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Understanding Tennessee's arson law

A person can own a wide variety of goods and property; thus, laws have been passed to protect these items, especially if they are damaged, destroyed or even stolen. There are a number of laws in Tennessee that pertain to theft and property crimes. These offenses often vary in severity and the penalties they carry, which are oftentimes linked to the value of property that was stolen or damaged. As with any criminal charge, there are usually strong criminal defense options available to those who have been accused. Putting forth a strong criminal defense requires a knowledge of the law, though, which starts with understanding the applicable statutes.

Take for example arson. Under Tennessee law, an individual commits arson when he or she causes damage to a structure by use of fire either without the property owner's consent or with the intent to collect some form of insurance that is attached to the damaged property. Before prosecutors can obtain a conviction, they must prove every element of this crime, as well as establish that the act was knowingly made. This level of intent can be difficult for prosecutors to prove, which means that defendants have a window of opportunity to show reasonable doubt.

Money laundering laws in Tennessee

Financial crimes could result in serious charge. Often referred to as white collar crimes, financial crimes are treated very seriously not only by those who are alleged victims but also by law enforcement officials. Detectives and prosecutors alike work diligently to build cases against those they believe to have committed one of these offenses, which means that those who are accused of committing a white collar crime need to be prepared to fight back against a significant amount of evidence that may look bad for them. If they fail to know the law and put forth a strong criminal defense, then they could wind up facing serious penalties.

One offense that can leave an individual in this position is money laundering. Tennessee law defines money laundering as knowingly using money obtained from illegal means in a financial transaction with the intent to conceal the source of those funds. Oftentimes, this type of offense goes hand-in-hand with other crimes, such as drug trafficking. Those who are convicted of this crime can be hit with felony-level penalties, which oftentimes includes significant prison time and severe fines.

Nashville firm challenging flawed field sobriety test results

The penalties that can be imposed following a drunk driving conviction can be quite significant. An individual may be sent to jail, forced to pay fines and even have his or her license suspended or revoked. The mark subsequently made to one's criminal record can make it difficult to find employment and housing, too, and one's reputation may be damaged beyond repair.

As frightening as this may sound to those who are facing drunk driving charges, the truth of the matter is that there are criminal defense options available to most individuals. For example, as we have discussed previously on this blog, many field sobriety tests, while used as focal points of many prosecutions, are deeply flawed. Errors made by law enforcement officers can lead to false arrests, threatening an innocent individual with serious penalties.

Driving impaired doesn't just mean driving drunk

Your doctor may prescribe you medication for any number of injuries or illnesses or you may stop off at a drug store for an over-the-counter medication for whatever ails you. Some of these drugs say right on the bottle that they may cause drowsiness. Even so, you need to get to work or some other destination, so you go ahead and drive while taking either an OTC or prescription medication.

After all, they are legal and you sometimes drive when you haven't had enough sleep. It's not like you are taking illegal drugs or consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Tennessee seeing more drug overdose murder charges

Tennesseans who face drug charges have a lot on the line. Despite some states relaxing their drug laws, Tennessee still aggressively pursues those who it believes have broken the law. Therefore, even minor drug crimes can result in harsh penalties, and avoiding them can be difficult unless one puts forth a strong criminal defense. This can be even truer when drug charges quickly escalate to murder and attempted murder charges.

Under Tennessee law, an individual can be charged with second-degree murder or attempted murder if another individual is killed as a result of a defendant's unlawful distribution of either a Schedule I or Schedule II drug. In order to obtain a conviction under this statute though, it must be shown that the drug or drugs in question actually caused the victim's death. This can be difficult, as homicide investigators may fail to recognize that drugs are involved in a death, or an autopsy may not be conducted to determine an official cause of death.

The walk-and-turn field sobriety test may be flawed

Being pulled over by the police can put just about anyone on edge. The imbalance of power can make an individual feel nervous, and for good reason too. Oftentimes, traffic stops are made for one reason, but officers keep their eyes open for evidence of other crimes. Drug and firearm possession, as well as drunk driving may be suspected upon an initial traffic stop. When criminal allegations fly, accused individuals need to ensure that they do everything they can to protect themselves, lest they face serious penalties.

In the drunk driving context, an accused individual may be able to challenge the validity and accuracy of field sobriety tests. Amongst these is the walk-and-turn test. This field sobriety test requires a driver to walk in a straight line with his or her arms held out to the side. Each step, generally nine of which are taken in each direction, should be made by placing heel-to-toe. Once nine of these steps have been taken, the test subject is supposed to turn around and take nine similar steps back to the starting position.

Credit card fraud carries harsh penalties upon conviction

The holiday season can bring many things. This time of year we are often exposed to an increase in the number of news stories related to theft and fraud. This year is expected to be no different, as allegations will be made that packages were stolen from doorsteps, cars were broken into, homes were burgled and debit and credit card information was illegally obtained. That means that this holiday season, instead of enjoying time with their loved ones, many Tennesseans will find themselves on the receiving end of criminal charges.

One criminal offense that may be alleged is the fraudulent use of a credit or debit card. This may be especially true as more reports of credit card skimmers are being made. Under Tennessee law, it is illegal for an individual to possess a debit or credit card in a knowing fashion without the card owner's consent. It is also against the law to allow another individual to use the credit or debit card of another for a fraudulent purpose. These offenses may also include manufactured credit cards that contain fraudulently obtained financial information.

Nashville firm pushing back against prosecutors

Some offenses, like burglary, are quite serious; while prosecutors may treat others, like vandalism, relatively minor. When it comes to theft and property crimes, Tennessee has a number of laws on the books. Yet, those who find themselves being accused of theft and property crimes need to ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect themselves when entering the legal arena. Failing to do so could result in significant penalties being imposed.

A criminal conviction can flip your life upside down. Your freedom may be ripped from you if you are sentenced to prison and even those who escape prison may wind up restricted via some form of community corrections. Additionally, a conviction can leave you with the obligation to pay restitution and a significant fine. Your record could be blemished too, meaning that, even if you successfully serve your sentence, you may struggle to carry out a normal life. Your housing applications may be denied, your job prospects minimized and your educational opportunities diminished.

More than your driver's license may be at risk with a DUI

You may be one of many Tennessee residents whose job requires a special license or certification. Such jobs are often vocations rather than careers, such as teaching or practicing medicine. Various types of situations could place your professional license at risk. For instance, if you face criminal charges, such as DUI, and the court hands down a conviction, you may have a difficult time keeping your current job as well as finding a new job down the line.

A mere accusation against you does not constitute guilt. Many times, the ultimate outcome of a particular situation is of more overall importance to your career and professional reputation than an immediate circumstance. In short, the more you can do to build a strong defense and avoid a conviction, the better because although it may be possible, it is not likely you would lose your career license on the grounds of an arrest, alone.

Nashville man facing serious drug charges

It's no secret that an opiate epidemic is taking the nation by storm. While this may mean that drug overdoses and state involvement to protect children may increase, it also means that more individuals are facing opiate-related drug charges. In an attempt to curtail opiates, law enforcement and prosecutors are aggressively pursuing those they believe are contributing to the epidemic. Those on the receiving end of these pursuits can find themselves staring at the possibility of being incarcerated for a significant period of time.

One Nashville man is in this position now after being taken into custody on charges related to drug distribution. According to reports, Metro Nashville police stopped the accused man back in February, which resulted in his arrest. The police then obtained a warrant to search a storage unit that they claim contained guns, items related to drug processing, 10 kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of heroin. Reports also state that 40 grams of fentanyl was seized.

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Rob McGuire Law
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