TACDL
Nashville Bar Association
Tennessee Bar Association

Practice Areas

Domestic Violence

For an assault or aggravated assault to be considered domestic in nature, the parties involved must be either current or former spouses, intimate partners, family members or roommates. A person can be charged with domestic violence for physical harm to another person, unwanted contact or threats of violence. Domestic violence is taken very seriously by the District Attorney’s Offices in the state of Tennessee and prosecuted as such. It is vital to have an experienced attorney on your side if charged with any crime involving domestic violence.

Criminal Citations

A criminal citation is considered an arrest in Tennessee. Citations are issued for misdemeanor offenses that do not exceed a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. Simple possession of drugs, thefts under $1,000.00, public intoxication and prostitution or examples of charges where citations can be issued. Failure to report to be booked on a citation will lead to a warrant for an arrest.

Driving Under the Influence

Any person that is found to be driving or in physical control of a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08% can be charged and arrested for DUI. DUI convictions, at any level, carry a mandatory minimum jail time, probation, loss of driver’s license for at least one year and alcohol treatment. DUIs are considered to be misdemeanors but a fourth conviction or more can be charged as a felony. A DUI can be enhanced by having previous DUI conviction(s) and result in significant jail time. It is very important to have an experienced attorney who can fight for you if charged with DUI.

Drug Crimes

Being charged with a drug crime that is not considered to be simple possession is a felony in the state Tennessee. Drug crimes can range all the way from an E-Felony, less serious, to an A-Felony, very serious, depending on the drug that was being sold are intended to be sold. Possession alone of drugs is usually not enough for prosecutors to prove a felony possession. Prosecutors must prove that it was the intent of the person to deliver, sell or manufactory the drug. Being present where drugs are found is not sufficient proof of possession. In determining whether an individual had the intent to deliver, sell or manufacture drugs, officers along with the prosecutor will look to the amount of drugs found along with other devices such as scales, cash, and packaging. Furthermore, any evidence seized from an unlawful search cannot be used by prosecutors against you.

Divorce

Tennessee recognizes two types of divorce: fault and no-fault. No Fault or an uncontested divorce is the shortest and least expensive path to dissolve a marriage. Contested or at fault divorce can be both lengthy and costly. The process starts once a spouse makes the appropriate court filing. Most divorces settle by entering into a Marital Dissolution Agreement that covers all issues including child custody, child support and division of marital property.

Child Custody

Each parent deserves to spend as much time as possible with their children. Tennessee child custody laws are designed with that goal in mind. Parenting plans are written and the product of lengthy negotiations between all parties. The plan must serve the child’s best interest. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, then the judge will decide at a trial.

Child Support

Parents have a legal responsibility to financially support their children. Child support is designed to maintain the child’s standard of living. By law, the amount is calculated examining both parents income, parenting time and the number of supported children. Child support orders are enforced and in some cases can be modified.

Orders of Protection

The intent of an order of protection is to protect a victim from their abuser. An order of protection is meant to be used as a shield and a not a sword. Orders of protection or civil in nature and have no bearing on any connected criminal charge that might have led to the issuance of the order of protection. An individual that takes out and order of protection is considered the petitioner and the individual that receives service of an order of protection is considered the respondent. Any individual that is served a temporary order of protection has fifteen days to be heard in court in front of a Judge concerning the merits of the petition. A temporary order of protection is not considered to be admissible until the respondent has received service of the petition and made known of its existence.

Expungements

On July 1, 2017, a new law went into effect that allows Tennessee residents convicted of no more than two (2) offenses to have those offenses expunged from their records, pursuant to T.C.A. 40-32-101 (k), provided each of the offenses are eligible for expunction under TCA § 40-32-101 (g) and are either two (2) misdemeanors or one (1) felony and one (1) misdemeanor.

Only certain crimes are eligible for expunction; they must be non-violent, non-DUI and non-sexual crimes. Crimes eligible are most misdemeanors and some Class E felonies, including forgery, theft, vandalism, and fraudulent or false insurance claim, among others.