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Clarksville Tennessee Legal Blog

How does a misdemeanor differ from a felony?

Broadly speaking, criminal charges break down into the two basic categories of misdemeanors and felonies. For the most part, the public understands that felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, but many people do not actually understand the differences between the two.

A misdemeanor may be a relatively small offense or a moderately serious crime, but usually does not carry a sentence of more than one year of jail time. In the event that a misdemeanor does entail jail time at all, it is often served out in a county facility rather than a penitentiary. First-time offenders may even find ways to avoid most punishment altogether if the judge hearing the case sees fit to hand down a light sentence. In most cases, the sentencing standards for misdemeanors are relatively flexible and largely left to the preferences of the judge hearing the case.

Interlock devices used heavily in Tennessee

After a DUI conviction in Tennessee, it is very likely that driver must submit to placing an interlock device on their ignition. These devices require a driver to prove that they are below the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level to drive before the ignition will allow the vehicle to start. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) considers these devices invaluable, claiming that the devices save thousands of lives each year by keeping those who are too drunk to get behind the wheel.

It is fair to say that interlock devices reduce instances of repeat drunk driving. Official data suggests that they may even reduce the rate of repeat drunk driving by as much as 67 percent. Under current law, offenders who receive interlock devices must keep them installed for 365 days, with the last 120 days completely free of violations.

Man arrested in connection with fatal heroin overdose

Drug dealing charges carry some of the stiffest penalties of any nonviolent crime, and those who face them must respond quickly and carefully. Recently, a man received drug dealing charges in Cheatham County after a number of overdoses in a single weekend were tied to him, one of which resulted in the death of a victim.

According to authorities, the man allegedly travelled to Cheatham County from Nashville to deal heroin to an individual who later fatally overdosed. During the investigation of the death, the police believed that the alleged dealer was involved in the overdose, and set up a meeting with him to see if he would sell to them.

A criminal record may change your career path

Many people mistakenly believe that receiving some sort of charge on their criminal record is not really capable of hurting them in the long run. Unfortunately, even small criminal convictions often carry consequences far outside what the general public expects, sometimes making it very difficult to find work or housing.

Here in Tennessee, even relatively minor violations can jeopardize a student's scholarships, for instance. A misdemeanor is sometimes enough to revoke a student's scholarship funding, which may make it unfeasible for him or her to remain in school and pursue a good job.

Sometimes, a traffic stop itself may affect sobriety test results

If you receive drunk driving charges, you may believe that the prosecution has an open and shut case, you should just accept the charges and hope for the best. However, this is rarely a good strategy when it comes to any kind of criminal charge, especially drunk driving. Although the techniques and technology used by police to determine the sobriety or inebriation of a suspect do increase in sophistication over time, they are not flawless. If you recently received drunk driving charges, you may have more options than you think.

For instance, you may have grounds to claim that the stop itself played a part in the results, casting your sobriety in an unfair light. If you can demonstrate that you began driving very recently after consuming some alcohol, you may have grounds to contend that you were not actually inebriated until well into the stop, and could have reasonably reached your destination safely if not for the stop itself.

Can you refuse a blood alcohol test in Tennessee?

Being arrested for DUI is very scary and intimidating. There are many demands and requests you could face from officers. This includes being asked to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test.

BAC test results can have significant impacts in DUI cases. So, a driver might have many fears related to submitting to such a test. Is simply refusing to take the test an option?

What is a deficiency in a mortgage?

If you owe money on your home after a foreclosure, bankruptcy may begin looking very appealing. The money you owe, called a deficiency, isn't going anywhere and you don't have a sufficient job to pay it down.

Bankruptcy makes sense for a lot of people once foreclosure pushes them out of their home while they still carry the weight of thousands of dollars they owe on the house that they cannot pay. Let's say you owe $250,000 on a home in the Nashville area and lose your job. After some time, you cannot pay the mortgage without a job, and the foreclosure process gets set in motion.

Women may face stronger sentencing for drug charges

When a person faces drug charges in Tennessee, especially charges involving opioid painkillers, they may face surprising discrimination in sentencing, according to a new information about the opioid crisis. In many cases, women who face drug charges in Tennessee may spend many more months behind bars than male offenders serve for similar charges.

This presents a number of troubling issues. First, it demonstrates some breakdown in state sentencing guidelines. There is no justifiable reason why a person should spend more or less time behind bars simply because he or she is male or female. If a woman spends six months longer in jail than her male counterparts, this is a clear violation of justice that deserves addressing.

Does child endangerment complicate DUI charges?

Drinking before getting behind the wheel is always a very risky choice, even if you believe that you are below the legal limit of alcohol in your bloodstream. However, in some cases, you may face even more serious charges than a simple DUI after drinking and driving if you get pulled over with a minor in the vehicle with you.

DUI charges may increase to child endangerment, which can mean serious jail time in a conviction scenario. If you already have a criminal record, the terms of the charges may actually involve years behind bars on top of significant fines. Should the child receive an injury or die in an accident after you drink and drive, this may mean felony charges. A felony conviction in this instance may mean up to 30 years in jail.

Marital property exceptions in Tennessee

Divorce is rarely easy, but some states do tend to make the process easier than others. Here in Tennessee, we enjoy fewer regulations than some other states, and are not a community property state, so couples have greater flexibility to decide between themselves how they divide their assets and liabilities in divorce.

Property division is one the most complicated and time-consuming aspects of most divorces, along with any child custody issues that may arise for divorcing parents. In very broad strokes, couples divorcing in Tennessee must reach an agreement about how to divide up all of the assets and liabilities that count as marital property between them. So, what exactly counts as marital property in the Volunteer State?

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