Lebanon Tennessee Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Attorneys practicing auto, trucking, motorcycle and all personal injury law and DUI, Assault, Seizure and all Criminal Law.
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Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

137 Public Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
615.444.2900
FAX (615) 444-6516
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April is Distracted Driving Month - What Are The Laws?

The month of April is "Distracted Driving" month - what does that mean for you as a Tennessee driver?

 

It is not illegal to use your hand held or hands free cell phone while driving in Tennessee if you are over the age of 18. It is illegal to use a cell phone or hands free device if you are under 18 and have either a learner's permit or intermediate license or if you are a bus driver with passengers onboard. It is not illegal if it is an emergency and, in the case of young drivers, calling parents can be considered an emergency. It is illegal in Tennessee for anyone to text while driving.

 

Tennessee is one of 41 states where it is illegal to text while you are driving. Your car has to actually be moving for you to break this law, so it's not illegal to send a text while you're at a stoplight or stopped in traffic. Texting while driving is considered a "primary offense" in Tennessee, which means the police officer can see you texting on your phone and pull you over for that reason alone. Once you are pulled over, you will be subject to any further infractions of Tennessee state law the officer might find, such as not having your seatbelt on, driving while intoxicated, or driving on a suspended license. If you are ticketed with only texting while driving, you will be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a $50 fine plus court costs (not to exceed $10). You will have 3 points charged against your driving record, which may increase your insurance premium at renewal. If you elect to go to court, you can request the option of taking a Safe Driving Course to prevent the points from being applied against your license.

 

If your child with a learner's permit or intermediate license is charged with talking on the phone or texting while driving, they will be charged with 6 points against their driving record (the limit is 12 in Tennessee before suspension) and there will be a mandatory 90 day waiting period before they can apply for their intermediate or unrestricted drivers license. If they have not had other offenses that have put them in traffic court, they should ask the Judge to allow them to take a driver's safety course to prevent the ticket from affecting their driving record and your insurance.

 

If you are texting while driving and a police officer sees you weaving out of your lane or rolling through a stop sign, you can be charged with Reckless Driving, which is still a Misdemeanor, but with substantially higher fines and court costs as well as more serious implications for your driving record. If you are a truck driver or drive a company car for your job, conviction of this offense could affect your ability to work and you should consider consulting an attorney.

If you are texting while driving and cause an accident, you could be charged with reckless endangerment. In addition to a serious criminal charge, this will cause you to be "at fault" for the accident and open the door to hefty civil reparations to the other driver involved.

 

If you are texting while driving and cause an accident in which someone dies, you could be charged with criminally negligent homicide. If convicted, you could face 1-6 years in jail, a fine up to $3,000, and court costs.

 

There are consequences to being convicted of crimes that aren't generally known and some are specific to a small group of people. Did you know that being convicted of a misdemeanor, no matter how small, means that you are automatically ineligible to apply for or receive state funded loans or grants? Or that if you have been convicted of any type of offense, you cannot register as an interior designer? There are several types of licensed professionals whose ability to obtain or keep their license can be restricted or taken away if they are convicted of even a minor criminal offense.

 

If you need help on any of the above, I and my associate attorneys and legal staff have had years of experience defending people charged with any and all types of crimes. We understand that even the smallest criminal charge on your record can affect your ability to pursue your career, manage your business, and support your family.

 

Let us know if we can help.

 

Frank Lannom

 





LANNOM & WILLIAMS
137 Public Square Lebanon, TN 37087
Via Phone: (615) 444-2900 Via Facsimile: (615) 444-6516 Toll Free: (866) 820-4457

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511 Union Street, Suite 1850 Nashville, TN 37219
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