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Knoxville criminal defense lawyerEvery state has its own criminal justice system. The federal government also has its own criminal justice system. Depending on the circumstances, the defendant will face either state or federal prosecution, however, in some cases, they may be facing charges in both systems.

Federal vs. State Charges

Typically, the length of time it takes for a federal case to conclude takes longer than it does for state prosecutors to bring their cases to trial or other conclusions. It is not uncommon for federal prosecutors to request delays, resulting in the defendant being in limbo and unable to move forward with their life because of these serious criminal charges hanging over their head.

Another benefit that federal prosecutors have over state prosecutors is that they often have more staff and other resources to put into their cases compared to their state counterparts. Local prosecutors are often working within limited budgets and are often juggling multiple cases at a time.

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Knox County criminal defense lawyerThere are certain topics and activities that people are very passionate about. One of those topics is hunting. While hunting is a tradition in Tennessee and many other states, there are also many people who have become animal-rights activists who engage in activities to stop hunting. Unfortunately, one activity that some activists take is harassing hunters and trying to disrupt their hunts. According to state officials, these incidents are occurring on a more frequent basis, but those people who do engage in these activities should be aware that doing so can lead to criminal charges.

Hunter Harassment Law

Tennessee lawmakers passed the Hunter Protection Act in 1995, forbidding individuals to interfere with anyone who is engaged in the lawful taking of a game animal by another party or parties. This also includes the forbidden use of lights, drones, or any type of noisemakers in an attempt to disrupt someone who hunting in compliance with the law.

If someone does any of the following, they can be charged with a crime:

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Knoxville criminal defense attorneyIn 2018, the federal government passed the First Step Act into law. Under the law, eligible inmates would be able to obtain an early release if they were deemed a low or minimum risk of reoffending. The goal of the law was to reduce recidivism rates, address racial disparities (particularly with drug offenses), and ease the federal prison population. But four years later, the law seems to be stalled as thousands of prisoners who should have been released are still locked up.

The First Step Act

In addition to the early release provision, there were a number of other changes included in the First Step Act:

  • Allowed more flexibility for courts when facing mandatory minimum offenses
  • Allowed inmates to be placed in facilities as close to their homes (within 500 miles) to their homes when possible
  • Increased education and job training programs
  • Provided more options for home confinement and halfway house program options
  • Expanded rights for female prisoners

It has been the early release provision that has been the most difficult to implement. Under the law, the prison bureau uses a risk assessment tool to determine an inmate's risk of reoffending. They must have a low risk and must not have been convicted for sex offenses, human trafficking, terrorism, or other violent crimes. An inmate who meets that standard must also be eligible for home confinement, a halfway house, or another type of pre-release custody.

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Knoxville DUI defense lawyerWhen people talk about DUI charges and the potential consequences of a conviction, they are usually referencing state DUI charges. Every state, including Tennessee, has passed its own laws when it comes to the consequences of driving under the influence will be.

However, many people do not realize that if they are caught driving under the influence on federal property, they can be charged with a federal DUI and a conviction can have even direr consequences than state charges.

Federal Jurisdiction

There are a number of federally-owned locations where a driver can suddenly find themselves pulled over for driving under the influence. These include:

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Knoxville criminal defense lawyerTypically, twice a year, any new laws that the Tennessee legislators have passed go into effect – on January 1st and July 1st. This July is no different. One of the most significant new criminal justice system laws that went into effect was the Truth in Sentencing (HB 2656) law that passed that addresses violent crime convictions.

Full Sentence

Many convicted defendants who receive incarceration as part of their sentence are often able to earn reduced time off for good behavior while in prison. The average prisoner can earn up to 54 days off for each year they are in prison. However, that all changes for anyone convicted of a violent crime in Tennessee. The Truth in Sentencing law is just that – such a defendant will now have to serve 100 percent of their sentence with no opportunity for earning reduced time.

The law identifies the following violent crimes where the defendant must serve their entire sentence:

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