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Tennessee Lawmakers Consider Three Bail Reform Bills

 Posted on March 11,2022 in Criminal Defense

Knoxville criminal defense attorneysUnder Tennessee law, the majority of people charged with criminal offenses have the constitutional right to be released on bond while their case works its way through the criminal justice system. There are a few exceptions to this law, such as a case where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty or if the person was a fugitive.

The problem under the current system, however, is that there are many defendants who are unable to come up with the bond amount and end up sitting in jail until their case is resolved one way or another. Tennessee lawmakers are considering changes to the current bond system and have introduced three different bills.

Disparities in the Bond System

As of January 31, 2022, there were 24,264 people being held in Tennessee jails. According to the state’s Department of Corrections, 59 percent of those inmates were being held pre-trial. Critics say the bond system goes against the state’s constitution, which they say promises bail for everyone except those who have been charged with capital offenses.

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How Can I Get Out of a DUI in Knoxville?

 Posted on February 23,2022 in DUI/DWI/BUI

Knox County DUI defense attorneyDrunk driving is punishable by significant penalties. Even a first-time conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) results in a 48-hour mandatory jail sentence, heavy fines, and a one-year license suspension. Second and subsequent DUI convictions are punished even more harshly.

If you or a loved one were charged with drunk driving, contact a DUI defense lawyer for help. Your attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the alleged offense, help you gather evidence, and explore your legal options. Your attorney can also represent you in any legal proceedings resulting from the charges.

Defense Strategies for DUI Charges in Tennessee

Fortunately, being charged with a criminal offense like drunk driving does not mean that the defendant will automatically face penalties for the alleged offense. All criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty. In a DUI case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was driving while intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled lawyer may cast doubt on a DUI defendant’s guilt by questioning the validity of the evidence against the defendant.

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New Legislation Proposed for Medical and Recreational Cannabis in Tennessee

 Posted on February 07,2022 in Drug Crimes

Knoxville marijuana possession lawyerOn January 25, 2022, the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act” was introduced and assigned to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee for consideration. This could be a game changer for legal medical and recreational cannabis. With 37 states across the country currently having some form of medical cannabis program, Tennessee can soon become number 38. The bill would overhaul current laws making both medical and recreational marijuana legal. Local governments would not be able to override proposed laws, but they could vote to ban the sale within their jurisdictions by a two-thirds vote. Several benefits for consumers could be available in the near future, but familiarizing yourself with all the rules and regulations is key. Until that time, it is important to remember that possession of cannabis is still illegal.

What Happens if You Are Caught With Cannabis in Your Possession?

A conviction on a first offense for marijuana possession under Tennessee law incurs fines of $250.00 for a half-ounce of marijuana or less. Possession will have mandatory fines and up to one year in jail if convicted. Maximum fines can reach up to $2,500. Penalties for possession with intent to distribute starts at $5,000 and will increase with the amount of marijuana found on hand. This is considered a serious offense and is handled as a Class E misdemeanor. Cultivation of 10 plants or less can land someone in prison for up to six years. Larger quantities can increase the time up to 60 years.

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Do You Have To Take a Field Sobriety Test in Tennessee?

 Posted on January 24,2022 in DUI/DWI/BUI

shutterstock_13686835.jpgIf you have ever seen red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror, then you are already familiar with the fear and nervousness that being pulled over on the road can invoke. It is never fun to realize that you are being pulled over by the police

If you know that you had been drinking prior to getting in the car and driving on the road, then you probably have a sinking feeling in your stomach that you are being pulled over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated

Even so, do you have to tell the police that there is alcohol in your system? And must you participate in a field sobriety test simply because you are asked to step out of your vehicle and consent to the testing? The answers to these questions are important to know in case you find yourself in a situation where you are asked to take the field sobriety test in Tennessee

What is a Field Sobriety Test? 

A field sobriety test is a series of actions that test a driver for intoxication. While the most popularized field sobriety test is the one in which people are asked to walk in a straight line, there are actually three tests that police officers conduct during a field sobriety test

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What Constitutes a Federal Crime in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

 Posted on January 05,2022 in Criminal Defense

Knox County federal crimes attorneyNational parks across the United States offer expansive stretches of land full of wildlife and beauty galore. As inviting as national parks are, you are not welcome to enter a park without understanding and adhering to the rules and regulations of the park

For instance, in the Tennessee-based parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are certain laws that you must abide by in order to explore all that the park has to offer. If you fail to uphold the legal expectations while in the park, you can run the risk of being charged with a federal crime

But what is a federal crime? And what are the laws you must respect when enjoying your time at Great Smoky Mountains National Park? 

Federal Crimes vs. State-Level Crimes 

There is a difference between a federal crime and a state crime. It is important to understand what sets them apart, especially in terms of national parks. In certain cases, a crime is classified as either a federal crime or a state crime depending on where the crime was committed

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What if I Am Visiting From Another State and Am Arrested in Tennessee?

 Posted on December 28,2021 in Criminal Defense

Knox County criminal defense atTennessee can be quite a lovely state to visit around the holidays. Whether you are returning home to visit your family or vacationing with friends, your plans almost certainly do not include being arrested. However, situations have a way of getting out of control during what can be a stressful time of year, and visitors to our state do occasionally end up visiting our jails. If this has happened to you, it is of the utmost importance that you do not leave the state without having retained counsel to address the charges. Failure to handle your case in Tennessee can result in a warrant being issued that could get you arrested back home as well

How Does Being From Out of State Affect Bond?

Before you can even think about returning home, you will need to get yourself released from jail. This may be a little more difficult for an out-of-state visitor than for a Tennessee resident. The purpose of bond is to guarantee that a defendant will show up to answer for his charges. The idea is that you pay money to the court, and get most of it back when your case concludes. Courts may fear that if they release an out-of-state visitor without a substantial bond, they are likely to return to their home state and never come back. This can result in substantially higher bonds

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How Serious Are Managing Drug Premises Charges?

 Posted on December 22,2021 in Criminal Defense

Knoxville Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen you own a business, there are a myriad of issues and responsibilities you need to keep abreast of in order to be successful. According to federal and state laws, that also includes making sure that no criminal activity is taking place at your business. Failure to do so could result in criminal charges being brought against you. This is what recently happened to one nightclub owner and two of his managers when they were all convicted by a federal jury of managing drug premises, conspiracy to manage drug premises, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine

Details of the Convictions

According to federal prosecutors, the owner ran several popular nightclubs. Prosecutors alleged in their case that one reason for that popularity was that the defendant allowed drug dealers to sell cocaine in the bathrooms of the clubs, resulting in an increase in the clubs’ revenue of between $9 to $12 million. The jury was told that because the owner knew what was going on but continued to allow it because he was profiting by the increased business at his clubs, he was guilty of managing drug premises, along with the other charges. The jury agreed.

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Judge Rules Against State in Tennessee Sex Offender Registry Lawsuit

 Posted on December 14,2021 in Criminal Defense

Knox County criminal defense attorneyThere are two clauses in the U.S. Constitution that specifically prohibits governments from retroactively changing punishments for a crime that was previously committed. This clause also bars a government from changing the rules of evidence in a case or punishing conduct that was legal at the time it was committed. These laws are referred to as Ex Post Facto and according to a recent ruling by a federal judge, the state of Tennessee is in violation of this clause for how they have continued to enforce retroactive punishments against sex offenders, including some whose crimes took place decades before the Tennessee sex offender registry law went into effect.  

Federal Lawsuit

In her recent ruling, the judge ordered the removal of eight different men from the state’s sex offender registry list, as well as ordering the state to stop imposing restrictions on what these men can and cannot do, accusing the state of “flouting the Constitution’s guarantees.”

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When Can a Person Face Assault Charges in Tennessee?

 Posted on November 16,2021 in Criminal Defense

Knoxville assault charges defense lawyerIn today’s society, there are all kinds of incidents that can end up escalating into violent confrontations. When this happens, law enforcement may treat at least one of the parties involved as the aggressor. Police do not always arrest the right person in these situations, and they may fail to further investigate the circumstances of the incident.

There are different levels of assault a person can be charged with in Tennessee, with each level carrying different penalties if a person is convicted. If you have been charged with assault, a Union County defense attorney can help.

Simple Assault

Under Tennessee law, a person commits simple assault if any of the following factors exist:

  • The individual recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally caused bodily injury to another party.

  • The individual recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally caused another party to fear that bodily injury was imminent.

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What Are the Penalties for Underage DUI in Tennessee?

 Posted on November 08,2021 in Criminal Defense

Knoxville criminal defense for ExpungementIn Tennessee, just like in every other state in the country, the legal drinking age is 21. While it is against the law for anyone under 21 to consume or possess alcohol, the reality is that many do. This is especially true when it comes to college and social life. However, the criminal justice system takes underage drinking seriously and anyone under 21 who is caught with alcohol, especially in drinking and driving situations, faces especially harsh penalties.

Legal BAC in Tennessee

Under Tennessee law, anyone who is 21 years of age or older who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent is considered legally drunk. However, for anyone under the age of 21, the legal limit is much lower and DUI charges may apply if a person has a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher.

Penalties for Underage DUI

While the penalties for underage DUI may not be as harsh as adult DUI penalties, they still leave a permanent mark on the individual’s criminal record. For drivers who are under 18, the matter is deemed a delinquent act. If the driver is between 18 to 20, the crime is charged as a misdemeanor. Penalties for both categories are the same:

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