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Nashville Criminal Defense Blog

How does Tennessee define domestic assault?

Violence can happen between and among a wide variety of people. In some cases, this can occur between those is a romantic or familial relationship. In Tennessee, domestic violence is legally referred to as domestic assault. This crime, when alleged against an individual, can have significant consequences. A mere charge can damage an individual's reputation, and the possibility of conviction leaves an accused individual facing the very real risk of being sent to jail. In other words, when accused of domestic assault, Tennesseans have a lot on the line.

Therefore, these individuals need to know how to craft a strong criminal defense. The first step in this process is understanding the law. Under Tennessee law, domestic assault occurs when an individual assaults another person who holds a certain relationship to the perpetrator. This relationship may include spouses and ex-spouses, dating partners, sexual partners, cohabitants, relatives that are both related by blood and by law or children.

Credit and debit card fraud in Tennessee

Fraud charges can range from minor charges to those that are considered white collar and much more serious. White collar crimes are those criminal offenses that are typically financially motivated, often utilizing one's occupation to steal money. Since many Tennessee residents and businesses work hard for their money, they oftentimes find themselves upset when funds go missing, and understandably so. These individuals and businesses then look for swift justice, which can lead to false allegations against innocent people. When this happens, an accused individual needs to fully understand the law so that he or she can create the best criminal defense they can muster.

One crime that is worth understanding is credit and debit fraud. These offenses are becoming more common, especially with car readers being illegally installed at some gas pumps. These devices can allow an individual to capture customers' information and use it for their financial gain. Yet, Tennessee law defines credit and debit fraud much more broadly. According to the applicable statute, it is illegal for an individual to knowingly possess a credit or debit card that is owned by another individual, unless the owner has given consent for another person to possess said card.

Keeping your liquor license safe

Owning a bar is not like what you may see on TV sitcoms. In these shows, bar owners stand idly chatting with patrons, wiping the counter and paying little attention to what is happening in the room. If you are interested in owning your own bar, you probably have experience in the industry and can attest that this portrayal is rarely accurate.

While it is likely that you will have patrons who become friends and your establishment may become a well-loved and fun place to hang out, in reality, you have a lot of responsibility. Not only do you have a business to make profitable, but you are also responsible for the safety of your patrons and the integrity of your business. Neglecting this responsibility can cost you your license.

Nashville firm representing those accused of theft

Being criminally charged for stealing or some other type of property crime is no small matter. As we discussed a few weeks ago on the blog, a conviction for theft can result in serious penalties, including incarceration, fines and damage to an individual's reputation for years, perhaps even decades, to come. Of course, merely being charged with a criminal offense is not the same as being convicted, as every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high bar that the prosecution must clear before obtaining a conviction, which means that most defendants have many criminal defense strategies available to them.

There are essentially two ways to approach a criminal charge. The first way is to admit some guilt, but negotiate with prosecutors in hopes of obtaining less harsh penalties. In some instances, this is the best tactic, especially when the evidence against a defendant is solid. The other defense approach is to litigate the matter in hopes of obtaining an acquittal. Here, it is crucial that a defendant knows how to successfully attack the prosecution's evidence, whether it be physical or testimonial in nature.

Man accused of 2014 Nashville murder

Some people say that the wheels of justice turn slowly. This may be true in some instances, but in other cases, time does nothing more than give rise to situations where innocent individuals wind up accused of terrible crimes. In the intervening time between the alleged offense and arrest, physical evidence can go missing, witnesses may disappear or lose their credibility and victims' memories may have clouded. This is all ammunition that an accused individual may be able to use to his advantage.

One Nashville man may need to assess this tactic after being arrested and charged with a 2014 murder. According to police, the 20-year-old man, who was 16 at the time of the victim's death, had not been subject to an arrest warrant until February of 2017. The police just recently arrested him, as they claim he had escaped from a juvenile group home in January.

What is a drug diversion program?

Drug charges are still very common in Tennessee. These offenses, just like others, fall on a sliding scale of severity. Some individuals are faced with allegations of drug trafficking, which can result in years or even decades behind bars if convicted. Others, though, are only accused of minor drug charges, such as possession. In these instances, and when it looks like an individual may not prevail at trial, it may be wise to consider alternative resolution options.

One option may be a drug diversion program. There are type types of diversion: pre-trial and judicial. Pre-trial diversion, in the drug context, occurs when the prosecution agrees to allow a defendant to enter into some sort of treatment in exchange for a suspended prosecution of the charges. If the agreed upon drug diversion program is completed, then the charges may be dropped. If the diversion program is unsuccessful, then the prosecution can take the matter to trial and, by obtaining a conviction, try to impose penalties such as jail time and fines.

What constitutes theft in Tennessee?

Most Tennesseans have a feel for what constitutes theft. To these individuals, it is merely taking something that doesn't belong to you. However, the law is much more nuanced. This means that it is more difficult for prosecutors to prove that theft has occurred, as they must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Oftentimes this leaves open the opportunity to utilize certain criminal defense techniques that may result in either lesser penalties or,perhaps an acquittal.

Under Tennessee law, for example, an individual can only be convicted of theft of property if he or she knowing controls the property of another person without consent, and he or she does so with the intent to take control of the property away from the property owner. Here, a criminal defendant may be able to challenge many aspects of the crime.

Is your nursing license at risk because of poor documentation?

Throughout your nursing training, you probably heard of countless occasions of the importance of accurate patient documentation. Not only does careful recording of your observations and actions provide your other team members with a roadmap of your patient's care, it also provides a log of treatment that can be presented to defend you and your co-workers from accusations of substandard care.

Precise documentation goes beyond repairing illegible handwriting, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, although avoiding these is recommended for more professional documentation. More important, however, is the accuracy and promptness with which you complete your records. In fact, your notes and observations on the care you give to your patients may be all that stands between you and a license suspension or successful malpractice lawsuit.

Nashville case illustrates perpetrator identification issues

Prosecutors have many techniques that they can utilize in an attempt to obtain a criminal conviction. They often turn to witness accounts as well as physical evidence, such as fingerprints and DNA, to build their case. Although this evidence may seem extremely damaging to a defendant, there may be criminal defense options available to him or her, depending on the circumstances. This is often the case when the police overstep their roles and act inappropriately in their investigations.

Such actions are at the center of a recent case where a man has been accused of attacking a woman in a Nashville park. According to the accused man, the police were improperly suggestive when obtaining an identification from the victim. The man's defense team claims that the woman's recollection was tainted when the investigating detective showed the victim an artist's rendering of her description of the assailant next to one other photo: that of the accused individual. The defense also claims that the detective told the woman to point out the man in court when asked to identify the perpetrator of the crime.

Fighting white collar crime charges in Tennessee

Previously, this blog discussed a case where a Tennessee bank employee was accused of embezzling more than $800,000 from her employer and the bank's clients. While not all white collar crime cases involve this much money, many of them do involve individuals who are accused of stealing money while working in their professional capacity. This is no small thing, as errors are made all the time resulting in inaccurate records, improper expenditures and misplaced funds. These errors don't necessarily add up to a crime, though, even when prosecutors aggressively try to make it seem like they do.

Those who are accused of a white collar crime need to carefully consider their criminal defense options, as there may be a lot on the line. A conviction could land an accused individual in prison for years, and he or she may have to pay a fine that can lead to financial ruin. Additionally, a conviction can seriously damage an individual's reputation and hinder his or her ability to find secure housing and employment in the future.

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Rob McGuire Law
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