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xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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What will most likely be the penalty for a Simple Possession

Resolved Question:

What will most likely be the penalty for a Simple Possession Schedule 6 charge, and one count of paraphernalia in TN? This is my first offense.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  xavierjd replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for using


In order for me to better assist you, please provide the following information:


What was the drug that you were charged with?



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
A schedule 6 in tennessee is marijuana
Expert:  xavierjd replied 8 years ago.

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.

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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.

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