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Blount County reckless homicide defense attorney

As in every state across the country, murder is considered one of the most serious crimes that a person can commit in Tennessee. When people hear the term murder, they often imagine one person killing the other out of spite or in a violent manner. While this can be the case, there are many other ways that someone can kill another – and the law recognizes this. Tennessee legislation identifies six distinct forms of homicide to show that not all crimes are equal, and neither are their consequences. If you are facing any type of homicide charge, a skilled criminal defense attorney can use these various classifications to your advantage to determine how charges may be reduced or even dismissed altogether. Understanding the various charges is a good first step in formulating a strong defense strategy.

Homicide Classifications in Tennessee

  1. First-Degree Murder: This form of murder refers to the premeditated and intentional killing of another person. In other words, someone must have thought about killing the individual and intentionally done so to have committed first-degree murder. This is the most serious charge that one can receive, resulting in the death penalty or life imprisonment with or without parole.

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Blount County criminal charges defenses attorney

Orders of protection, more commonly known as restraining orders, are meant to provide safety for victims of domestic violence or abuse, and they are not taken lightly. Although a restraining order may just look like a piece of paper, those who violate these orders will face serious legal consequences, and alleged offenders should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The best way to avoid these harsh consequences is to understand what may be included in a Tennessee order of protection.

Who Qualifies for an Order of Protection?

As is true of any legal process, an individual filing for an order of protection must have a valid reason for doing so. Those who simply dislike another person and wish to avoid them do not have a valid stance for a restraining order. Tennessee allows victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking to apply for an order of protection. Those who claim to be victims of domestic abuse must have a familial, romantic, or residential relationship with the alleged perpetrator. This is not a requirement for those who have been victims of sexual abuse or stalking.

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Union County drug charges defense attorney

State policies regarding marijuana have been under deliberation throughout the United States for the past decade. With many states legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use, Tennessee is one of the few states that has made little progress on the matter, aside from its farming population. In 2018, the hemp growing industry was legalized federally, meaning licensed farmers can grow this crop. Opening up this industry to Tennessee farmers has made the state one of the leading producers in the country. According to a USA Today report, Tennessee has seen a 1,581 percent increase of hemp farmers throughout the state, with 3,800 registered growers as of November 1, 2019. These farmers are licensed to grow up to 51,000 acres of hemp throughout Tennessee, which equates to approximately 10 percent of all of the licensed acreage in the United States. New federal regulations have been released for those participating in the 2020 planting season, and with Tennessee’s high percentage of participation, it is important that state farmers and consumers understand the rules being established to avoid facing drug charges.

Details of the Regulations

On Oct. 31, 2019, the USDA released draft regulations that apply to hemp farmers nationwide. These changes focus specifically on the testing protocols used for the crop. Farmers may be able to grow the same plant that produces marijuana; however, regulations remain in place to limit the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in the plant. THC is the psychoactive component found in hemp that causes the “high” that legislators continue to ban in Tennessee. According to these recent regulations, farmers will be deemed negligent if the THC content present in their crops reaches 0.5 percent, since the legal limit is 0.3 percent. If these crops continue to reach higher levels of concentration for multiple years, the grower risks having his or her license suspended. These “draft rules” will act as a guide for the 2020 growing season, and the final rules will be established in November 2021.

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Anderson County juvenile defense attorney

It is fairly well-known that the legal drinking age is 21, making the consumption of alcohol for anyone under this age limit illegal. This has been the legal drinking age in the United States since 1984, when President Reagan signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, increasing the legal age from 18 to 21. Since this age limit exists, there are numerous other criminal charges that can be tied to underage drinking. It is important to understand the possible charges that your child may be facing to ensure that you can address these issues and determine the best strategies for defense.

The Various Offenses in Detail

Minors and alcohol are a bad mix, especially in the eyes of the law. What many teens fail to recognize is that they can face legal consequences even if they are not the ones drinking. The following are some of the charges Tennessee minors can face when alcohol is involved:

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Blount County murder charges defense attorney

Most states have laws that exempt those who injure or kill someone from prosecution if they did so in self-defense. Tennessee is one of these states, and it is important for all of the state's residents to know the details of these laws in case they ever fear for their own safety. For anyone facing charges of murder, it is important to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney who has a detailed understanding of the applicable laws regarding self-defense. 

Standing Your Ground in Tennessee

“Stand your ground” laws are some of the most common forms of self-defense legislation implemented throughout the United States. Under these laws, individuals are allowed to use deadly force for self-defense if they fear that they are in imminent danger of serious injury or death by another person. Some state laws include a "duty to retreat," in which a person is required to attempt to retreat or run away from an alleged attacker before they are allowed to resort to deadly force in their own defense. However, Tennessee is not one of these states. In Tennessee, if someone enters your home, property, motor vehicle, or a hotel room that you are occupying, you are legally allowed to defend yourself, and you do not need to attempt to retreat before doing so. Experiencing “imminent fear” is one of the only requirements for using deadly force under the state's “stand your ground” law.

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Anderson County drug crimes defense attorney

Drug charges are very common throughout the United States, and Tennessee is no exception. With 80 percent of Tennessee crimes being related to drugs, the state takes drug charges seriously for all offenders. Like all other crimes, those involving drugs are measured on a scale depending on the situation. In other words, some drugs and actions lead to harsher consequences than others. The public may be warned against drug use; however, the legal consequences for controlled substances are not always explained well. This can leave many people unprepared when facing drug charges.

Tennessee Drug Schedules

Controlled substances, also known as drugs, have different levels of effects, making some more dangerous than others. The government analyzes these “danger levels” and creates a hierarchy of charges. This list of controlled substances and their consequences are known as "drug schedules." The federal government classifies all controlled substances into categories to create general drug schedules; however, states often adjust these schedules. Tennessee has seven schedules that rank these substances, with the most serious drugs in the first schedule:

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Anderson County drunk driving defense attorney

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime, regardless of where you live in the United States. Driving with a substantial amount of alcohol in one's system impairs a driver's ability to drive in a safe manner due to delayed response times and altered senses. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there have been 68,886 alcohol-related traffic crashes since 2009 -- and this is just in Tennessee. The law has limited the amount of alcohol legally allowed in a person’s system for this very reason. 

How Much Alcohol Is Considered Illegal?

Those with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more are above this “legal limit” in Tennessee. This number is abstract to most, making it difficult to “calculate” what your BAC is before getting behind the wheel. It is impossible to give an exact formula, since all body types are different. However, one can estimate that for every one drink, your BAC increases by about .02 percent. In other words, many people reach their driving limit at four or five drinks.

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Blount County sex crimes defense attorney

The evolution of technology has provided the world with many benefits that facilitate communication regardless of one's location. People can reach each other through many means of communication, allowing them to stay in touch and be connected in a different way than ever before. Despite the advantages that come from such technological advancements, there are many dangers that have also emerged, some of which are considered crimes. Crimes involving technology are very common among juveniles, leading to life-altering legal consequences.

What Is “Sexting”?

The term “sexting” is a slang word used to describe the act of sending sexually explicit messages to another person. This can include photos and videos that contain nudity and/or show sexual acts. Text messages that discuss or suggest sexual acts are also considered sexting. Since many children and most teens have cell phones, this legal issue has exploded in the last decade.

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Union County sex crimes defense attorney

It is no secret that sex offenders can lose many rights if convicted of a crime. This is especially true of those who have been found guilty of a sex crime against a minor. While all offenses are recorded and become part of the public domain, sex offenders have a separate “registry” that is easily accessible and can ruin the offender’s future in many ways. Recent Tennessee legislation is making the legal consequences for sex offenders even harsher, possibly kicking them out of their own homes.

What Is the New Law?

This past May, Senate Bill 425 went into effect after Tennessee state senator Joey Hensley introduced the bill. Among other things, the law banishes those convicted of a sex offense against a minor (under the age of 12) from their home if they have a child living there. This was signed into law by Governor Bill Lee on May 10. Those who fall under the qualifications were notified that they had until July 1 to move out of their home, or they could face possible arrest or prosecution. This law was created to mirror similar legislation in Alabama.

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Anderson County traffic ticket defense lawyer

As a driver, seeing red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror is never a good feeling. The officer comes to your window, tells you what you did wrong, and usually writes you an expensive ticket. This can create a dent in your bank account and cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket. What many do not realize is that paying the ticket does not make the violation disappear. Like many other states, Tennessee utilizes a “point system” to track driving violations and keep drivers in check. 

What Is the “Point System?”

As indicated by the name, the point system adds penalty points to a person’s driver’s license and record with every violation. These points accumulate over time and can lead to bigger consequences than a high-dollar ticket. The value of demerit points is dependent upon the severity of the violation. More serious violations will result in more points and thus, harsher legal consequences. Drivers who accumulate 12 or more points in a single year will have their license suspended for 6 to 12 months. In other words, there is a chance that those who regularly do not follow the rules of the road could lose their driving privileges. 

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Union County theft charges defense lawyer

When someone thinks of theft, he or she might imagine someone taking an item off a shelf or an individual breaking into a home to take another person’s belongings. Both are forms of theft; however, this crime and the charges associated with it include more than just these two descriptions. All crimes involving theft are known as property crimes and the two that often get confused are burglary and robbery. While they may look synonymous on television, the two offenses are defined differently by Tennessee legislation.

What Is Burglary?

All criminal offenses have classifications that must be met in order to be charged with that particular offense and burglary is no exception. Acts that include the following criteria are classified as burglary in Tennessee:

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Blount County gun charges defense attorney

Like many other states, Tennessee has made changes to its gun laws--more specifically, its concealed carry law. What sets Tennessee apart from many other states is that rather than tightening its legislation regarding concealed carry, Tennessee is fighting to protect its residents’ Second Amendment rights. Recent legislation has changed the state’s previous rules regarding concealed carry. Changes to gun laws can cause confusion or misunderstanding for Tennessee residents, resulting in potential weapons charges that have serious consequences.

What Are the General Firearm Laws in Tennessee?

Tennessee is known as a “shall issue” state when it comes to concealed weapons permits. In other words, if an applicant has the basic requirements set by the state law, the issuing authority is compelled to issue a permit. Tennessee is not alone: 41 other states have followed suit. Purchasing a handgun from a private individual does not require a permit, a background check, or a firearms registration. If a gun is not loaded, and the ammunition is not immediately nearby, open carry is legal with or without a permit. However, the state prohibits the possession of a firearm “with the intent to go armed,” and an individual must be at least 18 years old to do so. Of course, there are certain locations where carrying a firearm is off-limits, such as schools and government buildings.

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Union County asset seizure attorney

If someone commits a crime and is convicted of that crime, he or she will face legal consequences. Depending on the severity of the offense, the penalties can consist of large fines or prison time. Law enforcement also utilizes another consequence known as property seizure or asset forfeiture. Property or assets can include vehicles, money, real estate property, and other miscellaneous items. There are various situations that warrant asset forfeiture, and the process is more complicated than simply taking an item from someone.

Why Is Property Seized?

The purpose of property seizure is to take away assets that were obtained through illegal means. This allows law enforcement to remove the proceeds of alleged criminals’ unlawful enterprises, and the seized assets are often used to help fund law enforcement’s future efforts. According to Tennessee legislation, property can be seized if someone is suspected of possessing narcotics (prescription or illegal). Vehicles may also be seized if someone is charged with various driving offenses, including driving on a license that has been revoked for driving under the influence (DUI) and for a second or subsequent DUI offense that occurred within a five-year period. 

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Anderson County college crime defense lawyer

With over 75 four-year colleges and universities in the state, Tennessee has thousands of college students. It is very common for students to test their limits, since they are experiencing their first taste of freedom from the rules and discipline of their parents. Crimes committed while in college can be accidental if students are not from the state in which their university is located and are unfamiliar with the state’s laws. For instance, a young adult from Colorado who smokes marijuana may not realize that all forms of cannabis intake are illegal in Tennessee. Students can avoid accidentally making a costly mistake by familiarizing themselves with the laws of the state in which their college is located.

Criminal Charges for College Students

There are some crimes that college students tend to be accused of, no matter the state in which their school is located. Some common crimes that college students may be charged with include:

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Knoxville, TN drug crimes defense attorney

Laws regarding cannabis, or marijuana, have changed dramatically from state to state. States like Colorado were at the forefront of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana usage, whereas some states consider all forms of this drug’s use illegal. Tennessee lawmakers received a proposal in April of 2019 that formulated a plan to legalize and regulate medical marijuana in that state.

The bill, known as the Tennessee Agricultural Medicine Act, would have allowed for the issuing of licenses to medical marijuana businesses and registration cards to patients. A medical diagnosis would have been required for patients to purchase the drug, and these patients would have been added to a registry that is accessible by law enforcement officers. Not all forms of marijuana would have been legal to Tennessee residents. Patients would have been allowed to consume the drug in an edible form or through “vaping;” however, smoking marijuana would have remained illegal. Despite many other states’ legalization of cannabis, the Tennessee bill did not have enough support to pass and is being delayed until 2020.

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Knoxville stalking charges defense lawyer

Stalking has taken on a variety of forms, especially with the emergence of social media. Stalking used to be just physical, but now it can take on digital forms as well. While you may have seen versions of stalking on television and in the movies, these are usually not an accurate depiction of the reality of stalking. The act of stalking can be as dramatic as the TV shows, but it is typically more reserved and secretive. The state of Tennessee describes three levels of stalking to omit any discrepancies that may exist.

Definition of Stalking

According to Tennessee law, stalking is defined as “a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continued harassment of another individual that would cause and actually did cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.” This definition is long and detailed to recognize all possible offenses. The act is a Class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders but becomes a Class E felony if the stalker is registered as a sexual offender at the time of the incident. Class A misdemeanors may require less than a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500. Class E felonies can result in one to six years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $3,000.

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Knoxville identity theft defense lawyer

Identity theft continues to be an issue for many people even with security measures in place. This kind of theft can range from a few fraudulent charges on a stolen credit card or a total theft of identity by pretending to be someone who they are not. There are two different types of identity theft, financial and criminal. Both, obviously, are illegal, and a perpetrator can end up facing criminal charges. If you are charged with any type of identity theft, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable attorney to understand your options for defense.  

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when a person gains access to someone else’s financial information and uses credit card, bank account, and/or personal identification numbers to make purchases. The records could be stolen through a variety of means, such as hacking into a financial institution’s computer system, using a device called a skimmer at a gas pump, or digging through a person’s trash to find statements and other personal information. Many credit card companies and banks have fraud alerts that may catch unusual activity on their customers’ accounts.

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Knox County DUI lawyer

Driving while under the influence of alcohol can result in serious consequences, but so can driving while impaired by marijuana, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, or other narcotics. In Tennessee, anyone who drives a motor vehicle has automatically given legal consent to be tested for drugs, alcohol, or both. Drivers always have the option to refuse a test, but that will be treated in much the same way as if the driver had submitted to the test and failed. 

DUI is taken very seriously by law enforcement and the courts of Tennessee. If you stand accused of drugged driving, it is essential you enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight for you.

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Knoxville federal criminal defense attorneyNational parks are meant for everyone to enjoy, and there are a number of rules and regulations in place to help ensure safety for visitors and wildlife alike. Although there are probably many laws that not everyone is familiar with, they are still regularly enforced. If you have been accused of a federal crime in one of the national parks in Tennessee, you will need a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through your rights and options for defense.

What Violations Can I Face in a National Park?

One of the biggest issues in national parks is the use of alcohol. Although alcoholic beverages are allowed in certain picnic areas, campgrounds, and shelters, open containers of alcohol are prohibited elsewhere throughout the parks. Lack of awareness and/or respect for this rule can result in criminal charges.

In addition, drunk driving is not acceptable, and it can be especially dangerous in national parks, since many of the parks’ roads are narrow and winding, and there are typically many other drivers on the road. There are quite a few alcohol-related deaths in the parks each year, and DUI is taken very seriously.

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Knoxville DUI defense lawyerWhile drunk driving is the most common type of DUI faced by Tennessee drivers, a driver can also face criminal charges for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, including marijuana, prescription drugs, or other substances. If you have been accused of driving while impaired, an experienced attorney can help you understand your options for defense and work to have your charges or penalties reduced or dismissed.

How Is Intoxication or Impairment Determined?

In many cases, a person suspected of DUI is pulled over because they were driving erratically. In other cases, a driver may be stopped at a checkpoint, or they may have their blood alcohol tested after getting into an accident. No matter how it comes about, a driver can face some very serious consequences when charged with a DUI. However, a police officer must have probable cause before pulling a driver over, and simply saying that a driver seems to be under the influence is not enough to hold up in court. 

After being arrested for DUI, a driver will typically be subjected to alcohol and/or drug testing. In many cases, either a blood or urine sample will be taken and tested. This type of sample may be collected by any medical professional. Although there will be a legal test administered, the accused party also has the right to have an independent blood or urine sample tested by a licensed medical laboratory of his or her choice.

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