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knoxville bui lawyerThe “official” start of summer is just weeks away and Knox County residents are busy making their summer plans. Included in many people’s plans are boating and personal watercraft activities. However, there is often alcohol consumption involved in those activities, and that consumption can result in the day ending in a boating under the influence (BUI) charge. A new BUI law was recently signed into law by the governor that now aligns penalties for BUI with the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee.

State Offense

In Tennessee, just as in most states, the laws for drinking and operating a boat are similar to drinking and driving a vehicle. Any boat operator who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more is considered over the legal limit and can be charged with BUI.

If you are charged with a BUI in Tennessee, it will typically be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for conviction are:

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Union County federal criminal defense attorney for tax fraudThe deadline for filing 2020 income tax returns has just passed after the IRS extended this year’s date from April 15th to May 17th. While no one likes to pay taxes, federal law mandates who is and who is not required to pay federal income tax. Failure to report income and pay the taxes owed to the IRS can end up landing a person in prison on federal charges for tax fraud or tax avoidance. This is what happened recently to one Memphis, TN businessman.

Failure to Report

According to details released by the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Tennessee, the 38-year-old man in this case failed to report most of the income he derived from a tax service company on his 2012 federal income tax return. Last month, a federal judge sentenced the man to eight months in federal prison, followed by seven months of home detention. He will also be required to serve one year of supervised release once his 15 months of in-custody time is completed. The man is also required to pay the IRS $124,000 in restitution.

The IRS can charge a person (or business) with tax fraud if they “willfully and intentionally” falsify tax return information in order to avoid or limit the amount they are required to pay in income taxes. Some of the reasons the IRS may cite as proof of tax fraud include:

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Anderson County criminal defense attorney for marijuana possessionThere are currently 36 states in this country that have passed laws that regulate cannabis for medical use. Tennessee is not included in that list of states, and a bill that would have decriminalized medical marijuana was narrowly defeated – 9 to 8 – by a Tennessee House committee last week. If passed, the law would have allowed people with certain medical conditions, upon approval by their doctor, to possess a limited amount of marijuana products without being charged for drug possession. The lawmakers who sponsored the bill say they are not giving up, despite statements by Gov. Bill Lee that he is opposed to any cannabis legalization, including for medical use.

Tennessee Marijuana Laws

According to polls conducted in the state, more than 80 percent of Tennessee voters support the right for patients and their doctors to be able to decide if medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment. Despite that overwhelming support, marijuana use remains illegal for both medical use and recreational use in the state.

Possession of any amount of marijuana is charged as a misdemeanor in the state. A conviction can mean up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. In 2016, both Memphis and Nashville passed local ordinances that gave law enforcement the discretion to charge a person with a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor if they had a small amount of marijuana on them. The then-governor and state legislators quickly passed a law that repealed those ordinances.

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Blount County criminal defense attorney for DUIA Tennessee DUI conviction can lead to harsh consequences. Even a first offense conviction results in mandatory jail time. Under Tennessee law, anyone who is operating a vehicle and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher can be found guilty of driving under the influence. Not only can a conviction result in the loss of driving privileges, but it can also have a significant impact on all areas of a person’s life, both personally and professionally. Anyone who has been arrested for DUI should contact a Knoxville criminal defense attorney immediately.

DUI First Offense

Under current law, a driver convicted of a first-offense DUI faces between 48 hours and 11 and 29 days months of mandatory jail time. Their license will be revoked for one year and they will be required by the court to participate in an alcohol and drug treatment program. They will also be required to pay a fine of between $350 and $1,500. When their license is finally reinstated, they will be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed at their own expense.

DUI Second Offense

A second-offense DUI conviction results in a minimum of 45 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail and fines of between $600 and $3,500. A loss of license will last for two years. A person must also attend an alcohol and drug treatment program and have an Ignition Interlock Device installed. The court may also order the seizure or forfeiture of their vehicle.

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Anderson County gun charges attorneyThe governor of Tennessee has just signed a new law that will allow adults to carry handguns without the need for training or a background check. They will not be required to obtain a permit for either open carry or concealed carry. There are currently 30 states that allow permitless open carry and 20 states that allow permitless concealed carry. At least a half dozen other states are considering similar legislation. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2021.

New Law

Under the new law, any adult 21 years of age or older will be allowed to carry either an open or concealed handgun without a permit. The law will also allow military members who are between the ages of 18 to 20 the same right. The current law requires Tennessee citizens to obtain a permit in order to carry a handgun. In order to get that permit, the applicant must go through required training, background checks, and fingerprinting. None of that will be necessary under the new law. The new law only applies to handguns. Permits will still be required for long guns.

While the new law does make it easier for adults to carry handguns, it also increases the penalties for certain gun crimes. For example, the theft of a firearm, which is currently charged as a misdemeanor, will now be charged as a felony. That means the penalty for conviction goes from a potential maximum 30-day sentence to a mandatory six-month jail sentence with no possibility of early release.

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Blount County sexual assault defense lawyerThere are many different ways that non-consensual sexual acts can be charged under Tennessee law. Some of the most common crimes are rape and sexual battery. Cases involving aggravating factors, such as brandishing a weapon to rape or committing assault against a child, carry much more severe punishments. Even if a child or a teenager claims to consent to a sexual act, it may still be considered illegal in the state of Tennessee. This is generally classified as statutory rape. If an unmarried female who is under the age of 18 is pregnant, and the presumed father of the child is more than four years older than her, an attending physician is expected to tell the authorities about the situation with the patient’s (or her parents’) consent. In some cases, however, a person may be charged with sexual assault based on false allegations. 

Understanding How Sex Crimes Are Defined in Tennessee

Rape is defined as sexual penetration of a victim using force or coercion (such as threatening violence or kidnapping) or without the victim’s consent when the defendant is aware of the lack of consent. It can also be charged when the defendant knows the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated. 

The offense of sexual battery is sexual contact (intentionally touching another person’s intimate parts, even with clothing on, for sexual gratification or arousal) using force, coercion, or without the victim’s consent, or in situations where the defendant knows the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated. A person may also be charged with sexual battery if an act of sexual contact was accomplished by fraud.

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Union County forgery charges defense lawyerYou may have heard the term “forgery” before and associated it with a white collar crimeForgery is defined as the act of creating or altering a form of writing, therefore making it false and fraudulent. According to Tennessee law, it is illegal to forge a writing with the purpose of committing fraud against someone else. Whether an individual forged something intentionally or accidentally, this type of charge can carry significant penalties if a person is convicted, including jail time. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help those facing these serious charges build a strong defense to avoid a conviction.  

Understanding Actions that Can Lead to Forgery Charges

The state of Tennessee defines forging as creating, altering, completing, executing, or authenticating something in writing to make it look like it was:

  • Created or executed by a person who did not authorize such an action.

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Anderson County federal criminal defense attorneyBeing charged with a criminal offense can result in serious consequences. A person can face costly fines, loss of driving privileges or professional licenses, and a lifetime behind bars, depending on the severity of the crime. There are certain crimes that warrant charges at both the state and federal levels. Federal agencies often have more resources available to investigate alleged crimes, and they take their time gathering important evidence to support their claims. That is why it is imperative that anyone facing federal charges for racketeering or conspiracy seek professional legal assistance as soon as possible. 

What Is Racketeering?

Racketeering may be committed at the state or federal level. Racketeering can refer to the act of acquiring a business, organization, or company through illegal activity; operating a business with illegally obtained income; or using a business operation to commit illegal acts. Federal crimes of racketeering may include the following offenses:

Union County auto theft charges lawyerMotor vehicle theft is a serious crime in Tennessee, and it can involve more than just stealing a car. ATVs, motorcycles, and snowmobiles all fall under the category of motorized vehicles. A conviction for this type of charge can carry serious punishments, such as jail time, fines, and probation. In addition, it will appear on a person’s criminal record, which can directly impact his or her ability to secure employment or housing. 

In some cases, an individual may face these types of charges after unknowingly purchasing a stolen vehicle. For example, a car may be bought through a third party who is trying to deceive the buyer. The prosecution has the burden of proving intent, or that a person knowingly purchased a stolen vehicle. Regardless of the details, all Tennessee drivers should understand the laws and what constitutes vehicle theft in case they ever find themselves unintentionally involved in a crime. 

Different Types of Auto Theft 

Auto theft charges can vary depending on the circumstances. “Joyriding” refers to taking someone else’s vehicle for a ride without permission but not intending to keep or sell it. This act can result in Class A misdemeanor charges. Carjacking, however, is a more serious offense, since it involves using force against a person to take a vehicle. This can be charged as a Class B felony.    

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Anderson County federal counterfeiting charges lawyerAny criminal offense can carry significant punishments if someone is convicted. However, federal crimes tend to be prosecuted more severely, often resulting in longer jail sentences. Common crimes charged at the federal level may include drug trafficking, fraud, counterfeiting, racketeering, and conspiracy. Although counterfeiting crimes have decreased by over 37 percent since 2015, they can still carry stiff consequences. Counterfeit goods or services come from a legitimate source, but they are actually unauthorized reproductions. If you or someone you know is facing federal criminal charges for counterfeiting, it is important to understand your rights while building a strong defense. 

Anti-Counterfeiting Laws

Federal lawmakers passed the first anti-counterfeiting laws in 1790 to protect unsuspecting consumers as well as the government. Since that time, Congress has introduced new legislation as counterfeiting tools and techniques have become more advanced and sophisticated. Although the crime of counterfeiting typically involves creating and producing fraudulent goods or documents, it may also mean using, possessing, or altering legitimate items. 

A few of the most common types of products that can come in counterfeit form include:

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Blount County sex crimes attorney for child porn chargesBeing charged with any type of crime should not be taken lightly. Depending on the severity of the offense, the penalties can range from costly fines to significant jail time. Sex crimes, especially those committed against children, often carry harsher punishments if convicted. In Tennessee, these offenses can include child abuse, sexual assault, and child pornography. For anyone facing charges for this type of offense, it is important to seek skilled legal representation. Besides demonstrating that the alleged offenses did not occur, it may be possible to defend against these charges by demonstrating a lack of intent, meaning the person who was allegedly in possession of child pornography did not know the materials involved a minor. An experienced criminal defense attorney can carefully review the circumstances of the case and make sure a defendant’s rights are protected throughout the proceedings.  

What Is Child Pornography?

Pornography is defined as the explicit description or display of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. Child pornography includes any pornographic material in which children are exploited for sexual stimulation. It may involve the direct sexual assault of a child, or images or sexual acts may be simulated. Child pornography may be viewed through different mediums, including books, magazines, photographs, drawings, paintings, animation, audio recordings, and videos. It may be created for profit or for other reasons.  

Child pornography is the depiction of offensive sexual activity involving a minor such as:

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Union County criminal defense attorney

This past year has been turbulent, to say the least. With an international pandemic, racial turmoil and protests, and the 2020 presidential election all occurring in the last 12 months, many are looking forward to the start of the new year. This includes legislators who have been filing 2021 bills over the past few months. The subjects that these bills cover include a wide range, but many are in response to this past year’s events. 2020’s record of looting and destroyed property in cities across the country has one Tennessee lawmaker looking for loosened restrictions when it comes to self-defense and citizens’ responses to property crimes.

House Bill 11

The current Tennessee law regarding self-defense is clear: Deadly force for the purpose of self-defense is only legal if you fear for your life or someone else’s. For those who are victims of property crimes, in other words, someone is stealing or damaging their belongings, using deadly force against the perpetrator is considered a felony. While widening these restrictions may not have been on legislators’ minds in the previous sessions, the infamous looting and significant property damage that occurred throughout 2020 has one lawmaker looking for a change.

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Knox County criminal defense attorney drug possession

If you are a parent, you know that it is far from uncommon for teens to push the limits. Their desire for independence can lead them to defy your rules, any regulations set by their high school, and even legal limits that apply to all Americans. Testing the limits is not always a bad thing, but when drugs and alcohol are involved, things can quickly take a turn for the worse. For those who are at the legal drinking age, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent. For those under 21, Tennessee law enforcement has no tolerance for a BAC over zero. Unfortunately, many teens will get behind the wheel after drinking or doing drugs, assuming that they are OK to drive, but then they end up facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges. Such penalties often lead to losing your driver’s license, but what about other drug or alcohol violations that were not committed while driving?

Drug Free Youth Act Offenses

For those between the ages of 13 and 17, the Tennessee Drug Free Youth Act allows a court to limit your driving privileges if the minor faces any form of drug charges—even those not committed while driving. This includes any criminal offenses, violations, status offenses, or infractions that involve the possession, sale, use, or consumption of any controlled substance. The severity of the penalties correlates with the number of offenses that the minor has on his or her record.

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Knox County criminal defense attorney reckless homicide

While it may seem like an excuse, there is something to say about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The words “murder” and “homicide” raise immediate red flags, often bringing gun violence to mind in this day and age. However, what if you caused a car accident and the other driver’s injuries were fatal? Or perhaps a weapon malfunction while hunting led to your friend’s death? These are two examples of unintentionally causing the death of another person, also known as involuntary manslaughter. The state of Tennessee recognizes that not all deaths, or crimes, are one in the same, and the law reflects this by dividing involuntary manslaughter charges into three separate criminal categories.

Reckless and Criminally Negligent Homicide

Although these two are technically separate charges, the legal descriptions are fairly similar. The state loosely defines criminal negligence and reckless homicide in order to leave room for a number of criminal behaviors to fall within these categories. Reckless homicide occurs when a person is aware of the risks of serious injury or death that their actions pose to the other person, but he or she continues to act and the other person dies as a result. A common example of this is the accidental discharging of a firearm. A more rare occurrence is playing a dangerous game like Russian roulette, where both parties are aware of the potential risks, and one of the individuals dies in the process. 

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Blount County criminal defense attorney drug crimes

In the past decade, the legal restrictions surrounding marijuana have shifted on a state-by-state basis. These variations of the law include the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes as well as the decriminalization of marijuana for those who have previously faced charges. Depending on where you live, you may have free reign, or you could still face stiff restrictions for drug possession. Tennessee is one of seven states that is still standing as a stronghold against all forms of legalization. One state senator, however, is using her voice to stand up for those who are in need of the benefits of medical marijuana.

State Senator Advocates for the Sick

As Tennessee’s surrounding states begin to loosen their marijuana regulations, many Tennesseans are wondering when their state will follow suit. Republican State Senator Janice Bowling has supported the movement to legalize medical marijuana for years, and she intends on taking action again this winter. According to reports from WREG, Sen. Bowling plans on introducing a new medical marijuana bill when lawmakers reconvene at the start of the new year. 

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Anderson County criminal defense attorney juvenile crime

Finding out that your child has broken the law and is facing criminal charges for his or her mistake is a difficult pill for parents to swallow. You are likely feeling a combination of emotions—anger and disappointment in your child, concern for his or her future, as well as confusion regarding how the Tennessee court system works for minors. If your child is facing juvenile charges and this is your first time dealing with the Tennessee court system, you may be bursting with questions about how the legal process will work and where your child will end up afterward. It is always advisable to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the juvenile court system before taking any further action, but we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to inform you about the process moving forward.

  1. Is a juvenile hearing just like an adult trial? The short answer to this question is no. While the legal process will still occur in a courtroom in front of a judge and both juveniles and adults have the right to an attorney, juveniles have certain rights that adult offenders do not. For instance, juveniles have a level of confidentiality to their records that adults are not given. Alternatively, juveniles are not allowed a jury trial or the opportunity for bail. 

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Union County criminal defense attorney traffic violation

Driving in Tennessee can be an adventure, and the state is often a stop on family road trips. With the mountains, lakes, and national parks, Tennessee is a travel hotspot throughout the year. As a vacationer, it is important to be familiar with the state’s traffic laws to avoid receiving a violation ticket while visiting. A traffic ticket may not seem like a big deal, but as a visitor of the state, you would be required to pay any fines or attend any court dates within the state you received the ticket. In other words, if you are pulled over in Tennessee but live hours away, you could be required to make the road trip for a second time to address the traffic violation in that state. Below are five traffic safety laws that you should be aware of while visiting Tennessee:

  1. Texting and Driving: By this time, most states have outlawed texting and driving, so this law is likely not new to you. Be wary, however, of using your phone for GPS purposes as this can also be considered distracted driving and lead to a ticket. Always have your passenger handle directions or communication with your phone while you are driving.

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Union County criminal defense attorney stalking

With texting, calling, and social media profiles available at the touch of a button, it has never been easier to find someone’s information and continue contacting them over a number of platforms. What may have been considered harassment or stalking 10 years ago has now escalated to include digital outreach. You have likely heard the term “Facebook stalking” or other versions of looking at someone’s public information online. While this term may poke fun at browsing through a person’s social media content, it can be considered a crime if taken too far. 

The Legal Definition of Harassment

There are a number of threatening actions that are considered harassment by Tennessee law. According to Tennessee law, a person who intentionally does the following is committing the criminal offense of harassment:

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Knox County criminal defense attorney drug charges

Drug use often begins as a party tool at a young age and quickly transitions into full force addiction as time goes by. As of late, Tennessee’s district attorneys general have recognized the danger of fentanyl along with its recent resurgence in popularity, and are taking action to educate teens about this illegal substance. Because some controlled substances are more potent and dangerous than others, Tennessee divides these drugs into categories known as schedules, each of which increases in the severity of charge and consequence. Since many teens are unaware of the physical and legal consequences of fentanyl, a high number of Tennessee minors are getting involved with this substance and facing criminal drug charges as a result.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is steadily climbing its way to becoming the most dangerous drug in America. The United States has seen a significant rise in opioid usage, known as the opioid epidemic, and Tennessee is no exception. According to a report in The Tennessean, over 9,100 people in Tennessee have died of drug overdoses between 2013 and 2018, and over 70 percent of these deaths were partially caused by opioids, including fentanyl. 

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Knoxville, TN criminal defense attorney domestic violence

Since March, Americans have been asked to stay home as much as possible and wear masks and practice social distancing in public. Like many states, Tennessee enacted a stay-at-home order in response to the impending threat of COVID-19. Tennessee alone has had 123,489 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the virus first came to the United States six months ago. In order to address these high numbers and a lack of vaccinations, Tennessee Gov. Lee has extended its State of Emergency orders to keep Tennesseans out of public spaces and in the safety of their own homes. To some, this safety is even more sparse under their own roof. With more and more people staying in closed quarters, Tennessee has seen an increase in domestic violence against partners, spouses, and children. With domestic violence numbers on the uptick, working with a reputable criminal defense attorney has never been more important.

Domestic Abuse Reports in Tennessee

Close-quarters and a reduced chance of physical abuse marks being seen in public have led to another epidemic that is happening behind closed doors. According to reports from the Tennessean newspaper, one domestic violence hotline saw a 31 percent increase between March 1-30 in the number of calls received when compared to the previous year. Calls to hotlines are not the only evidence of this rise in domestic violence. Chattanooga itself saw a 24 percent increase in domestic violence reports to police during this same time period. Living under one roof is not the only reason for this change in numbers. Recent studies have shown that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger, and substance abuse has increased as a result of the mandatory quarantine. Mental health difficulties can transform into physical abuse that is inflicted on those who are in close proximity.

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