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Nashville Criminal Defense Blog

The penalties for marijuana possession

Although many states have relaxed their laws related to marijuana, Tennessee continues to prosecute those who violate state laws regarding marijuana. Although marijuana possession is a relatively minor offense in the realm of drug crimes, it can still have a significant impact on an individual's life. For this reason, those who are hit with drug charges need to ensure that they put forth a strong criminal defense in hopes of protecting their future as fully as possible.

How can a marijuana-related conviction affect an individual? It depends on the circumstances. An individual who is convicted of possessing less than half of an ounce, for example, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which could be punishable by jail time of up to nearly a year and a fine that can be as high as $2,500. Subsequent offenses can increase the penalties. A third or subsequent conviction for possession of marijuana is considered a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prions and a fine of up to $3,000.

What is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test?

Sometimes it can feel as if police are like vultures, circling, looking for any misstep that could allow them to take action. This can appear to be especially true when it comes to traffic violations. Whether an individual drives slightly above the speed limit, fails to completely stop at a stop sign or momentarily crosses the centerline, a police officer could find it to be serious enough to initiate a traffic stop. As minor as that may seem, for many motorists in Tennessee, these stops could lead to DUI charges.

The stop itself, of course, doesn't lead to drunk driving charges, but the results of field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests can. One of the most common field sobriety tests utilized by the police is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Here, a police officer holds a small object about a foot away from a driver's nose, then moves the object from side-to-side. The driver is supposed to follow the object with his or her eyes without moving their head

DUI convictions mean mandatory jail time in Tennessee

As someone who enjoys having the occasional night out with friends to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, you likely understand that such activities come with certain risks. For instance, even if you do not feel impaired, if you get behind the wheel of a vehicle and an officer considers you intoxicated, you could face a serious predicament. Handling such an issue may seem daunting.

As in all states, Tennessee has a per se blood-alcohol content level of .08 percent. This fact means that even if you feel and act fine, a police officer may still charge you with driving while intoxicated if a breath or blood test reveals that your BAC level has reached or exceeded this level. When such a situation occurs, you may fear the potential consequences.

Tennessee woman faces white collar crime charges

Many Tennesseans are entrusted with the money of others as part of their job. Servers handle cash used to pay a restaurant for food, bank tellers handle clients' money for deposit and company accountants may handle transactions and recordkeeping for large businesses. These individuals are entrusted with a significant responsibility, which means when anything goes wrong financially, these individuals may be the first subjected to accusations of criminal wrongdoing.

One Tennessee woman is in that position now after being charged with embezzling more than $800,000 from the bank at which she worked. According to reports, the woman, who served as the bank's assistant vice president, was recently arrested and charged with two counts related to theft in excess of $250,000. Authorities claim that the woman used her position at the bank to steal customer's money, then falsified records in an attempt to conceal her activities.

Understanding the right to remain silent

The criminal law system exists to punish those who are deemed guilty of having committed specified criminal offenses. Yet, the law also seeks to balance the interest in public safety with the protection of governmental overreach. Therefore, laws related to searches and seizures, suspect interviews and even the rules of evidence seek to ensure fairness. When a criminal defendant's rights are violated, he or she may be in a difficult position facing severe penalties that may include prison, fines and damage to his or her reputation. Therefore, it is critical that individuals know their rights and how best to protect them.

One of the rights afforded to individuals is the right to remain silent. This right must be read to a suspect as part of the Miranda rights. Additionally, these rights specify that a suspect has the right to have an attorney present during any interrogation by the police. While these rights can go a long way toward protecting an individual, they are only enacted if invoked by a suspect. This means that those who indicate that they understand their rights but continue to talk may have any evidence gathered from that interview used against them in during a criminal trial.

Criminal defense and suppressing evidence

If you're being charged with a criminal offense, then the prosecution probably has evidence that it feels is strong enough to obtain a conviction. Since a conviction can bring a whole host of penalties to your doorstep, including prison, fines and damage to your reputation, you need to do everything you can to try to draw that evidence into question. Although you can try to point out witnesses' biases and put forth an alibi, one of the best ways to secure a strong criminal defense is by suppressing evidence.

There are a number of ways that evidence can be suppressed. Perhaps most commonly, evidence may be disallowed from being admitted into evidence when it is shown that it was obtained through an illegal search and seizure. Generally speaking, police officers can only subject you to a search and seizure if they have a search or arrest warrant, or if they have probable cause. If they have none of these justifications, then any search may be illegal. Any evidence gathered as part of that illegal search may thus be suppressed.

We advocate for those accused of drunk driving

Previously, this blog discussed the consequences that could result when a minor is found guilty of drinking and driving. The penalties can be significant, including license suspension for a year or more for a first offense. Additionally, a minor may be required to pay a fine, engage in community service and face the consequences of having a criminal conviction on his or her record.

While juveniles can certainly be affected by allegations of drunk driving, adults face the potential for even harsher penalties. These individuals, if convicted, can face jail time, license suspension, license revocation, hefty fines, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and damage to their personal and professional lives. In fact, a DUI conviction could cause an individual to lose his or her job and have difficulty securing future employment and housing, particularly if the offense was classified as a felony.

What is copyright infringement?

The federal government recognizes the value of the creation of artistic works, which is why copyright laws have been put into place. However, these laws are often violated, many times unintentionally. Yet, copyright infringement is treated very seriously under the law, and those who are accused of violating these laws can be confronted with serious penalties.

So, what exactly is copyright infringement? Copyright infringement occurs when another violates an individual's rights under the law, whether it is another individual, a company or the state. The laws that are protected under copyright law include the right to reproduce and distribute a work, create derivative works and perform the work publicly. By protecting these rights, the government seeks to ensure a creator's artistic and financial interests are held intact. Although many instances of copyright infringement result in civil litigation, in some cases it can rise to the level of criminal activity.

Types of white collar crime

Many people use the term "white collar crime" without really understanding what it means. You, like others, may assume that it encompasses crimes committed by business executives and managers. That may be true, but only in part.

It's not necessary to be an executive or manager to end up facing accusations of this category of crimes. Anyone from a cashier to the CEO of a major corporation can face charges for a white collar crime. If prosecutors and investigators throw around this terminology to describe the crime of which you are accused, it may help to understand what types of crimes fall into this category.

Man arrested on numerous weapons and drug charges

An arrest for allegations related to drugs in Tennessee can come in many different forms and the circumstances will determine how severe the charges are. People who have been arrested before must be vigilant to this reality. Some allegations carry with them serious consequences. Others are lower level and allow the possibility for the person to reduce charges. No matter what kind of drug charges are alleged, everyone who was placed under arrest for drugs must make sure to lodge a defense from the beginning.

A 23-year-old man faces multiple charges linked to drugs after an arrest. The man was walking through a housing area when he spotted law enforcement officers and walked the other way. The officers were in the area to investigate an assault that was not connected to this man. They became suspicious and witnessed the man place an item under a child who was seated in a stroller. They spoke to him regarding the assault and he is said to have seemed nervous. The man went into a residence and left the child with a woman and the officers. An officer saw a baggie under the child.

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