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Knox County criminal defense attorney DUI

Universities and colleges have always been known for their parties and easy access to alcohol. Aside from the higher education that these academic institutions provide students, they also present many young adults with their first opportunity to live away from home. This opportunity of growth is important for those on the verge of adulthood, but it can also lead many students down the wrong path. Despite what movies or TV shows may show, the legal drinking age restriction of 21 still applies to college students. However, easy access to alcohol leads many students to believe that they are invincible. The following alcohol-related offenses are common on Tennessee college campuses, leaving many students with criminal charges on their record and in many cases, additional consequences from the university.

Possession and Consumption

With house parties on every street corner and tailgates occurring on a weekly basis, college students have numerous opportunities to get their hands on alcohol and drink it without their parents’ watchful eyes. Just a few drinks in and students can quickly forget about campus police that patrol the streets looking for intoxicated, underage students. Possession and consumption of alcohol are both illegal for those under the age of 21. So, if a student is found walking around campus, sober, carrying a pack of beer, he or she can still face criminal charges. Those students who are found drinking underage in Tennessee can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, carrying 11 months of jail time, community service, fees, and having their driver’s license revoked. 

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Knox County criminal defense attorney DUI

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a frighteningly common offense that many Tennesseeans have on their record. Across the country, states have instilled a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to ensure that drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol are not too intoxicated to drive safely. With a 0.08 percent BAC limit in Tennessee, three to four drinks can place you above the legal limit to drive. In the past few years, Tennessee legislators have noticed a high number of repeat DUI offenders, but there has been a lack of recourse for these repeat offenses. In order to address these sentencing discrepancies, legislators passed House Bill 167 in 2019 after years of legal deliberation.

Looking at Statistics

Legislators included a number of statistics in their HB 167 bill summary, which explains why they believe that these harsher penalties are necessary for repeat offenders with DUI charges. According to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, 32.2 percent of all offenders will re-offend within a year of release from their sentence. This appears to be the case for all offenders, not just those with DUI charges. However, the high tendency to re-offend and low chance of harsher sentencing for DUI cases make it likely for those with such charges to drive drunk again in the future. News reports from Fox17 Nashville record the most habitual Tennessee DUI offender had 19 DUI arrests, something that these harsher sentences are hoping to mitigate.

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Knox County criminal defense attorney fraud

Everyone has had the experience of pretending to be something or someone they are not. This is a common occurrence when young adults try new looks or hobbies as they begin to discover who they are as they mature. Trying something new may not be considered a crime, but when this new self-representation becomes deceptive, things can get more complicated. This is especially true with companies who take advantage of curious consumers’ ignorance toward their company or the money they are handing over. These corporations can also use these deceptive tactics to gain a mass of followers willing to work alongside them. Maybe you are a victim of fraud or did not realize that what you were participating in is considered a white-collar crime in Tennessee. Whether you started the fraudulent activity or were tricked into being a participant, you should seek the help of a reputable criminal defense lawyer.

Types of Fraud

There are a number of different types of fraud, all of which prey on the ignorance of consumers. If you are found guilty as a participant of the following practices, you may face serious criminal accusations under Tennessee and federal laws:

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Union County traffic ticket defense attorney

Seeing the red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror is never a good feeling. Maybe you did not realize how fast you were going, forgot to use your turn signal, or went through a red light thinking you could make it in time. Regardless, getting pulled over and receiving a traffic violation can be a blow to your ego and your wallet. Tennessee legislatures have been reviewing traffic ticketing policies and presented two bills that address the topic. Although neither is set in stone, your ability to be ticketed and how the violations are recognized may change upon the approval of the following two bills.

Meeting Quotas

You have likely heard the rumors to avoid speeding tickets toward the end of the month since this is typically when police officers hand out the most tickets to meet their monthly quotas. The Tennessee General Assembly is working hard to put an end to ticketing sprees that come up just so cops can fill their ticketing quotas. Technically, Tennessee already prohibits ticketing quotas per legislature from 2010. However, this law does not present any penalties for doing so and some argue that the lack of punishment renders the law useless. In order to address the lack of consequences, SB2458 would create mandatory fines for any police departments that implement a quota system for traffic ticketing. While this bill may not keep you from getting a ticket if you are found driving recklessly, it may reduce the number of unnecessary and inaccurate traffic tickets being delved out to meet a monthly allotment.

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Blount County federal charges defense attorney

Since 1916, the National Park Service has worked to preserve land spanning the United States from destruction. In order to do so, strict regulations have been put into place to protect the wildlife that lives in these parks and preserve the land so that it exists for generations to come. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park houses over 522,000 acres of land that lies between North Carolina and Tennessee. With more than 11.3 million recreational visits in 2016, it is no wonder why specific rules are put in place to keep this land protected. Since the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is federally owned, those who violate these laws can be prosecuted at the federal level and face federal criminal charges and penalties. This level of crime can lead to severe legal consequences, making it crucial to understand the laws before stepping foot on the grounds.

Park Land Is Not Open Land

One of the benefits of the national parks is being able to see wildlife up close and personal. However, not all land in the national parks is open all year round and there are distance regulations put in place to protect the animals. It is strictly forbidden to approach any wildlife within 50 yards or within any distance that disturbs/displaces the wildlife. It is also prohibited to feed the wildlife. Designated fields within the park are closed in May and June as well as in September and October as these are elk calving and breeding seasons. It is a good idea to map your route and do your research before entering the park to be sure that you are complying with the park’s rules.

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Anderson County drug crimes attorney marijuana

Many states have made the transition to legalize marijuana in one form or another. States such as Colorado have taken a more liberal approach, legalizing all forms of the drug, while others only allow their residents to consume the drugs for medical purposes. Tennessee is one of the most conservative states when it comes to cannabis, with all forms remaining illegal. The state divides drugs into categories known as schedules, and marijuana is a Schedule I drug. Substances that fall under this schedule are always illegal, even medically. In order to legalize marijuana in any form, it would need to be moved to a lower category, thus decriminalizing it. Although this may seem out of reach, Tennessee lawmakers may be taking steps in this direction, which would change how drug crimes are charged in the state.

A Groundbreaking Bill

Many states have recognized the benefits of legalizing marijuana for those who need it medically. By allowing citizens to obtain a medical marijuana card after receiving a doctor’s prescription, they can purchase cannabis to be used for health purposes. In early March, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill in the state Senate to legalize medical marijuana with existent restrictions. If enacted into law, the bill would allow Tennesseans to legally purchase cannabis lotions, oils, and pills for medical use with a doctor’s approval. However, vapes, edibles, and joints would not be considered a legal form for medical purposes.

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Knox County theft crimes defense attorney

Every city and state has particular crime tendencies that shift year to year, and Tennessee is no exception. There are two levels of offenses identified by Tennessee law enforcement — Group A and Group B. Group A offenses, are much more serious and the list is much longer than Group B. Examples of these include arson, homicide, fraud, and human trafficking. Group B includes offenses such as disorderly conduct and driving under the influence (DUI). There were approximately 552,000 Group A offenses reported in 2018. We have outlined the top five Group A offenses from the most recent data released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. In 2018, the following crimes had the highest numbers:

Simple Assault

There are two levels of assault, with simple assault being a less serious crime. In 2018, a little over 81,000 simple assault cases were reported. A person who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly inflicts physical injury or causes someone to fear physical injury may be charged with assault. This is a Class A misdemeanor that can lead to incarceration of up to one year and fines up to $15,000.

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Union County juvenile crimes attorney

To some, cyberbullying may seem like a phenomenon that is dramatized on television, but with the rise of technology and cell phones in the hands of young people, cyberbullying is a real issue that many children face. It is not uncommon for minors to get caught up in cyberbullying, since many may not recognize that what they are doing is considered bullying. The good and the bad thing about technology is that it records everything. In other words, if your son or daughter has been a victim of cyberbullying or has been the one sending the mean messages, there is likely evidence that can be used for or against them. For those being bullied, this can lead to the necessary justice that may not be possible without technology. However, for those doing this bullying, this could lead to juvenile criminal charges in Tennessee.

What Actions Are Considered “Cyberbullying?”

Cyberbullying holds the same weight and meaning as any other form of bullying, but it involves actions committed through electronic means. Schools can take action against any form of bullying or harassment to try to protect their students. In Tennessee, any of the following can be considered harassment, intimidation, or bullying:

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Anderson County weapons violations defense attorney

At the start of each year, many states have a new set of laws that go into effect. This legislation may address anything from healthcare to drug regulations to gun rights. Laws regarding the Second Amendment often create a divide between the state’s citizens, with people choosing a side and sticking to it. This past January, new regulations regarding firearms went into effect in Tennessee. Labeled as a “red state,” it is not surprising that Tennessee does not shy away from allowing citizens to carry guns. It is important to have a good understanding of what these changes mean for citizens to avoid facing criminal charges as a result of misunderstanding the law. 

One Permit Becomes Two

Tennessee has transitioned from allowing its citizens to obtain a single handgun permit to now providing them with two options from which to choose. The existing handgun permit in Tennessee allows citizens to carry a handgun openly or keep it concealed. Those who are 21 and older and have completed the proper training to obtain this handgun permit are able to decide how they would like to carry their handgun. At the start of the new year, a second type of permit was made available for those who would solely like permission to carry a handgun in a concealed manner. The existing handgun permit is now known as an “enhanced handgun carry permit,” while the new permit is labeled as a “concealed handgun carry permit.”

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Anderson County traffic violation attorney

Sitting in the passenger seat with a new driver can make a short drive feel like a rollercoaster ride. Their inexperience on the road can lead to many close calls and unintentional traffic violations. Recognizing this danger, many states implement restrictions on new drivers’ licenses to give young motorists the driving experience they need while also limiting their freedom for safety purposes. What many students may not realize is that there are different levels of licenses, each of which comes with its own regulations. These restrictions may seem minimal as a new driver, but breaking them can lead to traffic violations and legal consequences moving forward.

What Are the Different License Levels?

There are four license levels recognized in the state of Tennessee, and each has its own restrictions:

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Knox County traffic ticket defense attorney

Seeing blue and red flashing lights in your rearview mirror can bring on some of the worst feelings. You may panic about the level of violation that you are about to be given, your stomach drops at the thought of the fine that you may be required to pay, and you consider how this incident will affect your driving record. A single ticket with a low fine may seem like a small price to pay when compared to the other legal consequences that you can receive for breaking the law. However, the points assigned to speeding violations can quickly add up on your driving record. With too many points, you could lose your driver's license. While you can choose to accept the ticket that you have been given, fighting your traffic violation may often be the better option.

Potential Outcomes

To fight your ticket, you will need to appear in court to present your case, but before deciding to go through this legal process, you should understand what the possible verdicts and results may be:

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Anderson County property crimes attorney

Many people consider stealing to be a minor crime, since in many cases, no one gets hurt in the process. While a property crime may not always lead to the injury or death of another person, it is far from a victimless crime. Property crimes often involve taking someone’s belongings away from him or her without permission. This can include physically taking the property from an individual or destroying it. In Tennessee, one out of every 35 people has the chance of becoming a victim of a property crime. In 2018 alone, there were more than 137,708 theft cases in the state of Tennessee. Although it may seem fairly cut-and-dry, many people can face property crime charges without realizing that their actions were considered a criminal act. Some common property crimes include:

Burglary

In order to commit a burglary, a person must unlawfully enter a structure to commit a theft, an assault, or a felony. “Structures” are not limited to people’s homes, and they can include apartments, trailers, barns, offices, railroad cars, houseboats, stables, vehicles, or ships. Unlawful entry does not need to be done forcefully for it to be considered a burglary. Any burglary that is committed at someone’s place of living may be classified as an aggravated burglary, thus resulting in more serious consequences. Burglary that does not occur in someone’s residence is considered a Class D felony, while an aggravated burglary is a Class C felony. Depending on the type of felony charged, an individual could face between 2 and 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

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Knox County weapons violation defense attorneyMany people have the false assumption that concealed carry laws allow Americans to carry guns wherever and whenever they would like. Each state has different regulations regarding gun safety and freedom, including one’s right to carry a gun in public places. Tennessee upholds concealed carry laws but requires those with the proper licenses to have a comprehensive understanding of the stipulations that come along with it. With nearly 600,000 active concealed carry permits in Tennessee, it is crucial to know the details of this powerful law to avoid potential weapons charges.

Concealed Carry Facts

One of the most important aspects to understand about gun rights is where one can and cannot carry a concealed weapon. It is a good idea to know the details of the law whether or not you have a license. For those with active licenses, this knowledge will help them avoid serious criminal charges, and for those without licenses, it can help them notify law enforcement if a situation warrants it. Some details you should be aware of include:

  1. Vehicle Carry: Tennessee laws allow citizens to carry a registered weapon in their vehicles, whether they have an active concealed carry license or not. Vehicles must be privately owned, including cars, boats, and RVs. A firearm can be kept anywhere in the vehicle; however, a gun cannot be carried on someone's person.

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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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