Knoxville Contraband Defense Lawyers

Contraband in a Penal Institution

Introducing or possessing contraband in a prison, jail, or other penal institution is a felony in Tennessee. If you have been charged with this crime, the attorneys at the law offices of Baker Associates can defend your rights under the law.

With years of criminal defense experience, we can help you understand the complex legal issues that arise when charged with this crime. Through diligent and thorough research and investigation, we have often found weaknesses and inconsistencies in the government's case against our clients. Our renowned criminal lawyers have successfully handled many types of criminal cases and will do everything in our power to defend your rights and work toward the best possible outcome.

Introducing Contraband into a Prison or Jail

Introduction of contraband into a penal institution is a felony. To be found guilty of this offense, the state must prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

State v. Rogers illustrates the type of evidence required to prosecute this offense. Immediately upon entering the jail to visit a prisoner, an officer warned the defendant not to enter if he had any contraband in his possession. The defendant proceeded into the jail and upon entering, the officer asked if he could search the defendant. The defendant then handed the officer a bag of marijuana.

Based on these facts, the defendant was convicted of introducing contraband into a penal institution because 1) he entered into the jail, 2) with knowledge of having in his possession a controlled substance (as evidenced by his voluntary handing over of the marijuana to the officer) and 3) with the specific intent to introduce a controlled substance (as evidenced by the warning he received prior to entering the jail).

Possessing Contraband

To be found guilty of possession of contraband, the State must prove all the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

Whether the defendant acted knowingly is often the most difficult element of the state's proof. Juries found knowing possession of contraband in the following two cases. In Bingham, the defendant denied that he acted knowingly when officers found three marijuana cigarettes in his possession. The jury convicted him, however, upon proof that he tried to eat the contraband to avoid detection. In Owens, the jury also found the defendant to have acted knowingly when officers found 3.3 grams of cocaine in the defendant's clinched fists.


The following items under T.C.A. 39-16-201 are listed as contraband.

Consequences and Penalties

Knowing possession of any kind of contraband is a Class C felony. Also, introduction of contraband other than a telecommunication device is a Class C felony. If charged, you are facing between three and fifteen years in jail. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $10,000.

The knowing introduction of a telecommunication device is a Class E felony. A Class E felony carries a charge of no more than six years but not less than one. Fines can be no greater than $3,000.

Protecting the Rights of Our Clients

There are complex and difficult evidentiary and legal issues involved in trying and defending contraband cases in Tennessee. Consequently, you will want an experienced attorney who can competently defend you against these charges.

By engaging in fierce representation and investigation into the legal issues of your case, our lawyers will mount a strong defense against any contraband charges. Do not put your case and quality of life at risk by making the wrong legal choices. Discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at our offices.

Contact a criminal defense lawyer at our offices by completing the form below.

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Knox County
2126 First Tennessee Plaza
800 South Gay Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37929

Phone: (865) 521-0001
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Sevier County
121 Court Avenue
Sevierville, Tennessee 37862

Phone: (865) 546-6000
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Washington County
300 East Main Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37601

TN Contraband Possession Defense Lawyer Disclaimer: The possession of contraband, conspiracy, criminal defense or other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a lawyer at our firm. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of TN.

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