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Tennessee Heroin Laws

Many of us have seen The Wire or glamorized versions of the drug trade in movies or on TV. While social attitudes might be trending toward leniency regarding some recreational drug use, heroin possession and sale remains illegal under both federal and our Volunteer State drug laws. Here is a brief summary of those heroin laws in Tennessee.

Heroin Laws in Tennessee

The particulars of state drug laws can vary, depending on the jurisdictions. You can find the main provisions of Tennessee's heroin laws listed in the chart below.

Code Section

39-17-401, et seq.


Possession or casual exchange of less than .5 oz.: Class A misdemeanor unless adult to minor and adult is 2 yrs. the minor's senior, then felony; Subsequent offense: If two or more prior convictions: Class E felony; Less than .5 grams is a Class C felony, may be fined up to $100,000; Class B:.5 grams or less if injury or death occurrence or defendant was in possession of deadly weapon.


Class B felony and/or $100,000; Over 15 g.: Class B felony and/or $200,000; Over 150 g.: Class A felony and/or $500,000; Sale to minor under 18 or in drug-free school zone: one class higher than amount required; Minimum penalty amounts: 1st drug felony: $2000; 2nd: $2500; 3rd: $3000



Schedule I drugs like heroin are criminalized on both the state and federal level, covering everything from simple possession all the way up to manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution as well. Many drug charge convictions can carry severe penalties, including prison time and heavy fines. For example, penalties for heroin sale in Tennessee can be severe, ranging from six months to 60 years in prison, and fines up to $500,000.

These penalties may vary depending on the specifics of your case, and some jurisdictions have recently begun implementing “drug courts” that cover first- and second-time drug crime defendants. In such cases, defendants may have the opportunity to choose drug treatment programs and other options over lengthy jail sentences.

Tennessee Heroin Laws: Related Resources

As our social norms on drug use evolve, so do our drug laws. If you or someone you know may have a drug or substance abuse problem, you can contact Tennessee's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for online, phone, and in-person resources. For additional information and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's Drug Charges section. Finally, you can contact a Tennessee drug crime attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a drug matter.

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