I consider trial by Jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
— Thomas Jefferson

Our legal system is unequaled in human history and derives its existence from our U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions. I represent defendants charged with many different types of crimes, including all traffic offenses. Some of the more common are: 

THEFT

I have represented many people charged with theft who, after a full airing of the facts, either had their charges dropped or were found not guilty. Often, people are found in possession of property when they had no knowledge that the property was, in fact, stolen. Or there may have been no intent to deprive the owner. A record of conviction for theft can make someone ineligible for employment in a number of areas and carries a social stigma as well. Talk to an attorney immediately, if you have been charged with theft, or any other crime.

DOMESTIC ASSAULT

Police are often called in response to altercations between spouses, family members, and other persons who are or were roommates or were in a relationship. Domestic abuse allegations are treated somewhat differently than other allegations of abuse, because of the relationship between the parties. Police will often make an arrest based upon an alleged victim's statement, even without hearing the other side. A conviction for domestic assault carries far reaching consequences, including a permanent prohibition against the ownership or possession of any firearm (Lautenberg Amendment). This is a career-ender for persons in the military or law enforcement. Consult an attorney immediately, if you or someone you care about is charges with domestic assault. If you have questions, call me. I never charge for an initial consultation.

TRAFFIC STOPS IN GENERAL

The police cannot legally stop a driver for no valid reason. The officer must have observed something or received information from a third party. If you are stopped, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CONSENT TO A SEARCH OF YOUR PERSON OR YOUR VEHICLE. The police may search you anyway. They may arrest you, BUT if the search was not consensual a judge, not the police, will determine if the search was lawful. Likewise, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE A STATEMENT TO THE POLICE. They may arrest you anyway, but people often wind up charged with a crime as a direct result of statements they have made to the police. Offer to talk to them AFTER you have an attorney at your side. 

IMPLIED CONSENT

Any person driving a motor vehicle in Tennessee is deemed by law to have given consent to being tested for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content of that person's blood. However, no such test may be administered unless directed by a law enforcement person having reasonable grounds to believe a person was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Refusal to submit to such a test may result in a charge for violating the Implied Consent Law (T.C.A. 55-10-406) and result in suspension of your license. Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right.  If your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, you may be eligible for a restricted license. 

DUI

DUI in Tennessee-Driving motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant is a crime. 
This includes not only alcohol, but also legal and illegal drugs, including those for which
someone has a valid prescription. The DUI laws in Tennessee are constantly changing. As a
result, defending someone charged with a DUI requires an attorney knowledgeable in this area. If you or someone you care about has been charged with DUI, consult an attorney immediately. Tennessee law mandates enhanced punishment for subsequent DUI offenses. The following are minimums:

First offense:

  • Blood alcohol level less than .20%: minimum jail sentence of 48 hours.
  • Blood alcohol level .20% or greater: minimum jail sentence of 7 consecutive days. If there was a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle at the time of arrest, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days.
  • Minimum fine: $350 plus court costs. If passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle at the time of arrest: $1,000 plus court costs.
  • Attend a state approved DUI school
  • Revocation of license for one (1) year

Second offense:

  • Minimum jail sentence: 45 days 
  • Minimum fine: $600 plus court costs
  • Attend state approved DUI school
  • Revocation of license for two (2) years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device as a requirement for a restricted license.

Third offense:

  • Minimum jail sentence: 120 days
  • Minimum fine: $1,200 plus court costs
  • Attend state approved DUI school
  • Revocation of license for three (3) to ten (10) years
  • Vehicle may be seized and forfeited

Fourth and subsequent offense(s):

  • Class E felony
  • Minimum jail sentence: one (1) year, 150 days of which must be served consecutively
  • Minimum fine: $3,000
  • Attend state approved DUI school
  • Revocation of license for a minimum of five (5) years
  • Vehicle may be seized and forfeited

If you are driving under the influence and an accident results in serious bodily injury, you may be charged with felony vehicular assault, child endangerment, or vehicular homicide. You might be sentenced to serve time in the Tennessee Department of Corrections or be declared an Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender. Being declared an HMVO means it is a felony to operate a motor vehicle, even if no other offense is committed.

Lastly, I have represented many people whose DUI charges stem from substance abuse problems. Recognizing that addiction poses a danger to both the substance abuser and the public, judges are often inclined to sentence DUI offenders to an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment (ADAT) program. Successful completion of a recovery program often helps clients to begin to repair what at times seems like a hopeless situation.