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National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Tennessee Bar Association
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Sale, Delivery, or Manufacture of a Controlled Substance

In Tennessee, if you are arrested for allegedly dealing drugs, you should contact a criminal defense attorney with expertise in handling drug offense cases right away. As former prosecutors, the attorneys at Baker Associates have ample experience in handling drug offense cases and possess firsthand knowledge of the tactics and decision-making processes used by the State. Sale, delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance is prosecuted under T.C.A. § 39-17-417 and penalties will vary in terms of severity depending on the type of drug and the amount found.

Under T.C.A. § 39-17-417, it is an offense for a defendant to knowingly:

  • Manufacture, deliver, or sell a controlled substance; or
  • Possess a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell.

A "controlled substance," is a drug, substance, or immediate precursor to a drug or substance listed and described in Schedules I through VII of T.C.A. § 39-17-403 through 39-17-416. Below are four of the seven schedules with a few of the more recognizable drugs within those categories.

  • Schedule I: Opiates, Heroin , MDMA, LSD, Quaaludes
  • Schedule II: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Vyvanse, Adderall,
  • Schedule III: Ketamine, Barbiturates, Anabolic Steroids
  • Schedule IV: Xanax

To prove the person knowingly committed the offense requires the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she is aware that the conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result. However, the defendant cannot successfully assert that he or she did not know that the drugs were prohibited by law, because in all jurisdictions, citizens are charged with knowing the laws. It is sufficient that the defendant knew that he or she was manufacturing, delivering, or selling a substance that so happened to be controlled.

To "sell" or "the sale of" a controlled substance requires (1) a bargained-for offer; (2) acceptance; (3) and an actual or constructive transfer or delivery of the substance. To "deliver" or "delivery” means the actual, constructive or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance. Actual transfer or delivery is exactly what it sounds like, by exercising physical control over the drug the defendant in fact delivered or sold the controlled substance. On the other hand, constructive sale or delivery is broader and is satisfied when the sale or delivery is under the defendant’s direct or indirect control.

Similarly, possession can be either actual or constructive. A person who knowingly has direct physical control over a drug at a given time is in actual possession of it. On the other hand, a person who does not have actual possession but knowingly has both the power and intention at any given time to exercise dominion and control over the controlled substance is in constructive possession of it. For example, a jury could infer that a homeowner is in construction possession of crack-cocaine when, upon investigation, there is found to be a substantial amount of crack-cocaine stored in a shoe box in the homeowner's closet.

Penalties and Consequences

Penalties under this statute vary depending on the schedule in which the drug is listed and the amount/weight in the defendant's possession. Possession of larger quantities results in larger penalties.

Protecting the Rights of Our Clients

If you have been charged with selling, delivering or manufacturing drugs, or any other drug offense, the criminal defense attorneys at Baker Associates will diligently protect your rights.