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What is a Felony?

A felony offense is a criminal act committed in violation of the laws of the State of Tennessee. Punishment for a felony offense carries a jail service of a minimum one year in jail, to a maximum of LIFE in prison with possible fines and other penalties attached. Other consequences accompany a felony conviction, including,  Continue Reading »

What is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor offense is a criminal act committed in violation of the laws of the state of Tennessee. Punishment for a misdemeanor offense carries a jail service of at a minimum zero days in jail, to a maximum of eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail with a possible fine/loss of driving privileges. Any offense  Continue Reading »

May a Misdemeanor Crime be Elevated to a Felony Offense?

Tennessee crimes that may result in jail sentences are classified as either misdemeanor or felony offenses. The penalties and ramifications of each significantly differ. Of the two, felonies are the more serious offense and carry greater penalties than a misdemeanor offense. Tennesseans charged with a criminal offense may distinguish misdemeanors from felonies by the potential  Continue Reading »

Halloween: Ghouls, Goblins, Pranksters or Felons?

As fall approaches, Tennesseans inevitably begin stockpiling sweets and carving pumpkins in anticipation of Halloween. Originally, the holiday derived from an ancient Celtic celebration that signified the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter—the bridge to the world of the dead.1 Today, Halloween is a period of festivities and costumes; however, a negative  Continue Reading »

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

All drivers have the duty to stop and help if involved in a car crash or accident.  Many times, a car accident may be simply that: an accident, where neither driver is at fault.  However, if a driver leaves the scene of an accident that involves other cars or people without providing specific information about  Continue Reading »

Bail (Getting Released from Jail)

Tennessee Code Annotated § 40-11-104 and the statutes that follow govern the rights of a defendant in relation to bail. See also, Tennessee Constitution, Article 1, Section 15.  Keep in mind that this blog entry is not comprehensive in nature.  It is only a general summary of the law as of the date the blog  Continue Reading »

Expunging (Erasing) Your Criminal Record

  If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor crime, but were never convicted, you may petition the court to have any related records expunged if you meet the following requirements: The charge(s) against you were dismissed A “no true bill” was returned by a grand jury The court entered a “nolle prosequi”  Continue Reading »

How Serious Is Shoplifting?

As the winter Holidays approach, merchants and shopping malls become more vigilant in trying to deter shoplifters.  It is important to understand that, although a misdemeanor, shoplifting is a serious offense that may prevent one from attending a school of their choice, or obtaining their dream job.  It is a misconception that shoplifting simply means  Continue Reading »

What are the Differences Between Burglary, Robbery and Theft in Tennessee?

  Many people believe that burglary, robbery and theft can be used interchangeably because they all involve the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. Actually, while there are similar aspects to these three crimes, there are also nuanced differences. Theft In the State of Tennessee, a theft of property occurs when a person takes the  Continue Reading »

Can I be Convicted of “Public Intoxication” on My Own Front Porch?

  In Tennessee, it is possible to be charged and convicted of Public Intoxication—even if you are drinking on your own private property. In State v. Jordan, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a Public Drunkenness conviction of a man who was intoxicated on his own front porch. The court agreed with the definition  Continue Reading »

If I Am Arrested, Do I Have to Answer Police Questions?

  If you are arrested, the police must read you your Miranda rights if they want to: 1. Question you;  and 2. Use your responses as evidence against you. Miranda rights are derived from the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and allow you to remain silent if taken into police custody. The Miranda rights, as  Continue Reading »

What is the Difference Between Simple and Aggravated Assault in Tennessee?

In the state of Tennessee, simple assault occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person. Simple assault also includes the causing of a person to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury or causing physical contact with a person that a reasonable person would find extremely provocative or offensive. (Tenn. Code  Continue Reading »

Can I Refuse to Take a Breath Test in Tennessee?

In the state of Tennessee, the law dictates that all licensed drivers automatically consent to a chemical test if they are pulled over on suspicion of DUI. If a police officer pulls you over because he or she has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence, then you consent to taking  Continue Reading »

What legal rights do have if I am arrested for a Tennessee crime?

Everyone in Tennessee has certain rights that are guaranteed by both the United States and Tennessee Constitutions.  In fact, those charged with Tennessee crimes may have more rights than people in other states.  These legal rights include, but are not limited to: The right to have a lawyer represent you. If you cannot afford a  Continue Reading »