A first conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Tennessee is a misdemeanor. But did you know that it carries mandatory jail time and the potential to lose your license, even on the first offense? You may also be on the hook for fines, restitution, court costs, and fees associated with "ignition interlock" devices and classes. All of these potential penalties grow in number and severity the more DUI's of which you are convicted. Needless to say, when you are looking at such steep penalties, you are going to need a strong defense.
Law enforcement may bring a charge of DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher. To establish this, members of law enforcement may conduct "Standard Field Sobriety Tests," use a breathalyzer machine, or withdraw, and perform a test on, your blood. However, all of these methods require strict compliance with methods and procedures to be admissible against you. Further, there are a number of legal requirements the police have to comply with before they can even pull you over. You need someone who understands all of these issues, how they interact, and how to use them in your defense.
Being charged with a crime involving drugs can be confusing in the State of Tennessee. Depending on (1) what the alleged controlled substance is, (2) how much of the controlled substance there is, and (3) what you are being accused of doing with that controlled substance; the charge and range of punishment can vary wildly from a maximum of six (6) months in jail, all the way up to 30 years in prison. On top of all of this, these charges may be impacted by the location of the alleged incident.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution guarantee you certain rights that law enforcement absolutely cannot ignore. Generally, members of law enforcement need your permission before they may lawfully search you or your property. If you do not give your permission, then members law enforcement must meet certain standards before they are allowed to search you or your property. Many of the defenses available to you when you are accused of a drug crime rest on how well your Nashville criminal attorney understands your rights, and how strong he or she will be in asserting those rights.
When charged with "Assault", sometimes called "Simple Assault," in the State of Tennessee, it is important to know what type of assault of which you are being accused. This will greatly impact your defense. There are three basic types: 1) Bodily Injury; 2) Reasonable Fear of Imminent Bodily Injury; and, 3) Extremely Offensive or Provocative Physical Contact. Generally, all three of these types, are Misdemeanors.
However, if a number of other factors are present, such as the use of a "deadly weapon" or "strangulation" of the victim, then law enforcement may charge "Aggravated Assault." Aggravated Assault may be as high as a C Felony which carries potential prison time of three (3) to six (6) years for Standard Offenders. Common defenses in these types of cases include self-defense or the defense of another. You will need an attorney who will listen to your side of the story, and be able to communicate that effectively on your behalf.
Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection
The difference between Domestic Assault and Assault is the victim and the punishment. Generally speaking, a the alleged victim in a Domestic Assault case will have a familial, romantic (either past or present), or cohabitation relationship. If that sort of relationship is present and an assault occurs, typically Domestic Assault, is charged. Much like DUI's, Domestic Assault penalties grow in severity the more of which you are convicted. So, the first conviction may be treated similarly to an Assault with classes or probation, but if the second and third convictions are for "bodily injury"-type, they will require mandatory jail time of 30 and 90 days, respectively. The third, and any subsequent Domestic Assault convictions, will also be raised to Class E Felonies. Other commonly charged offenses in a domestic violence cases are Vandalism, Harassment, and Stalking.
Along with these criminal charges, an Order of Protection may be in play against the accused. An Order of Protection is, in short, a Court Order that one person cannot contact another person. Such an Order may be granted, under certain circumstances, "ex parte." This means the accused may not even have been present to explain their side of things when the Order was granted. In that case, a hearing will be set within 30 days, typically accompanying any other criminal charges.
With so many different possibilities on the table in a Domestic Violence case, you need a Nashville criminal lawyer who understands every aspect of these cases. Someone with the experience to navigate these hurdles and protect your record so that your side of the story is heard.