Help Decide Your Future – Vote in Knox County (July 18 – August 7, 2014)

voteHave you voted yet?  This post will compile important information for you and your friends for the August 7, 2014 Knox County Elections.

Citizens in Knox County will have the opportunity to early vote from today (July 18, 2014) through Saturday, August 2, 2014.  And if you only ever vote in the presidential elections (or not at all), you are REALLY missing out.  Local elections like these arguably have some of the largest impacts on your life.

How will that divorce / order of protection / injury case you or someone you know turn out?  Will that criminal down the street get punished, or will that falsely-accused friend of yours get acquitted of charges?  Will the city / county / state representatives do you proud and make this state a better place to live?  These considerations (and FAR more) will be affected by how the citizens of Knox County vote (or fail to vote) in these local elections – don’t miss your chance to have your say.

To learn more about the Knox County Elections, click here to go to http://www.knoxcounty.org/election/.  Or, if you want to know the Early Voting Schedule and where you can vote, click here.  You can click here if you would like to see a list of the offices on the ballot, but if you want to see a sample ballot for who is running, click here.

So remember to early vote or, if you can’t get to a early voting location, then remember to vote on August 7, 2014.  These decisions will affect you and/or people you know if the future, so you should have your say.

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The author of Defending Tennessee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee (please click here for contact information).  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com, or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to Defending Tennessee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.  “Defending Tennessee” is a privately-ran legal blog and is not a public legal aid agency.

 

New Law Criminalizing Drugs While Pregnant – Madisonville Woman First to be Prosecuted

What should be done when an expectant mother’s drug abuse harms or kills her child?

In answer to this, on April 29, 2014, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that allows criminal prosecution of mothers and expectant mothers who take narcotic drugs while pregnant if the baby is harmed, born addicted, or dies as a result.  This law went into effect on July 1, 2014 (click here to read Senate Bill 1391).

Now, Mallory Loyola (26 y/o) of Madisonville, TN, is the first to face prosecution under this new law.  Two days after giving birth, Ms. Loyola was arrested and charged for Simple Assault.  Both Ms. Loyola and her child tested positive for amphetamines, and Ms. Loyola is reported to have “admitted to smoking meth three to four days before giving birth to her child.”  (Click here for the news article posted by the Tennessean).  In Tennessee, Simple Assault is a Class A Misdemeanor, carrying with it possible punishment including incarceration of up to 11 months and 29 days (plus fines and court costs).

Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens is reported stating “[c]hildren need the chance and it’s sad when you see children who come out born into the world already addicted to drugs.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is reported to plan a challenge to this law as they claim “[t]his dangerous law unconstitutionally singles out new mothers struggling with addiction for criminal assault charges.”  (Click here to read the news article posted by OpposingViews.com).

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The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee.  If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click here for Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation.  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.  “Defending Tennessee” is a privately-ran legal blog and is not a public legal aid agency.

Tennessee to Conduct DUI Checkpoints this Independence Day Weekend

DUI-Checkpoint

Starting today, July 3, 2014, and continuing through July 6, 2014, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (“THP”) has announced a “No Refusal” weekend (click here to read THP’s Media Release).  Sobriety checkpoints have long been used on public roadways and have been deemed constitutional in Tennessee as long as certain procedures are followed.  Also, as you have previously read, if you are suspected of Driving Under the Influence, your blood can be taken without your permission to be used as evidence against you in court.

Of course, there are other types of checkpoints that sobriety checkpoints – click here for THP’s list of checkpoints this Independence Day weekend.  Please keep in mind that this is certainly not an exhaustive list, does not address any checkpoints that your local authorities may be setting up, and all law enforcement officers are sure you be on the look-out for those driving under the influence this weekend.

In short, please be careful while celebrating this weekend.  Also, remember that if you or a loved one is unfortunately charged with DUI or another crime, you are innocent until proven guilty and you should contact a skilled attorney in your area immediately to set up a consultation.

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The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee.  If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click herefor Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation.  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.

U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Rules on Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

 

Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is [ ] simple— get a warrant.

Riley v. California, 573 U.S. ____ (2014).

Warrantless cell phone searches have been addressed a couple of times by TNLawyerLee (here and here).  But as of today, there is a new development out of the United States Supreme Court, significantly limiting warrantless police searches of cell phones: police generally cannot search a cell phone during an arrest without a warrant.  To read the USA Today article on Riley v. California, click here.  To read the full court opinion, click here.

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The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee.  If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click herefor Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation.  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.

Lasers – A New Way to Catch Drunk Drivers?

Image from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/08/device-laser-alcohol-cars_n_5453696.html "An illustration of how two lasers involved in the study reflected off of mirrors to reveal the presence of alcohol vapors in a test car."

Image from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/08/device-laser-alcohol-cars_n_5453696.html
“An illustration of how two lasers involved in the study reflected off of mirrors to reveal the presence of alcohol vapors in a test car.”

One of the greatest joys of writing this law blog is keeping up to date on current issues and developments in the law.  Today’s short post deals with an intriguing technological development that its developers hope will aid police in detecting individuals who are drinking and driving.

In Poland, scientists have developed a new “laser-based device that can detect alcohol vapor–like that exhaled by someone who’s been drinking–inside a car as it passes by,” reports Jacqueline Howard of The Huffington Post (to view the full article, click here).  While this device is not exactly close to being implemented in Tennessee, it is interesting to think for a second through some possibilities and ramifications of this device.

Of course, new technology aiding police in apprehending suspects is not a novel concept.  However, radar guns, breathalyzers, and any other system is susceptible to making mistakes.  The proposed laser device will have its own problems to work through, such as what if you are driving and your passenger is intoxicated (but you are not)? Just that simple hypothetical situation might draw into question the reasonableness of a stop based on such technology (if more than one person is present in the car).

To read more about this intriguing technological development, click here.

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The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee.  If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click herefor Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation.  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.

Barroom Brawls – on Renzo Gracie and Tennessee Self-Defense

The professional fighting world has been abuzz after the arrest of celebrity Renzo Gracie following an altercation this past Monday.

For the readers who do not follow MMA closely, Renzo Gracie is a professional fighter and a member of the Gracie Family, famed for their development of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (or “BJJ”).  BJJ is a ground fighting martial art which allows a smaller, weaker opponent to defeat a larger, stronger opponent and so has been trained extensively by many (if not most) MMA competitors.  BJJ is often mixed by competitors with other martial arts such as boxing, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Judo (hence the name mixed martial arts).

Which brings us back to this past Monday, when Renzo Gracie and friends were at a nightclub in New York.  While it is yet unclear how the altercation began, Renzo Gracie was allegedly observed throwing a bouncer to the ground, leaving the bouncer with a broken arm.  Other bouncers as well as Renzo Gracie’s friends joined.  As reported by mmajunkie.com, “[t]wo witnesses said the men were ‘executing roundhouse kicks and other martial arts maneuvers’; one witness added that a man began to choke him by grabbing his tie, ‘and that as a result of the ensuing struggle,’ he ‘suffered substantial pain to his left knee and right shin.'”  Renzo Gracie was taken into custody, made bail of $10,000 on the same day, and was due in court today to face charges of assault in the third degree.  As of this post, there is no news yet as to the outcome of today’s court hearing.  (mmajunkie.com and msn.foxsports.com were both relied upon for facts stated in this paragraph, click here and here to read each respective article).

While fantastical fight scenes like the ones seen in movies might be coming to mind, most MMA practicioners would probably agree that in most scenarios, fights are better avoided if possible.  However, it must be admitted that there are scenarios where, under the law, people must be able to defend themselves or else be at the mercy of any wrong-doer.  In Tennessee, a person’s violent actions can give rise to being charged with many criminal offenses (domestic assault, aggravated assault, and murder to just name a few), but in certain situations, justified actions can be acceptable forms of self-defense.  The Tennessee Self-Defense statute (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-611) states in part:

(b) (1) Notwithstanding § 39-17-1322, a person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and is in a place where the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat before threatening or using force against another person when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.

(2) Notwithstanding § 39-17-1322, a person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and is in a place where the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat before threatening or using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, if:

(A) The person has a reasonable belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury;

(B) The danger creating the belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury is real, or honestly believed to be real at the time; and

(C) The belief of danger is founded upon reasonable grounds.

Of course far more than the excerpt of this statute is needed for an understanding of Tennessee Self-Defense law (click here to read Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1322), you should of course consult with an attorney if you have any questions, and of course Renzo Gracie’s criminal charges are in New York (a.k.a. Tennessee law doesn’t apply), but this author will watch this case with interest to see whether Renzo Gracie’s actions on Monday are deemed legally acceptable.

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The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee.  If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click herefor Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation.  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.

Let’s Talk Marijuana – Updates Involving the Controversial Plant

Let’s Talk Marijuana.

Within the past year, you might have heard how Colorado and Washington have “legalized” marijuana.  While the plant still remains illegal in Tennessee (indeed, under certain circumstances possession of marijuana can turn a Tennessean into a convicted felon), the Huffington Post published an article Tuesday touting the benefits Denver has enjoyed since recreational marijuana sales were legalized (click here to read the entire article, video included).  While many opposing any sort of legalization of marijuana argued that crime rates might go up, it is reported that Denver’s crime rate has actually fallen (click here to see denvergov.org’s statistics).  Additionally, the Huffington Post reports “[n]early $13 million has been added to state coffers in tax and licensing fees from Colorado’s recreational and medical marijuana markest — $7.3 million of that from recreational marijuana.”

However, one misconception this author often encounters is that people think marijuana is actually legal in those states.  Rather it must be understood that while states may attempt to legislate marijuana, or to “legalize” it, marijuana is still illegal under federal law.  This is a lesson some citizens find out the hard way, like the Harvey family from Washington is currently discovering.  As reported by theguardian.com, “Larry Harvey, a 70-year-old medical marijuana patient with no criminal history, three of his relatives and a family friend each face mandatory minimum sentences of at least 10 years in prison after they were caught growing about 70 pot plants on their rural, mountainous property.”  (click here to read the entire article).  Moral of the story – just because the state government doesn’t prosecute you doesn’t mean the federal government cannot.

Of course with medical marijuana appearing on the ballot later this year in Florida, there are many still against the legalization of marijuana (click here for just one example), so this will continue to be an interesting topic to watch.

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The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee.  If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click herefor Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation.  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.