Thanks for using JustAnswser.com
In order for me to better assist you, please provide the following information:
What was the drug that you were charged with?
Thanks for the information
In Tennessee, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphanalia are two separate and distinct charges.
If you are charged with simple possession or casual exchange of marijuana you will face Class A misdemeanor penalties. This means you may serve up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and face fines up to $2,500.
Penalties in most courts, if a person is convicted and it's a first offense, the penalties are usually not this severe, but there are some courts in Tennessee that impose some jail, even for the first offense.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a Class A misdemeanor punishable by the same penalties as the marijuana.
Again, most courts would not impose the maximum penalty for a first offense, but there are no guarantees.
Because it is your first offense, you may ask to speak to the prosecutor at your court date. It is possible that s/he will offer you a plea agreement. You can ask for the paraphernalia charged to be dropped, and that you be allowed a pre trial diversion on the marijuana. That type of plea arrangement could keep your record clean, but is within the discretion of the prosecutor as to whether or not you are offered it.
According to Tennessee law, for a person to be granted a pre-trial diversion both the prosecutor and defendant agree to suspend prosecution for a period of time.
To be eligible, among other qualifications, you must not have had any other convictions within 5 years that would make you ineligible, or any other pre-trial diversions.
Again, the prosecutor and defendant must agree to suspend prosecution. And even if you are eligible, it doesn't mean that a pretrial diversion will be offered. The agreement to suspend prosecution of a period of time is done by a "memorandum of understanding"
The prosecution can be suspended up to a maximum of two years once the memorandum of understanding is filed.
You may have to follow certain conditions during the period. For example, you may not be arrested or convicted of a crime, you may have to pay fees, do community service, complete drug testing and/or education, etc. Once these conditions are completed, the charges will dropped within 90 days after the expiration of the period of suspension.
This will keep your record clean. This can become very important if you are applying for a job, a training program, a school, etc. You do NOT want to have a drug or drug related conviction on your record if at all possible.
Because of the long term consquences of a drug conviction, you really should speak to an attorney who specializes in criminal law. You can contact your local bar association for a referral. It will probably give you 2 or 3 names. You can contact the attorney(s) for a telephone consultation, or ask to set up an appointment to discuss the specific facts of your case and speak to him/her about a pre-trial diversion. Sometimes, these consultations are free.
I wish you the best of luck.
I hope that you find this information useful, and that you press the GREEN ACCEPT button so that I may receive credit for answering your question. Positive feedback, although not required is always appreciated. Also, a BONUS is also not required but is greatly appreciated.
Legal Disclaimer: The answer provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The information, research and opinions set forth above are limited to the facts presented in the question and no guarantee is made regarding the adequacy or accuracy of the answer. The answer provided does not infer or imply the establishment or acceptance of any attorney-client relationship. No claim is made that I am licensed to practice law in the state or jurisdiction where this information is being provided and you should always seek legal counsel admitted to practice in your local jurisdiction for representation and advice on any legal matter.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).