What should I expect to get if I have been charged with Simple Possession?

By John M. Milazo of Milazo Law, P.C. (615) 599-7719 See our website at www.milazolaw.com

The consequence for Simple Possession can vary greatly depending on several factors. These include but are not limited to:

  • where you are arrested or cited for a charge of Simple Possession;
  • whether this is your first arrest for Simple Possession in Tennessee or any other state;
  • which of the many controlled substances you are charged with possessing; and
  • whether you aggressively defend your rights and properly prepare a successful defense for a charge of Simple Possession in Tennessee.

First, it is important to consider the court system where you are charged and must defend an arrest or citation for Simple Possession in Tennessee. For instance, in a metropolitan and largely urban environment, where law enforcement can expect to handle more serious offenses on a daily basis, victimless offenses such as Simple Possession of Controlled Substances are more often treated as nuisance offenses and more leniently.

For instance, Nashville, Davidson County, TN, a person charged, cited or ticketed for Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance for the first time may be treated very leniently. For a first offense, he or she may be presented with an opportunity to have their charges dismissed if they complete a drug education program and/or some small amount of community service. There, it may not make a difference if you retain a lawyer or represent yourself. This is very different from other more affluent court systems such as Williamson County.

In Williamson County, Tennessee, at either the courthouse in Franklin, or the city court of Fairview, a person charged with Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance can expect the prosecutor to be seeking 11 months and 29 days in jail and a substantial fine. If the person charged does not have a substantial criminal record, most or even all of this, jail sentence may be suspended and served on supervised probation. However, once convicted, even the most minor infraction will result in a revocation of their probation and cause them to serve their entire sentence in jail. Without the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, a person charged with Simple Possession who faces these charges in Williamson County, Tennessee could very well find themselves serving time in jail.

Jail time for a Simple Possession in Tennessee most often happens when the person charged with a Simple Possession or other Drug Related Offense does not recognize how serious this offense can be and does not prepare properly. Defending a charge of Simple Possession should start with, at the very least, stopping the use of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, prescription pills and cocaine. If this cannot occur due to addiction, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you find low cost or free treatment and other options to help you begin the process of sobriety. If addiction is not the issue, then failing to stop using illegal drugs may be viewed by the Court and the prosecutor as disrespectful and a failure to appreciate the seriousness of the offense. This will likely result in a more aggressive prosecution and a more severe sentence.

Other factors more personal to your particular situation may improve or hinder your success and affect your outcome. Your appearance can certainly improve or thwart your chances of success. Most judges and prosecutors maintain a mainstream, conservative outward appearance. While they may have tattoos from their wilder days, most have them in discreet locations or at least cover them with sleeves for court. Yes, you do have the freedom of expression in this country. However, nonconformity has always resulted in a path of increased resistance. It is best to dress conservatively, remove any visible piercings, and wear your hair and facial hair in a more traditional style when appearing in court. It may even be worthwhile to dress in a more formal fashion, such as a coat and tie or dress/dress pants for the ladies. Of course, be on your best manners using “yes sir”, “yes ma’am” or “yes your Honor” where appropriate. “Please” and “Thank you” will not hurt either.

Aside from obvious appearance issues, it can be important to inform the prosecutor or the court of details of your personal life that set you apart from most other defendants. That is to say: volunteer work, military service, exemplary academic achievements, employment history, lack of criminal history family support system, etc. may all help define you as an individual who may be less likely than others to fail to recognize the serious nature of any arrest and therefore be less likely to be charged with this or any other offense in the future. Such a person is worth the time and energy required of a prosecutor or the court to deviate from the norm, and may find themselves treated more leniently than others. An experienced trial attorney can help place you and the facts of your case before the court or the prosecutor in a way that demonstrates to the court that you deserve a more lenient sentence than they otherwise may issue. For individuals with no criminal record it may be very important to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney who can help you qualify for and receive Pre-Trial Diversion or Judicial Diversion, which is also known as Post-Plea Diversion. With a diversion type of sentence a person may, after successful completion of probation, submit an Order which would cause their criminal record to be expunged. That is to say, they could testify under oath that they have never been arrested for this crime. This is a special provision within the law that allows only for first time offenders who stand out above the other people who are charged with similar crimes to have an opportunity to keep this isolated event from tarnishing their otherwise impeccable criminal record. Although it may be your first offense, you should seriously consider hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your particular charge.

Thank you for reading my blog. For more information see my website at www.milazolaw.com

John M. Milazo

By John Milazo