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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 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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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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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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Campbell County criminal defense attorney

Whether you are pulled over, arrested, and taken into custody for a DUI or some other crime, you will want to know about the Miranda Warning. It is a key component of a police officer’s proper custodial procedures and must be followed in the correct sequence and responded to with the appropriate measures in order to ensure your Fifth Amendment rights are not violated. In addition, if you pay close attention to the Miranda Warning for your case, you might be able to help your criminal defense lawyer build on his or her strategy in defending you. 

What Is the Miranda Warning?

The Miranda Warning is a statement that arresting officers must read to you if they take you into custody and intend on questioning you. It reads as follows:

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