to the future. I also can't say enough about the staff at Houston & Alexander. Always responsive and informative and really went the extra mile. I cannot recommend them enough! - Alice
Due the stress of this pandemic and the loss of employment, my wife and I got into an argument and I ended up getting arrested and charged with domestic violence. I could not go home, could not have any contact with my wife and had no place to live. An elected official/friend referred me to Johnny Houston and his law firm. Due to Johnny's efforts, not only did we get into court quickly, but all charges were dismissed. We are back together now and I am getting this expunged. Thank you, Johnny! - Client
I had too much to drink one night and backed into another car. I was charged with second offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. I was at a real low point in my life and my husband had recently passed away. Johnny was able to get the felonies dismissed and I pled guilty to a first offense. Instead of facing significant jail time and a felony, I did a few days in jail and wore an alcohol monitor. Johnny was able to humanize me with the DA and I was able to get my life back on track again. Great law firm! You would be crazy to go anywhere else. - Karen M.
I am a college student. I was involved in a wreck and was charged with DUI and leaving the scene. I thought I was ok to drive but my blood result said otherwise. A DUI conviction would have really hurt my chances of getting a good job. Johnny and Bret told me I had a difficult case and the only guarantee they gave was that they would work hard for me. They NEVER gave up on my case and ultimately persuaded the arresting officer and the DA to reduce the charge. If YOU need help on a DUI or any other case, call them! These men are not only hard working but kind. - Kate
I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUI and other charges. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids...everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence. I kept my house and my family intact! I have turned my life around and things are great! Johnny did not forget about me once the case was over, either. I needed some additional help with my license and Johnny jumped right on it. - Colleen
Johnny and Bret took my case and treated me like a person, not a number. I was looking at a long prison sentence (10+ years). These guys stepped in, calmed me down, and told me that they were going to be there for me. When you first walk in their office, you have that at home feeling. With Mrs. Wanda, a very welcoming atmosphere. They really treat you like family here. I would recommend Mr. Houston and Mr. Alexander to anyone who needs their service. You will not go wrong with these guys. THEY KNOW THE LAW!!!! - WARDELL
We were from out of town and had no friends or family in the area. Things got out of control and the next morning we were arrested and charged with Felonies. In my opinion, we were over charged. We called Johny and he agreed to meet with us right away. Johnny was attentive and listened. Facing possible jail time and the loss of my husband,s job we were terrified. Johnny literally rescued us! He took the lead, met with the DA and the alleged victim, and really smoothed things over. Johnny was confident and appeared to get along well with the Prosecutors and Judges. We were very fortunate to find Johnny. - Tana

TESTIMONIALS

The moment finally came when I saw Jay walk down the stairs in the court room, he flashed me a thumbs up and I knew... I knew I won. If you need a lawyer do not hesitate to call Houston & Alexander. There is no one that will represent you better anywhere in Chattanooga. I wholeheartedly give them five stars. - Antonio
I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUIs and other charges. I was not sure where to turn and called Houston and Alexander. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids...everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence net result was I was able to keep my family together. -Colleen
We've been clients of Houston & Alexander for three years, with Bret Alexander representing us during that time. I can't speak highly enough of his integrity, professionalism, and his dedication to our legal needs. We are so grateful for his guidance and effectiveness through such a difficult time. He's an attorney you can trust and depend on to do the right thing. We are sincerely so grateful. Thank You! - Trish
I am a Desert Storm veteran and found myself in need of legal counsel. Everyone from the receptionist to the attorney himself treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. I found them to be knowledgeable and most helpful. I would recommend Houston and Alexander for all your legal needs. Thank you for all of your help. - C Pugh
I won't go into specifics because they are very embarrassing for my family. But if you have a daughter who has been criminally charged with a serious charge, Johnny Houston should be your go-to gentleman. Because of his hard work, and diligence in our case, we can once again hold our heads High and consider this a lesson learned. Thank you Johnny Houston from the bottom of our hearts! -Karen A.
My son made a couple of mistakes and was faced with having a criminal record. Mr. Houston stepped in and provided us with excellent representation. My son will NOT have a record now and is looking forward to the future. I also can't say enough about the staff at Houston & Alexander. Always responsive and informative and really went the extra mile. I cannot recommend them enough! - Alice
Due the stress of this pandemic and the loss of employment, my wife and I got into an argument and I ended up getting arrested and charged with domestic violence. I could not go home, could not have any contact with my wife and had no place to live. An elected official/friend referred me to Johnny Houston and his law firm. Due to Johnny's efforts, not only did we get into court quickly, but all charges were dismissed. We are back together now and I am getting this expunged. Thank you, Johnny! - Client
I had too much to drink one night and backed into another car. I was charged with second offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. I was at a real low point in my life and my husband had recently passed away. Johnny was able to get the felonies dismissed and I pled guilty to a first offense. Instead of facing significant jail time and a felony, I did a few days in jail and wore an alcohol monitor. Johnny was able to humanize me with the DA and I was able to get my life back on track again. Great law firm! You would be crazy to go anywhere else. - Karen M.
I am a college student. I was involved in a wreck and was charged with DUI and leaving the scene. I thought I was ok to drive but my blood result said otherwise. A DUI conviction would have really hurt my chances of getting a good job. Johnny and Bret told me I had a difficult case and the only guarantee they gave was that they would work hard for me. They NEVER gave up on my case and ultimately persuaded the arresting officer and the DA to reduce the charge. If YOU need help on a DUI or any other case, call them! These men are not only hard working but kind. - Kate
I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUI and other charges. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids...everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence. I kept my house and my family intact! I have turned my life around and things are great! Johnny did not forget about me once the case was over, either. I needed some additional help with my license and Johnny jumped right on it. - Colleen
Johnny and Bret took my case and treated me like a person, not a number. I was looking at a long prison sentence (10+ years). These guys stepped in, calmed me down, and told me that they were going to be there for me. When you first walk in their office, you have that at home feeling. With Mrs. Wanda, a very welcoming atmosphere. They really treat you like family here. I would recommend Mr. Houston and Mr. Alexander to anyone who needs their service. You will not go wrong with these guys. THEY KNOW THE LAW!!!! - WARDELL
We were from out of town and had no friends or family in the area. Things got out of control and the next morning we were arrested and charged with Felonies. In my opinion, we were over charged. We called Johny and he agreed to meet with us right away. Johnny was attentive and listened. Facing possible jail time and the loss of my husband,s job we were terrified. Johnny literally rescued us! He took the lead, met with the DA and the alleged victim, and really smoothed things over. Johnny was confident and appeared to get along well with the Prosecutors and Judges. We were very fortunate to find Johnny. - Tana

View our reviews online.

View our reviews online.

ATTORNEY PROFILES

ATTORNEY PROFILES

JOHNNY D. HOUSTON

BRET ALEXANDER

AMANDA BRANAM DUNN

JAY UNDERWOOD

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