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What is the Impact of Prior Criminal History on Drug Trafficking Charges 

Posted on June 27, 2023 in

A prior criminal history can be impactful on a current conviction and sentencing. For centuries, the court system has sought to punish repeat offenders more harshly, applying more astringent sentences to the repeat offender than the first-time offender for the same crime.

Facing drug trafficking charges in Mount Juliet for a second time can draw harsh penalties. In Tennessee, the law states that courts must consider enhancements in sentencing for repeat offenders. The Mount Juliet defense team at The Law Offices of Christopher Eads, PLLC, will work with you to achieve the best outcome and address any concerns in your case.

The Impact of Prior Charges

Prior criminal convictions that are admissible in a trial can enhance any sentence. Because of the prior conviction’s ability to be so detrimental to a defendant’s case, permitting this evidence may not be allowed unless the conviction occurred less than ten years ago, and it may depend on the type of conviction whether or not it is permitted.


There are a couple of ways that a prior criminal history can influence current drug trafficking charges. These factors are crucial to consider when approaching any trial.

Criminal History’s Impact on a Trial

As the defendant, you may insist it is necessary to testify on your behalf to clear yourself from charges or prove that the accusations against you are more severe than the crime. When a defendant takes the stand on their behalf, the jury or judge will have permission to examine evidence of prior improper acts, using this information to determine if the defendant is trustworthy. Exploring any evidence that calls into question your trustworthiness can tremendously impact drug trafficking charges, particularly if the jury feels there is a pattern in behaviors. 

Because of the prejudicial effects of the prior charges, a judge must weigh the consequences. In deciding to allow previous conviction evidence, a judge will look at the factors in that conviction.

  •  How long ago did the prior conviction occur?
  • How old was the defendant when charged with the crime?
  • Was prison time part of the sentencing, and for how long?
  • Has the defendant’s conduct changed since the prior conviction?
  • How critical is the defendant’s testimony to the current case?

Navigating the impacts of a prior criminal history on drug charges requires the experience of a drug crimes defense attorney to weigh the options and determine the gravity of all decisions during a trial.

Criminal History’s Impact on Sentencing

During the sentencing phase in a Tennessee trial, a judge can review prior criminal charges and consider sentencing enhancement. A judge will determine if the defendant is a repeat offender. Tennessee law defines a habitual drug offender as someone with at least three prior class A or class B felony drug convictions occurring in separate incidents. 

Any prior convictions, especially if the charges were drug-related, can increase the current sentence and any fines related to the indictment. The charge can only be inflated in range by one higher-class offense.

Mount Juliet Drug Trafficking Defense

The severity of your punishment for repeat drug trafficking charges in Tennessee may rest on the defense that is provided against those charges. The drug crime defense team at The Law Offices of Christopher Eads is a trusted source for quality representation.

A drug conviction can impact every aspect of your life. Our guidance and aggressive advocacy are unmatchable in criminal defense.