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Anderson County DUI Defense LawyerThe risk of causing injuries or death is the primary reason why drunk driving is treated as such a serious criminal offense in Tennessee and throughout the U.S. When a drunk driver does actually cause an injury or fatality, the consequences they face can be especially severe. However, those who have been charged with a DUI offense involving injury or death do still have rights. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help to protect these rights and ensure that a defendant is treated fairly under the law.

Tennessee DUI Offenses Involving Injury or Death

According to Tennessee law, there are three different criminal offenses that may apply when a drunk driver injures or kills another person. The first of these, known as vehicular assault, occurs when a drunk driver causes serious—but not fatal—bodily injury. Typically, this means that the injuries result in disfigurement or loss of bodily function, or that they pose a substantial risk of death. Vehicular assault is a Class D felony, and an offender can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum incarceration period of 48 hours, along with a longer prison sentence and substantial fines. An offender's license can also be revoked for at least a year, with no possibility of a restricted driver’s license.

If a drunk driver causes a fatality, they can instead be charged with vehicular homicide. This is a Class B felony offense, which may result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years and fines of up to $25,000. A driver who is convicted of vehicular homicide will also have their license revoked for between 3 and 10 years.

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Oakridge Wrongful Death LawyerA fatal car accident can strike at any time, and it is one of the most tragic and shocking experiences that a family may be forced to go through. Coping with the unexpected loss of a loved one can be a lifelong challenge, but it may be possible to obtain financial relief to ease some of the burden through a wrongful death claim. Understanding some of the common factors involved in fatal car wrecks may help you know where to look for evidence of another driver’s negligence, especially if you have an experienced attorney on your side.

Fatal Car Crash Risk Factors

According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 1,135 fatalities in Tennessee motor vehicle accidents in 2019. Data from the State of Tennessee shows that this number increased in 2020, and it is on pace to increase yet again in 2021. Throughout the last few years, some of the most common factors in fatal car accidents have included:

  • Speeding - Traveling at high speeds, especially speeds that are unsafe for the road conditions, increases the risk of a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a stationary object. A vehicle’s speed at the time of impact can also influence the severity of the injuries suffered in the collision.

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Oak Ridge DUI Defense AttorneyIf you have been arrested and charged with DUI, you may feel that you have a poor chance of avoiding conviction and the serious consequences that come with it. It is certainly true that Tennessee prosecutors take DUI cases seriously, and they may have a strong case against you. However, an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you build a strong defense strategy that can stand up to the prosecution.

One important thing to understand about DUI cases is the types of evidence that the prosecution commonly uses to secure a conviction. With this knowledge, you may be better able to protect your rights.

Forms of Evidence in a DUI Case

In order to secure a DUI conviction, the prosecution must have evidence to demonstrate that you are guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors can use many different forms of evidence to support their case, including:

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Jacksboro Personal Injury LawyerWhen a semi-truck overturns on the highway, the driver is far from the only person at risk of being injured. The large size of a truck means that several other vehicles could be caught in the path of a rollover, or be unable to avoid an overturned truck that is obstructing the roadway. If you are injured in a rollover truck accident, it is important to understand the common causes of these crashes as you begin your pursuit of fair compensation.

Semi-Truck Rollovers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regularly maintains statistics regarding large truck accidents for the benefit of research like their Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Data from this study has revealed the following as some of the most common reasons for semi-truck rollover crashes:

  • Excessive speed - This not only includes cases in which the driver exceeded the posted speed limit, but also cases in which the driver was traveling too fast for the specific conditions at the time, including the weather, the road conditions, the size of the truck’s load, or the need to traverse a curve.

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Campbell County DUI Defense AttorneyIf you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Tennessee, you may face serious consequences. However, an arrest does not mean that a conviction is inevitable. You have the right to be represented by a defense attorney who can help you prepare a defense strategy and work to ensure that you are treated fairly. One strategy that could be successful is making the case that your charges should be reduced to reckless driving.

Defining DUI and Reckless Driving

Under Tennessee law, the offense of DUI is defined as driving or being in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance, such as alcohol, marijuana, or another drug. Driving or controlling a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 also meets the legal definition of DUI in Tennessee.

Reckless driving, on the other hand, requires no evidence of alcohol use or intoxication. There are a few specific situations that constitute reckless driving in Tennessee, but in general, a person commits the offense of reckless driving if they operate a motor vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for other people or property.

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Jacksboro Personal Injury AttorneyOver the last 10 years, data from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security indicates that distracted driving is a factor in more than 20,000 annual car accidents throughout the state. Due to the inherent difficulty of detecting driver distraction, it is likely that the actual number is significantly higher. Distractions can make a driver particularly susceptible to causing a rear-end collision, which may result in serious injuries to the occupants of the vehicle in front. If you have been injured in a rear-end collision with a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation.

What Makes Distracted Driving Dangerous?

Using a cell phone while driving is such a prevalent behavior nowadays that it is easy to overlook just how dangerous it can be. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a driver may take their eyes off of the road for up to 5 seconds or more while sending or reading a text message. During this time, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph can cover 100 yards of ground. With this in mind, it is easy to see how a texting driver can cause a rear-end collision, especially if traffic in front of them has slowed or stopped.

However, texting is far from the only distraction that can contribute to a car accident. Many drivers are susceptible to multitasking while behind the wheel, and activities like eating, grooming, attending to child passengers, reaching for an item in the car, or simply adjusting the radio or vehicle controls can take a driver’s hands, eyes, and attention away from the task of driving. A driver could also be distracted by a passenger inside the vehicle or something happening outside of the vehicle.

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Campbell County DUI AttorneyWhen you think of the typical DUI arrest, you most likely envision a situation that begins with a police officer signaling for a moving vehicle to pull over to the side of the road. However, you may have also heard stories of DUI arrests in situations where a person is sitting behind the wheel in a parked car. According to Tennessee law, it is, in fact, possible for a person to be arrested and convicted for DUI even if they were not actively driving at the time they were apprehended. If you find yourself in such a situation, an attorney can help you develop a strong defense strategy.

Tennessee DUI Laws

The Tennessee Motor Vehicle Code makes it clear that a DUI charge may apply in cases other than when a person is driving on a public road. For example, you may be charged with DUI if you are “in physical control” of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance. In addition to public roads and highways, you may be charged with DUI if you are found in an alley or on the premises of an apartment complex or trailer park, a shopping center, or any other place that is frequently visited by the public.

What Evidence Can Justify a DUI Charge?

When law enforcement officers make a DUI arrest of a person in a parked car, they may look at a variety of factors to establish probable cause that a DUI violation has occurred. Of course, they will need some evidence of intoxication, which may come from the officer’s sensory perceptions of the person’s condition, the presence of an open container of alcohol in or near the vehicle, the results of a field sobriety or breathalyzer test, or the person’s own admissions.

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Campbell County Personal Injury AttorneyUnder Tennessee law, if a person is injured in an accident or incident that is caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, they are entitled to pursue legal action against that party for financial compensation for their medical bills, loss of income, and other expenses associated with the accident. These are referred to as economic damages.

A victim is also able to pursue financial compensation for non-economic damages. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and other long-term or permanent effects the injuries caused in the victim’s life.

While there are no caps on the amount of economic damages a victim can collect, Tennessee is one of only 11 states that does have a cap on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded. Although there has been an ongoing debate about the fairness of that cap since it was passed in 2011, in a recent ruling the Tennessee Supreme Court has again affirmed the law.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Campbell County Criminal Defense AttorneyIn July 2020, Virginia became the 16th state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. In April of this year, Virginia lawmakers passed another bill that legalized simple possession of marijuana and limited home growth. That law just went into effect on July 1.

But here in Tennessee, marijuana use--whether recreational or medical-- is still completely banned. Given the changes in Virginia’s law, many law enforcement agencies that border Virginia say they will be on the lookout for an increase in black market activity and an increase in driving under the influence of marijuana, as well as any transporting the drug across state lines.

Tennessee Marijuana Penalties

Tennessee is one of only 14 states that has not yet authorized medical marijuana, despite polls that show more than 80 percent of residents support the measure. The state is also one of only a handful where a conviction for simple possession of pot will result in jail time.

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jacksboro fatal crash lawyerThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released early estimates of crash fatalities from 2020. The estimates show that despite the COVID-19 pandemic keeping Americans off the roads, there was a more than 7 percent increase in the number of victims killed in traffic accidents last year compared to 2019.

2020 Statistics

The NHTSA’s preliminary estimates show that approximately 38,680 victims were killed in traffic accidents in 2020, the highest number of fatalities since 2007. This increase occurred despite the number of vehicle miles traveled decreasing by more than 430.2 billion miles. There was a 9 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, a 5 percent increase in passenger vehicle fatalities, and a 5 percent increase in cyclist fatalities compared to 2019.

Fatal crashes rose 15 percent on urban highways and 11 percent on local and rural roads. According to the NHTSA’s report, the main causes of this increase include driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, speeding, and failure to wear seat belts. The number of fatal crashes increased significantly during the last two quarters of the year. This time period is also when states begin lifting pandemic restrictions.

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Jacksboro BUI defense lawyerThere is no better place to spend summer than in the state of Tennessee, especially with the abundance of beautiful lakes and state parks Campbell County has to offer. Both residents and visitors to the area have plenty of places to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities. Unfortunately, along with those activities often comes the consumption of alcohol. If you are planning on doing any kind of boating, it is important to be aware of the state’s new boating under the influence (BUI) law that recently went into effect.

Boating Under the Influence Law in Tennessee

In Tennessee, if a boat operator has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, that operator is considered over the legal limit, the same BAC applied to someone driving a vehicle. While it has always been illegal to operate a boat while under the influence in Tennessee, the penalties for conviction were not as harsh as those for driving under the influence (DUI). But the new law changes that. In fact, the law, which went into effect July 1, mirrors the state’s drunk driving laws.

Under the prior law, penalties were discretionary, meaning the sentencing judge had latitude. With the new law, all penalties are mandatory:

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campbell county dui defense lawyerA DUI can affect your life long after you have served your sentence and paid your fines. Many employers in Tennessee conduct background checks, so they will likely find out about your conviction. While finding a job may be trickier now, it is not impossible. If you are completely honest and show an employer that you are the right fit for the position, they may overlook the conviction.

Do You Have to Disclose Your DUI?

The “Ban the Box” movement has led many states to remove questions about a job applicant’s criminal history. In Tennessee, state employers may not ask about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial job application. However, the employer may ask about an applicant’s criminal history after the initial application screening. There is not currently legislation prohibiting questions about criminal history for private employers. Disclosing your DUI conviction on a job application or interview may seem daunting. However, employers may see the conviction on criminal background checks anyway, so it is important to be honest about your criminal history. 

How Do You Talk About Your DUI During an Interview?

If an employer asks about your criminal history during an interview, it is important to know what to say next. Here are some tips for improving your chances of getting a job with a DUI.

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campbell county car accident lawyerA car accident is a frightening event and can cause you to experience a wide range of emotions. If the accident was caused by another driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for the damages you endured. However, you may have heard certain myths about vehicle collisions that will reduce your chances of securing the financial compensation you need.

Here are several myths about Tennessee car accident cases that you should be aware of.

  • If you do not have an obvious injury, medical care is not necessary. Just because you do not have a visible injury after a car accident, does not mean you do not require a doctor’s care. Not every injury, including certain head and neck injuries, presents obvious symptoms right away. You may feel fine initially, but experience pain and other unpleasant symptoms later on. To play it safe, seek medical attention right after a car accident.

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Jacksboro car crash lawyerEveryone who drives a vehicle has the obligation to do so in a safe manner. If you fail to operate your vehicle in a manner that is safe for others, you could be responsible for any damages or injuries caused by the negligent operation. Unfortunately, negligent driving is not uncommon and leads to thousands of car accidents every year. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 6.7 million motor vehicle crashes reported to law enforcement across the country in 2019. In Illinois alone, there were more than 300,000 vehicle crashes in 2019. If you have been injured in a car accident with another driver, you should discuss your options for compensation with a skilled Illinois car accident injury lawyer. 

Speeding

Speeding is a notoriously dangerous driving behavior. Speed limits are posted for a reason -- to keep people safe. Driving above the speed limit can be considered an act of negligence, as it creates unsafe conditions for other drivers on the road and is against the law. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that around 26 percent of traffic fatalities in 2019 were attributable to speeding.

Distracted Driving

In recent years, distracted driving has also become a growing concern. Distracted driving occurs when a driver is paying attention to anything other than the task of driving. Distractions for drivers can appear in many forms, including distractions outside of the vehicle, such as looking at a traffic accident. However, the most common types of distractions occur within the vehicle. These distractions can be children or other passengers, the radio or other vehicle controls, or more notoriously, the driver’s cell phone or other electronic devices.

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tennessee drunk driving defense lawyerMost people would agree that one of the most serious crimes you could be charged with is killing or seriously injuring another human being. When this happens as a result of driving a vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face consequences not only for DUI, but also for injuring another person. In Tennessee, injuring another person while driving under the influence (DUI) is referred to as vehicular assault, while killing another person as a result of DUI is referred to as vehicular homicide. Both offenses are extremely serious and can result in harsh consequences upon conviction.

What is Vehicular Assault?

According to Tennessee law, vehicular assault occurs when a person is driving while under the influence and imposes serious bodily injury upon another person. Vehicular assault is charged as a Class D felony and carries a potential sentence of two to 12 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The severity of certain aspects of the penalties for vehicular assault depends on the number of DUI-related offenses you have had. For example, a person who has never faced any type of DUI offense would face a minimum of 48 hours in jail before any other sentence began, in addition to a one-year driver’s license suspension.

Understanding Vehicular Homicide

You do not necessarily have to be intoxicated to have committed vehicular homicide. There are a variety of actions that could be included under the vehicular homicide statute. Tennessee law states that vehicular homicide occurs when a person recklessly kills another person while operating a vehicle if their conduct created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, their behavior was a result of driving under the influence, if a person was drag racing or if they were in a construction zone and the victim was a highway worker or construction worker.

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campbell county car crash lawyerEverything can change in the blink of an eye. One minute, you are sitting in traffic, waiting for the light to turn green, the next minute, you are being thrown forward because the vehicle behind you rear-ended your car. Though it may have only seemed like a minor shock in the beginning, a car accident like that can end up leaving you with chronic pain in the neck and shoulders, broken bones, or even a concussion, depending on the severity of the accident. If you are injured in a car accident, you may be able to get financial compensation from the person who caused it.

Compensation for a Personal Injury

If you have been injured because another person acted in a negligent manner, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries from that person, or more likely, the person’s car insurance company. Some of the most common types of damages that are claimed in personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Economic damages - Economic damages are intended to compensate you for the monetary loss that you experience as a result of your injuries. These damages are those that are directly related to your incident, such as medical costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and the cost of any damage that occured to your property, such as your vehicle or things inside of your vehicle.

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tennessee dui lawyerIt is not difficult to be charged with a DUI in Tennessee. According to Tennessee law, a person is considered to be driving under the influence (DUI) if they are in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any “intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance...drug...or combination thereof,” that renders a driver unable to safely operate the vehicle. A driver is also considered to be driving under the influence if their blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or more, the Tennesse legal limit. If you are convicted of DUI or if you have even been arrested for DUI, it is likely that you will face a driver’s license suspension for at least a year. This can cause difficulty, but the option to apply for a restricted license exists to help those who are eligible. 

What is a Restricted License?

There are very strict restrictions that you must adhere to if you receive a restricted license after a DUI conviction or alcohol concentration test refusal. In Tennessee, you can only use the restricted license for things like:

  • Going to and from your place of employment

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rear end accidnet lawyerCar accidents occur every day in the United States, accounting for millions of injuries and tens of thousands of deaths each year. One of the most common types of car accidents is rear-end accidents. In a rear-end accident, at least two vehicles are involved. Most of the time, rear-end accidents occur when one vehicle is stopped and another vehicle comes along behind them and collides with the rear end of the stopped vehicle. Many rear-end accidents cause injuries that could have lifelong consequences and noticeably impact that person’s life. Thankfully, some rear-end accident injuries may allow you to file a personal injury claim against the other vehicle in Tennessee. 

Rear-End Accidents in America

Car accidents are extremely common in the United States. According to information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6.7 million car accidents were reported to law enforcement in 2019. Of those, nearly 2.2 million (or about 32 percent) of those accidents were rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions are notorious for causing some sort of damage, whether to the drivers involved or their vehicles. Even though the majority of rear-end collisions result in property damage only, the NHTSA states that nearly 600,000 of the rear-end accidents that occurred in 2019 involved some sort of physical injury to the drivers involved.

Who is At Fault?

Most of the time, rear-end car accidents are fairly straightforward as far as liability goes. In most cases, the rear vehicle that collides into the other vehicle is at fault for the accident. A few common scenarios that demonstrate fault on the rear vehicle are:

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Jacksboro criminal defense lawyerMany people do not realize just how precious the ability to drive is until it is taken away from them. In the state of Tennessee, there are many ways you could lose your driver’s license. According to the Tennessee Driver Services Division, you could lose your license for a variety of offenses, including obvious ones like DUI or drag racing and not-so-common ones, like fleeing from the scene of a traffic accident or driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license. Being convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license is a serious offense that could result in criminal charges.

Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License

According to Tennessee statutes, a person who is caught driving with a suspended, canceled, or revoked license is generally subject to a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a possibility of up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines. If the incident is the second offense a person has for driving with a suspended or revoked license, they will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential year-long jail sentence and up to $2,500 in fines.

Enhanced Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License

Penalties change if there are aggravating circumstances. For example, if your driver’s license was suspended because of a vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or DUI conviction, you may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and face a minimum of two nights in jail and the potential for the judge to add on up to $1,000 in fines. If the offense is your second offense of driving with a suspended license and the original suspension resulted from one of the crimes mentioned above, you face a Class A misdemeanor. You also face a minimum jail sentence of 45 days and up to $3,000 in fines.

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tennesse car crash lawyerIn the United States, having a vehicle is extremely important for much of the population. In many places, it can be nearly impossible to get around without a vehicle, causing more drivers on the road and an increased possibility of getting into an accident. The latest information available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that there were an estimated 6.7 million motor vehicle crashes reported to police in 2019. Car accidents often result in injuries, which can range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries, like a traumatic brain injury or broken bones. When filing a claim for compensation, you should understand some of the potential causes for the accident.

Common Causes for Motor Vehicle Accidents

We see car accidents on TV and hear about them on the news so frequently that they do not faze most people anymore unless they are particularly serious or eventful. However, the cause of many of these accidents can be traced back to a few common reasons. Some of the most common causes of serious car accidents in the U.S. include:

  • Distracted driving: In today’s world, one of the most common causes of car accidents is due to distracted drivers. According to the NHTSA, there were an estimated 424,000 people injured and another 3,142 people killed in accidents involving distracted drivers. Distractions while driving can include cell phones, GPS systems, passengers in the vehicle or even adjusting the vehicle controls.

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