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Read More It’s a question that no parent should ever have to ask themselves but, sadly, many parents are forced to – “Should I post bail when my child is addicted to drugs?”.

Opiate and benzodiazepines addictions are common today. Opiates are primarily pain killers (including Oxycontin and heroin) and a common benzodiazepine is Xanax. It is possible that one of your family or friends may use these drugs with or without a prescription. For many years, parents have seen their adult addicted child's arrest as a chance for them to get clean. Jail may have been the only untried option to break addiction and occasionally it just might work.

Today, we live in a different time with new stronger drugs and not posting bail in order to get the child "cleaned up" could be a death sentence.

When Tyler Tabor was booked in a jail outside Denver in 2015, he told a screening nurse that he was a daily heroin user and had a prescription for Xanax. A friendly 25-year-old with a wife and a son in kindergarten, Tabor had started using opioids after he injured his back on the job. When he was arrested on two minor warrants, his parents decided not to pay his $300 bail, believing he would be safer in jail and off heroin.

But Tyler died in jail three days later. The coroner’s report said the cause of death was dehydration and the alleged cause of dehydration was drug withdrawal. Dying from opiate withdrawal outside of jail is exceedingly rare because, with few exceptions, it is so preventable. Dehydration, a withdrawal symptom that kills, can be treated with an IV. It’s nearly unheard of to withdraw from opioids without slowly tapering off or having emergency medical care, according to Kevin Fiscella. Mr. Fiscella is an addiction specialist who sits on the board of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), which accredits correctional health services. “What’s happening in jails, it’s kind of a natural experiment to see what happens,” he says. “And in fact, some people do die. When a user quits opioids cold turkey, the body quickly starts to experience the opposite effects of the original drug, resulting in a rarely fatal but often tortuous withdrawal process that can persist for days or weeks. Where opioids reduce pain, withdrawal makes the body hypersensitive to it. Opioids induce euphoria; withdrawal feels like the world is going to end. Opioids cause constipation; withdrawal causes diarrhea and vomiting. If a person going through withdrawal can’t keep fluids down and is not given an IV, he or she can succumb to dehydration." [Lurie, Mother Jones Online, Feb 2017]

In my experience, jails will not give any opiates or benzodiazepines to addicted inmates during withdrawal. It is easier for them to have a blanket policy than deal with independent medical care for inmates. This is could well be a life or death decision. Withdrawal from opiates cause symptoms that result in death and sudden withdrawal from benzodiazepines can cause seizures that can kill.

I meet with as many parents as I do people incarcerated. I hate to see the pain of addiction and I share their desire for the child to live a good life without addiction. I see the relief of parents who worry every night whether their child is going to die of an overdose or get killed on the street. It’s easy to see how they would feel their child is safer in jail and think maybe they can rest for a few days without worry. Yet, when strong drugs are involved, there is a lot of danger in allowing a "cold turkey" withdrawal.

I have lost to many clients in recent years to drug addiction and now I fear I will lose more to withdrawal. These are good people, people just like you and me, except they are addicted to drugs. It’s time the penal system more adequately and humanely deals with addiction.

Humane. That is the word we should remember when we think about Taylor. We should think it when we read the last words 18-year-old Tori Herr said to her Mom before she died of dehydration in jail during her withdrawal, “I just want something to drink”. She had been arrested for shoplifting. Or when we envision David Stojcevski, a 32-year-old who died in the floor of his jail cell, convulsing and shivering, after 16 days of detoxing and losing over 50 pounds. David was in jail for not being able to pay a careless driving fine.

Taylor, Tori and David are just a few of the young people who died lonely and violently painful deaths in the penal system. They were put there for minor infractions of the law and left there by families who loved them and who thought they were doing the right thing for them.

Although, with more withdrawal deaths happening in jails across the United States, a strong argument to post bail and get professional or at least attentive care for our loved ones in these situations is easy to make. 

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I am an attorney.

This means I have the legal right to defend my client’s positions in a courtroom. Sometimes that means I undertake a position that the public disapproves of from time to time. In addition to the public, powerful people can and do disapprove of the citizens I represent. Powerful people who, if they choose to do so, had the ability to make my professional life difficult in many ways.

Many years ago, I faced this dilemma. I had to decide if I would accept a case in opposition to powerful people within the court system. It was a serious matter and the repercussions could have been critical enough to alter the course of my career. But I had a family to feed and, more importantly, everyone in our country is entitled to counsel in court. This is a right so fundamental that our Founders made it the 6th Amendment in the United States Constitution.

The decision I made on that day, now about 20 years ago, was that I would never turn down a client because it might displease a person in power if I took the case. I resolved to take those cases that no one else would. I determined to defend my clients with dignity and professionalism. I determined to be a gentleman in all aspects of the defense but to never alter my unwavering defense of my client.

Somedays it was a tough decision. In one instance a young man brought a case to me and told me no one would defend him because the alleged victim was literally in a position of power in the court system in which he would be prosecuted. I stopped and thought about the repercussions and remembered my previous decision. I took the case and defended my client while conducting myself with professionalism and acting as a gentleman. The case ended successfully for my client. The person in power remained in power after the case. However, instead of seeking retribution against me, they have since upon me twice to defend their interests, once in professional defense of their job and once in defense of their own family. I took this case as well, all the while defending them with zeal and conducting myself as a professional. That decision still helps my practice today. Those I have opposed have been my biggest source of referrals for their friends and family. You see, no one respects a coward or someone who will give in to the slightest pressure.

In a world where clothing lines are dropped from stores because someone complains about a political position, when businesses refuse to provide services to those of whom they disapprove, or when people refuse to perform their job in protest, I respectfully have a suggestion.

Do your job.

Do your job well and act professionally to your client or customer, whether you agree with them or not. Treat those who oppose you for doing your job with respect - yet continue to do your job. One day, you may be blessed as I have been and those who once opposed you will respect what you do and how you do it. They will come to you because you do your job and conduct yourself as a professional. They will come to you because you are kind and treated them with respect as much as you did those to whom they were opposed.

People aren't stupid. If you refuse to "go to bat" for someone when public or political pressure is applied, the public or those in political power won't trust you to have their back if they need you. Once you surrender your profession to perceived public opinion then YOU are the slave of public opinion and will have the respect of no one. This is a simple position, but one that has served me well for over 20 years. 

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom



 

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dui, domestic, assault, addiction, drugs, attorney, lawyerI usually spend my first meeting with a criminal defense client without so much as a pen or paper in hand. I do nothing but listen intently and gently ask questions while probing the issues that led to my client being charged with a crime. An attorney may be trained in the law, but the best criminal defense lawyers are good listeners who can identify with their client's lives and recognize the problems (even if the client doesn't) that have resulted in their current state of criminal charges. When the experienced lawyer listens, they will often find that mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction (and sometimes a combination of both), surfaces as the reason for the visit to their office.

The inexperienced criminal defense lawyer, or the over-burdened and understaffed public defender, either won't take the time or doesn't have the time to learn the root of the client’s problem. Failing to learn the root cause of why the person is charged with a crime can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration and a clean record versus a lifetime as convicted felon.

Prosecutors and Judges are real people with real responsibilities, just like the rest of us. They have a lot of cases and will often be reasonable if given a compelling reason to avoid trying a case. The key is simple, if you can find a root cause of a criminal act, you can remove the cause and reduce the chance of a crime ever occurring again. By doing this, I give my client the best chance at good results and good lives.

A good lawyer will spend enough time with their client to learn that addiction is the root cause of many crimes. Once the cause is found, I and my team of paralegals and investigators, can assist the client in addressing the addiction. By helping my client to identify and complete programs provided by addiction specialists in the medical field, attend in-patient and/or out-patient treatment, attain certified completion of treatment (resulting in clean drug screens), I can then show the prosecutor, the judge, and often even the victim that, if the client is allowed to stay out of jail, they don't have to worry about them committing other crimes. Why? Because we have identified and removed the fundamental cause of the client’s alleged criminal behavior.

Mental illness often leads clients to my office with charges related to violence. When people are suffering from untreated mental illness, crimes such as assault, domestic violence, fights with business partners, and sometimes the use of firearms can result. The untreated illness deprives the person of their sense of reason which results in acting out violently which leads to criminal charges. Very often, the victims are family members who knew the client before the onset of the illness. The victims may even desire a positive result for my client but are afraid that, if the illness continues untreated, more violence will occur. 

A client's undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness must be addressed and only through years of experience can a criminal defense lawyer recognize the signs of mental illness. The client seldom recognize their own need for treatment. I recently had a client who was a young woman struggling with untreated mental illness that resulted in her being charged with several crimes across several counties. You can read about my positive case result for her here. With time and patience, I can often get my clients to qualified therapists who can diagnose the problem. With a diagnosis, I can show the client, the victim, the judge, and the prosecutor that the cause is treatable. With treatment, the fear of future crimes can be greatly diminished. I then move from the diagnosis to a specific plan of treatment. Obligating my client through the court to continued participation in treatment and their following the treatment plans and staying on prescribed medication plans, increases the likelihood of continued treatment. The victims and attorneys for the state now have a concrete plan in place to give the client the help and treatment they need which greatly reduces the chance of future violence. All judges have the leverage to force the defendant to hold to their treatment plans. 

The result is often an improvement in my client’s life and a positive effect on their case. It is not uncommon for me to obtain dismissal of the crimes in their entirety or a significant reduction in the severity of the charges once the client completes the program of treatment. My method has been successfully applied to issues of mental illness and addiction with equally positive results.

This all comes down to the fact that I take the time to learn the root cause of the crime that brings the client to me seeking help. A solid plan to address and correct the problems leads to lessened sentences, dismissal of criminal charges, and a future that is unaffected by criminal convictions. Time spent with a client by an experienced attorney who understand a client’s true issues is vital to a good defense. If you are charged with a crime, I hope you will give me the chance to help you. But, no matter which attorney you choose, please choose an experienced criminal attorney who asks about your life, your circumstances, and the facts that lead you to them. The time a skilled professional spends talking to you about your life can be the difference in the quality and outcome of the rest of your life.

Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we mean it when we say we’re here to help you. Call us at (615) 444-3995 to schedule your confidential consultation.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom

Read More

Frank Lannom, Criminal Defense AttorneySeveral new laws took effect in Tennessee on January 1st. One prominent change in the law is that those convicted of Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication cannot receive probation. Common belief might be that such a law is supported by most all citizens and one in which there is little dispute, but that is not the case.

For many years our state has depended upon elected judges and District Attorneys to decide what cases and which individuals were appropriate for probation, primarily for any offense for the which the sentence is 10 years or less. The differences in the nature of an offense, the level of culpability, and other factors can be taken into effect by criminal defense lawyers proposing the positive aspects of their clients and their cases. Yet politicians seemingly cannot trust anyone, judges, juries or prosecutors with decision making without the politician injecting their "wisdom" to dictate the outcome of cases that they know nothing about. In most instances, politicians pass ill informed laws with minimum mandatory sentences whose substance creates injustice, just to make themselves look good. Such is the case with this law.

In many jurisdictions, judges and prosecutors justifiably treated cases more harshly when an impaired driver caused a death as a result of their impairment upon innocent people on the roadway. Conversely, the same law covered best friends, both out on a night of drinking, who voluntarily get into the same vehicle and the resulting crash kills the passenger. So often these cases, which I have handled, involved young people whose best friend or sibling died as a result of both of their poor judgments. In the latter cases, often some form of probation was found to be appropriate, sometimes after a 6 month or one year sentence in county jail, as part of a lifetime of punishment for the tragedy. Often even the family of the deceased desired no punishment for the poor joint decision that resulted in the tragedy. Yet still, our state legislature presumes to know best by passing a law with the same result in both kinds of cases. This takes all decision making out the hands of judges who can weigh all the facts. Our government is founded on the brilliant base of three pillars of power, each separate and balancing the other so as to not allow the tyranny of any one pillar. In this instance, the Legislative branch is continually grabbing power away from the Judicial branch and that is surely not what our Founders intended.

As always, injustice will occur when facts aren't allowed to effect sentences and the broad brush of the legislature, who must dictate, will create more injustice.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom

Read More

Grundy county Tennessee is taking a controversial step to allegations of domestic assault.

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum is praising a bill that assumes guilt for anyone accused of domestic violence, while it keeps the poor who are accused and can't afford bail jailed before trial. Sheriff Shrum says he saw a problem and "started looking at the use of GPS monitoring to ensure victim safety in Grundy County".

For the past 18 months, every suspect accused of domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault or stalking in Grundy County has been required to wear a GPS monitor as part of their bond conditions. This statement of "every person accused" clarifies that proof of guilty isn't required. 

Offenders are monitored by
Tennessee Recovery and Monitoring, a private company that also provides the victims with a victim beacon in order to keep track of how close the alleged offender and alleged victim are to each other. If either of them get within a pre-determined range of each other, the monitoring company and the victim are notified using text and email.

In Grundy County, offenders must pay $10 per day for the device to stay out of jail while they wait for their case to be heard. I have found in my practice of defending those charged with domestic assault that, in most instances, there is also an upfront fee that must be paid for installation of any monitoring device.

If you have a bond that’s set at $50,000 and you can’t raise the cash, you sit in jail,” Hardaway said. “If you can’t afford the money to pay for this monitor, you ought to sit in jail.”

The Sheriff and other lawmakers want this law mandatory across the state. I must admit have encountered serious cases where the use of the device aided everyone involved and allowed a more reasonable bond to be put in place. Indeed, Sheriff Shrum states that repeat offenses are down in Grundy County.

However, we Americans must use caution when considering expansive far reaching laws such as this. Making such a law mandatory  takes away Judges' discretion to prevent the accused from staying in jail because they are poor or for relief when the allegations are minor or questionable in nature. The Sheriff fails to take into account how often domestic violence cases are dismissed completely and how many innocent people are arrested or accused. Most every police officer will tell you how often they feel compelled to make an arrest when the proof is slim or it is clearly a case of mutual combat.

My recent domestic assault cases include two brothers fist fighting in their father's garage and a spouse on heroin who accused her husband of threatening her when he tried to stop her from getting more drugs. I have represented many similar cases where the Sheriff's program would be patently unfair to the innocent accused. In 50% or more of the cases I handle, the accuser doesn't even show for court until required. The accusers often have already cleared out the alleged offender's home of valuables and solidifying the children's custody while the one accused sits in jail. 

Even victim's rights advocates have serious concerns about this law. In December of 2015, Bridges Domestic Violence Center executive director Linda Crockett Jackson told Channel 4 she's concerned the bill could be "too harsh a punishment for someone not convicted."

At some point, society will forfeit all rights of the accused if it fails to recognize that punishing people with broad mandates before a conviction is uncontitutional and results in injustice.

I am glad I don't live in Grundy County

In defense of the citizen accused,

Frank Lannom

Read More

Every good criminal defense lawyer (as well as every prosecutor) worth their salt knows that when it comes down to a close decision on the outcome of a case, the Judge can be swayed by how a client is dressed. Because of my over 20 years of experience, I know how important my client's appearance can be and I have advised clients on how to dress and even bought their clothes if they weren't able to dress for the occasion themselves. Clients often ask me the best way to dress for court and my advice has changed little over the past several years.

There are some obvious dressing decisions that are not only a bad idea but likely prohibited by court rules. Things not to do in any court, no matter what county you're in are:

  • Don't ever wear shorts
  • No excessive jewelry
  • Clothing with inappropriate wording
  • Exposed mid-drifts
  • No sagging pants
  • Excessive cleavage
  • No mini-skirts or short dresses
  • Tights or "yoga pants" without additional outer covering
  • Exposed under garments

Here is the official code for for Davidson County Courts and you can use it as a guideline for any court in Tennessee, even if their particular codes aren't published. My advice to clients is to "wear your best" and never wear anything on the above list. Alot of us use our clothing and accessories to express ourselves. Court is not the place to do that with any type of dramatic flair. A suit and tie or dress with heels are not required, but if a client has an appropriate outfit and feels comfortable in them, then they are perfectly fine. It's not a good idea for the client to dress in a way that is completely foreign to them as they look out of place and unnatural. It is always safe to wear khaki's and long sleeve (pressed) shirt or a nice blouse with slacks.

The point of proper dress is to show that you take the matter in court seriously. If the court or the prosecutors think you are not taking the matter seriously, they might well take it upon themselves to make sure you take your court appearance more seriously in the future! One the other hand, if your dress conveys you understand the serious of a criminal accusation, the same judge or prosecutor might well think the point of the prosecution has been accomplished, allowing a dismissal or lowered penalty.

Wear your best but never wear stupid. The best criminal defense lawyer's will discuss and advise their clients in this matter. We always do so with our clients and, if you're attorney hasn't talked to you about the subject, be sure and ask them before court.

In the defense of the citizen accused,

Frank Lannom

Read More You've been charged with a crime and now you need to find the best attorney available to help you protect your rights and preserve your freedom. It can be a daunting task to hire the lawyer best able to serve your legal needs.  Don’t be intimidated because there are actually many tools available for you to choose an attorney who will be a good fit for you and your case.

Get a personal referral.  Ask around your circle of friends and family, have they had experience with an attorney and was it good or bad?  Of course, sometimes the nature of your case is personal and you may not want to discuss the details with people you know.  That’s where searching online can be useful.  You can look at online review sites like AVVO or Yelp to see what people say about an attorney, good or bad.  Sites like AVVO will also have a synopsis of the lawyer’s practice, case results, years of experience and if they’ve ever been disciplined by the Bar Association.  When in doubt, you can always ask Google, “who is the best (type of case) lawyer in (your town/state)?”. You shouldn’t base your decision on any single one of these items, but they can be used to piece together a picture of your potential attorney.

Once you have a couple of attorneys in mind you should take a few minutes to review their websites.  A good website will have a comprehensive biography of the attorneys as well as case results to back up that the firm’s experience and success.  The website should have testimonials from former clients.  How many attorneys are in the practice?  It’s always best if there are two attorneys at the office who handle the same type of case in the event one is unavailable when you need consultation about your case.  Remember that you want your attorney to specialize in the type of law you need help with.  You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist for a heart condition, so don’t go to a bankruptcy lawyer for your personal injury case or a real estate lawyer for your criminal case.  You can also check if they are on social media sites such as Facebook and see what their message is to the community.  Do they seem informed on the latest laws? Are they engaged with the community?

Lastly, people have a tendency to think “I need the biggest law firm I can get to handle my case”.  Actually, that is rarely true.  A mid-size firm in your area, if they have the expertise, case results, and testimonials we talked about above, will serve you better for many reasons.  You will have a better one-on-one relationship with your attorney, more attention from their paralegals, investigators and support staff.  Also, remember you shouldn’t have to pay for your initial consultation; those should be free whether in person or by telephone.



Read More 18 wheelerThe loss of life and property as a result of accidents involving trucks can be significantly greater than those where only cars are involved. In a truck accident, the size and weight of the truck, along with the weight of its cargo can have more severe consequences for those involved or nearby.

There are many different reasons why trucks get involved in accidents.

 

The six most common causes of truck accidents in Tennessee are as follows:


1.    Inadequately trained drivers - though a driver may possess a commercial driver’s license, he or she may not know enough defensive driving techniques to avoid a collision.
 
2.    Problems with securing the cargo load - the weight of the load, and/or with the nature of the load itself can lead to braking problems, balance problems, and tip-overs.

3.    Poor maintenance and inspection of the vehicle - this often results in some form of mechanical failure, like those caused by insufficient brakes, bald tires, or safety features that are not working properly.

4.    Driver fatigue - most often the result of the financial pressure truckers feel to drive farther even when they have reached the limits of what they are physically able to do in a safe manner.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations govern the hours of service that truck drivers are allowed to drive. These regulations strictly limit the number hours truckers are allowed to drive each day. The problem is that the trucking companies don’t always enforce these rules and they often push their drivers to drive more than what the regulations allow, simply because it makes them more money.

So, while you may have a truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel because he is exhausted from driving so much, the real problem is corporate greed that pushes drivers to overdrive their logs, causing driver fatigue that results in truck accidents.

5.    Speeding - Whether in excess of the speed limit or at a rate that is too fast for the particularly hazardous conditions, such as those caused by rain, sleet, snow, fog or smoke.

6.    Drug or alcohol use by the truck driver.

Whether it be single-vehicle or multi-vehicle accident, and whether it be due to mechanical failure or an inexperienced, fatigued, or drunk truck driver, if you have experienced loss or serious injuries as result of a truck accident, be aware that the particular liability that rests with truck drivers and trucking companies, as result of state and federal regulations, may be a huge advantage to you in pursuing compensation for your losses.

Contact an Experienced Tennessee Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents are far too common and the resulting loss of life is deeply regrettable. For the survivors, however, depending on the circumstances, a range of options exist to mitigate the losses caused by truck accidents in particular.

Contact us to speak with an experienced Tennessee truck accident attorney who can help you recover the damages you deserve.
Read More

Davidson County's attempt to "legalize Marijuana" falls short of the mark and it could leave some citizens trapped in the gray area of being charged under local statute or state law.

In a 35-3 vote, the Metro Council approved a bill that allows officers to give someone a $50 fine and community service if they are found with less than a half ounce of marijuana.  I recently read an article published by Channel 2 news that stated: "This changes the current laws where people charged with marijuana possession face a misdemeanor with up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine."

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Metro-Nashville counsel cannot change state law. Marijuana has not been legalized in Davidson County. In fact, while it may have been the intent of Davidson County to do, they have actually given police more authority that may not help citizens. What the city counsel actually did was to add a penalty for possession of marijuana where one did not exist within Metro-Nashville ordinances. The change did nothing to affect Tennessee state law which permits a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, a minimum fine of $250.00 up to $2500.00. Depending on their mood and perception of your demeanor, officers now simply have the option of charging you with either the Metro-Nashville ordinance or under the more harsh state law.

As correctly stated by councilman Steve Glover: “That does not mean if you come into Davidson County and you have a half ounce of marijuana or below that you are safe. You get pulled over by the wrong officer, you can still get handcuffed, you can still go to jail.” 

It is also possible the poor reporting of the change could lead people to believe that Metro-Nashville has de-criminalized marijuana, which could then lead people to believe it is not crime when it very much is a crime. Practicing in courts all around Davidson County, I can assure you every other county still very much views marijuana possession as crime for which you face jail time. If a citizen were to be given a citation under the new ordinance, it could still trigger probation and parole violations if the person were under such supervision.

The intent of the ordinance may have been to allow officers more discretion, however it certainly has not changed state law or probation\parole guidelines so, citizens beware, marijuana is still illegal in Tennessee.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom

Read More sinking vehicle
Any type of automobile accident is a frightening experience, but an accident that involves an automobile crashing into a body of water (such as a bridge suddenly collapsing), with you trapped inside is nothing short of terrifying. However, many of these deaths are attributed to panic, not having the knowledge of what is occurring to the car and not having an escape plan in place.  Even, if you find yourself in a vehicle that is sinking in a flooded river, acting quickly and decisively can be a lifesaving action.


The National Highway and Transportation Administration say that approximately 400 people a year die in America due to being trapped in a sinking vehicle. It is strongly advised that you prepare yourself now, so that you do not become a victim of these statistics.

If you find yourself in this precarious situation, you have about 60 seconds to escape and survive a sinking vehicle – so quick action is imperative. Below are several rules that will significantly increase your survival rate.

  1. Do not dial 911 while you are still in a sinking vehicle, call when you are on dry land and safe. Since time will be of the essence, reaching for your cell phone will be a life-threatening error.
  2. Quickly unbuckle your seat beat (and anyone else who maybe in the vehicle).
  3. Do NOT open the door – but instead roll down the windows, if you can.  Due to the water pressure, opening the door will be very difficult (nearly impossible), and in addition, if you do manage to get the door open, it will allow too much water to get in the vehicle, and the rate of sinking will increase, limiting your survival time. 
  4. (Caveat to the above rule).  If you miss the opportunity to roll down the window (which is known as the “floating period”), and due to the fact that many vehicles these days are electronically based, the circuits will probably short out before you have a chance to roll them down – the window will need to be broken.  This is where small specialized tools (known as a Life Hammer or ResQMe keychain) will come in handy, as they are designed to break glass quickly and effectively in these types of life-threatening situations.  It is important that these potentially lifesaving tools be kept within reach at all times, as you do not want to lose precious time trying to look or fumble for them.  It is also important to note, that these devices will not work underwater, so quick action is imperative.
  5. Everybody should ideally swim out their own window, but children may need assistance swimming and pushing themselves through rushing water, so if necessary, give them a push.  Grab young children and carry them in your arms, as not to waste precious life-saving time.
Get out of the vehicle, break the water’s surface and get to safety as quickly as possible.  Then call emergency personnel to the scene.
Read More I had just returned from court where, as a litigation attorney, I had defended a DUI case. The case had been difficult, but we gained a verdict that allowed my client to continue to work and take care of his family. My desk was covered with case notes and the rest of the day’s schedule was filled with client meetings, phone calls to return, and case research - a typical busy day! As soon as I sat down at my desk, the receptionist buzzed me with a sound of urgency in her voice.

“Donnavon, there is a highly agitated young man in the lobby. His name is James. He insists on seeing you, he says he needs your help.” I had no idea who James was or what was going on with him. It sounded like he needed help and that is what I do, so I asked the receptionist to send James in.

After introducing himself, James said he was a nurse and he was in trouble. Unfortunately, James’ story was all too common for his profession. He said, “I was in a car accident and have injuries that make me hurt constantly.” He had received opioid medication for the pain, but he continued to suffer. He was hurting so much that he had difficulty in performing his duties. He was concerned that his performance was putting his job in jeopardy. James said that over a period of time, he began to take more than the prescription called for.  He continued to increase the dosage, little by little, until it exceeded what the bottle held. He said, "In addition to the pain, I’ve had to work excessive overtime and I am under a lot of stress. The pain, my working conditions, family issues, it’s almost more than I can handle. I’m addicted and my drug use is uncontrollable." He continued, “I’m in trouble at work and with the State Board of Nursing; my license could be revoked or suspended. If I lose my license, I won’t be able to work. I won’t be able to take care of my family.”
drug addiction nurse


I told James that helping people in bad situations is what we do, including: an understanding of his particular situation, the law that pertains to it, and knowing every method of defending my client’s professional license. Every tool available must be used, including appropriate treatment for alcohol and drug cases, mediation, or litigating the case. I told James that it was important to understand that alcohol and drug abuse is a disease and should be treated. I explained that we work closely with qualified substance abuse specialists who can develop programs specifically designed for our clients, that not only meet their treatment needs, but may also result in saving their professional license.

I explained to James that his situation was not uncommon in the nursing profession.  Nursing is a noble profession and a privilege governed by professional standards, requiring the nurse to achieve and maintain the highest levels of professional and personal conduct. I know as a group, nurses are good people with the highest of expectations placed upon them. The fact cannot be disregarded that every year, the State of Tennessee Nursing Board revokes or suspends hundreds of licenses. While some of these men and women lose their privilege to serve as nurses because of activities unrelated to alcohol and drug abuse, many suffer the consequences for being under the influence of alcoholic beverages and/or drug abuse, or alcoholic and drug related activities. In the November 2015 Disciplinary Action Report published by the Tennessee Board of Nursing, over 30% of disciplinary actions reported were alcoholic or drug related. The risk of a nurse having their license revoked or suspended is great.

I considered James’s drug addiction, the real threat of his license being suspended, and the possibility of him not being able to provide for his family.  I decided then and there to take on his case

The next day we made arrangements for James to receive treatment for his drug addiction. In the weeks that followed, James worked hard on his recovery and successfully completed his treatment. I worked closely with James to examine the details of his case, as it relates to the applicable law and rules and regulations of the Tennessee Board of Nursing. Together James, myself, and our staff developed a strategy designed to gain the best possible outcome for his case. He was able to continue his work as a nurse and take care of his family.

James is a fictional character with a real story that many people can relate to. If you need help protecting your ability to practice your profession; give us a call and allow us to review your case and develop a solution tailored to fit your individual situation.

Donnavon Vasek
Read More I’m an avid gun rights attorney.  In my practice, I strive to make sure all of my clients know exactly how their gun rights are affected while being charged with a crime and how any resolution will affect their gun rights.  I take the loss of a person’s gun rights personally.  From my vantage point, owning a gun in today’s society is essential.  The 2nd amendment was drafted for the people to hunt and to protect themselves - not just against burglars in the night.  The Framers of our Constitution intended to protect each individual's right to keep and bear arms, and to guarantee that individuals acting collectively could throw off the bondages of any oppressive government which might arise. Thus, the right envisioned was not only the right to be armed, but to be armed at a level equal to the government.  As lawmakers pass hundreds of new laws each year, gun rights become more restricted with each legislative term and frustrate the Framers' intent.

DV 2nd amendment


The Tennessee Legislature has forgotten the meaning of “innocent until proven guilty.”  They have placed many restrictions on individual's gun carry permits that have been alleged to commit a burglary, a felony drug offense, or a felony offense involving violence or the use of a firearm [Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1352 (e)(1)]. You read that right - alleged - not convicted.  This suspension of a person's carry permit is even applied during the period of diversion for the applicable offenses.  Again, no conviction.  Even more concerning, if you are convicted of a class A misdemeanor, it is required that the permit be surrendered to the Court for the term of the sentence imposed by the court, being eleven months and twenty-nine days [Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1352 (f)(1) and (2)].  With more and more laws being created giving the Government more control, they are likewise restricting your Second Amendment right for small offenses.  Something like a small joint or grinder puts more than just your criminal history and freedom at risk.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense and value your gun rights, contact my office to discuss your options.

Donnavon Vasek

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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