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Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

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Lebanon, TN 37087
615.444.2900
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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
Read More We've all heard of the Salen Witch trials of Massachusetts in the 1600s. The trials resulted in the executions of fourteen women and six men, and all but one by hanging.  Once it became known society was open to persecuting people for being witches, the allegations began to grow in number.

Present day, the same thing is occurring with domestic violence claims. New laws have made accusations more serious. Lifetime bans on gun ownership are federally regulated, multiple-count offenders have minimum mandatory sentences, and the District District Attorney in Nashvillehas made the issue a focal point in his office. Society is ready to prosecute anyone accused of domestic violence. We now are to the point of incarcerating people for 12 hours before ever proving they are guilty. The accused is banned from being around the victim. Often, this means they cannot return to their own home. In divorce situations, the mere accusation gives the accuser the ability to clean out the home while the accused is either in jail or prevented from coming home due to bond conditions.

Lately, there have been increases in accusations of domestic violence by victims who are not citizens. They are motivated by federal immigration law that basically prevents them from being deported if they are a listed victim in a domestic violence case. In a recent domestic violence trial, we forced the accuser to admit she had never accused my client of abuse until she learned two days before that the accusation would prevent her deportation.

False domestic violence accusations are on the rise.  The stakes are greater; the benefits that come from accusing someone falsely are growing for those who often are willing to lie.

We have these laws because your legislators believe you will support them if they increase punishment against the "criminals".  Look twice at these claims for new laws. Are they punishing criminals, or simply those who are accused? Do you lose your home, your second amendment rights, your job and your freedom simply because of an accusation? We are punishing the accused, not the convicted. Until society demands change, it will continue. 

If you or your loved ones are accused, a specialized, full-time criminal defense lawyer is necessary to make sure you have the best defense possible to fight this new trend in society.

 

In the defense of citizens accused,

Frank Lannom
Read More How does an innocent person spend thousands of dollars, stay under indictment for over a year, and never commit a crime?
It is much easier than you think. Take, for example, the recent dismissal of an Aggravated Assault case I handled in excess of a year. The case only ended last week in Wilson County Criminal Court. My client was falsely accused of pulling a knife on a former love interest and threatening him. It occurred (believe it or not) when my client's boyfriend showed up at my client's home. A verbal dispute ensues in which the boyfriend is accused of sleeping with another woman. In his defense, the boyfriend suggests that the "other lady" be called over to the home to resolve the dispute. When she arrives at the home, she confirms that she has, in fact, been sleeping with the boyfriend. This occurs in the home of my client with the now boyfriend and two women in the same room. The argument results in the police being called and the accusations made. Client is arrested, despite her protests of innocence, hauled to jail, and held for 12 hours before being released. The general sessions court had an initial hearing to determine probable cause, but the low standard of proof only really requires someone saying it happened. The case was sent to the jury trial level, despite the testimony that my client only had a kitchen knife pointed downward 25 feet from the boyfriend, with no threats made. Our team's investigation and proof at this first hearing revealed that an uninvolved roommate witnessed the event and testified no knives were ever held by my client. The case was pushed far into the process, well over a year because of my client's proper insistence that she was innocent and refusal to plea bargain. The charge was serious, 3-6 years in prison if convicted. Sixteen months later the case dismissed in its entirety after a long litigation and investigation on the part of her defense team. It could happen to you.


In the Defense of the accused,

Frank Lannom
Read More Several years ago, the Tennessee State Legislators passed an amendment to the DUI law requiring citizens convicted of DUI to a mandatory penalty of litter pickup for 24 hours, generally done in three 8 hour stints. The law was an unfunded mandate placing expense on local sheriff's departments. There was difficulty administering the law; many individuals were unable to physically do the work, weather often interfered, and there was an immediate impact on convicted individuals who had to miss more work to pick up trash, rather than to serve jail time.
As of July 1, 2016 the mandatory DUI penalty of litter pickup has been abolished for all DUI offenses.
Read More Tennessee's DUI law has changed once again to further focus serious prosecution efforts on repeat DUI offenders. As of July 1, 2016, TCA 55-10-402(a)(5) creates a class C felony for a person convicted of a 6th or subsequent offense DUI, for people with 5 or more prior convictions for DUI, or other more serious alcohol related crimes. This new felony classification will continue to carry the minimum required sentence of 150 days and the same 8 year driver's license suspension. However, the maximum sentence will increase from 10 years in prison for people with no or one prior felony conviction and up to 15 years for those with multiple prior felonies.

What is unique about this offense is the significant possibility of a serious sentence in a state penitentiary for those convicted of DUI, but not actually causing harm to others as a result of their actions. Previously, the maximum sentence was 2 years for those with no prior felonies. While technically a felony sentence, it was never sufficiently long to actually cause a person convicted of DUI to wind up serving hard time in state penitentiary. Now, they would be serving alongside those traditionally convicted of murder, rape, child molestation and serious drug offenses. Under this law, addicts with multiple convictions whose actions haven't yet caused actual harm will be serving their sentence side by side with the most hardened criminals in our state. For those with loved ones with addictions, now is the time to act and intervene and those with addictions to seek help before what was before a local jail sentence becomes hard time.
In the defense of the citizen accused,
G. Frank Lannom
Read More

Tennessee currently criminalizes a person's refusal to consent to a blood or breath test at the request of law enforcement in most situations. The refusal can carry up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a suspension of their driving rights.  In Birchfield vs. North Dakota, the United States Supreme Court found that taking a person's blood is an intrusion pursuant to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. Therefore, criminal penalties for refusing a blood test were unconstitutional.  The court also suggested a person's consent should be reconsidered if they waived their constitutional rights under the faulty threat of jail time for failure to comply.

The court found that breath tests aren't as intrusive and blood test and found them to be permissable. Failure to consent to a breathalyzer test could, therefore, result in prosecution. The court differentiates between a civil sanction of losing your driving privilege and a criminal sanction of going to jail.  In this instance, criminal sanctions cannot be imposed for failure to give up your constitutional right.
  
What does this mean? It means your body, just like your home, is protected from intrusion by the government. Just as the government would not be permitted to prosecute you under the penalty of jail time for refusing to allow them into your home, they cannot prosecute you for refusing to consent to an intrusion of your body for a blood test.  When consent is obtained for a blood test through jail threats, the court deems the consent coerced, ineffective, and ultimately invalid. 
  
In Tennessee, it is my experience that warnings given to motorists about failing to consent to a blood test do not differentiate between who will go to jail or who will only lose their license. Based on this, any consent to a blood test obtained via threats of jail time may be improperly obtained. resulting in the test considered illegally conducted.

In defense of citizens accused,

Frank Lannom 

Read More

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“Keep it within the navigational beacons.”


                                    It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere- Jimmy Buffett

  

I represent several people every year who have been accused of Boating Under the Influence. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has cracked down on the offense and may be watching you on your next visit to the lake or river. No matter if its Percy Priest, Center Hill, Old Hickory, or Cordell Hull lakes or the Cumberland or Tennessee River, before heading out in the boat you should know your rights concerning this law and the consequences thereof.

Boating Under the Influence can be found under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 69-9-217. Under this section of the law, there are three main areas of focus.

1.     The vessel you are operating must be a vessel subject to registration or a commercial vessel.

2.     You must be navigating public waters

3.     You must be under the influence of some intoxicant (.08 Blood Alcohol Content)

With relative leeway, TWRA often stops vessels for what they term as Safety and Registration stops. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 69-9-220 states that TWRA has the authority to stop and board any vessel subject to this chapter. This chapter encompasses every regulation provided by the United States Coast Guard as to the safety of your vessel. Basically, if your vessel is subject to registration and on public waters in Tennessee, TWRA may try to stop you for a safety and regulation check.

Upon being stopped, the TWRA officer can then arrest you without a warrant if he believes that you are Boating Under the Influence. After being arrested, the officer will then ask you to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content of your blood. The legislature has deemed that when you navigate a vessel in accordance with the above three factors that you have automatically consented to give blood upon reasonable grounds that the officer believes you’re to be impaired. You do have the right to refuse this invasive test, but you may be subject to losing your boating privilege for Six Months.  

Boating Under the Influence is a Class A Misdemeanor- that is the misdemeanor with the highest penalties. The consequences for Boating Under the Influence are serious and should not be taken lightly. Below are the current consequences:

·       1st Offense- Fine $250 up to $2,500. Maximum jail sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail. In addition to the fine and jail time, the Court may order your boating privilege to be suspended for one year.  

·       2nd Offense- Fine $500 up to $2,500. Maximum jail sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail. Under a 2nd Offense, the Court may suspend your boating privileges for two years.

·       3rd or Subsequent Offenses-Fine $1,000 up to$5,000 and in the discretion of the Court, jail time not to exceed eleven months and twenty-nine days. The Court is mandatorily required to enforce a jail sentence of 30 days to serve for these multiple offenses. Boating privileges may be suspended for three years up to ten years.

Those accused of Boating Under the Influence have the same rights as those accused of any other crime. We are protected by the Constitution and our office will diligently and fiercely seek to provide you with the greatest protection that the law provides. Call our office today if you are confronted with this offense

In defense of citizens accused,


Frank Lannom

Read More

We recently gained a dismissal for a client had exited the highway, pulled over to the side of the road, and gone to sleep. While it wasn't completely clear what his exact location was, he was not on the lined roadway, at least partially in the gravel. The issue of when and where you can be charged with DUI can be confusing and the lines certainly aren't clear.

Our client was very upset, both during and after his arrest, that he could be harassed and arrested for DUI when he pulled his car off the road, doing what he thought to be appropriate when he was too sleepy to drive. In Tennessee, DUI laws cover far more scenarios than you might think. While most realize they cover driving a vehicle on a public road or areas open to the public, the DUI law also covers circumstances when you are in physical control of a vehicle. The difficulty is in determining what the phrase "physical control" means. Many courts use the general test of "can the operator easily and simply control the movement of the vehicle."  People have been convicted of pushing their car to a gas station while impaired. The law states there is no bright line test when you can be found to be in physical control of a vehicle, but some factors to consider are: Was the car engine running? Were the keys within reach of the occupant? Was the occupant in the front seat? Was the vehicle capable of being operated? The sign of the best criminal defense lawyers is when they recognize the issues that can prevent a DUI conviction. For 23 years I have specialized in defending citizens in the Mount Juliet and Lebanon areas against DUI accusations.

If you have any questions about being in physical control of an automobile or truck in Tennessee, have been charged with DUI in Gallatin, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Carthage/Smith County, Hartsville/Trousdale County, Murfreesboro and Nashville, give me a call or leave a message on the website. My office is in the Lebanon, Tennesee and I have been defending cases in all Middle Tennessee counties, with the bulk being in the Mt. Juliet and Lebanon, Tennessee area.

In defense of citizens accused,

Frank Lannom 


Read More The Rutherford County Sheriff has been indicted on numerous charges including bribery and fraud by federal authorities.  The charges stem from an e-cigarette company that targets vulnerable men and women, prisoners for whom the Sheriff is responsible.  The company was started in Georgia and moved to Tennessee without revealing the Sheriff's authority.  The indictment of the Sheriff follows the federal courts shutting down the corrupt and abusive probation department operating with impunity in the Rutherford County judicial system.  As defender of citizens accused of crimes, often in Rutherford County, I have seen the abuses tolerated in Rutherford County for years.  It seemed no one cared because those suffering from the abuse were those convicted of crimes.  A true test of society is how it treats those who can't do anything about it.  Neither the Sheriff nor the probation department were stopped by local authorities and the most vulnerable were targeted and suffered.

In defense of the citizens accused,

Frank Lannom






Read More      There are times when settlement of case is in our client’s benefit. Under the new DUI sentencing laws of 2014, treatment programs play a major part in how a client's sentence can be served. Many times the difference between serving 45 days (day for day in jail) and 25 days (with the balance in outpatient treatment) can mean everything to our clients. The difference can manifest itself in a career or job being saved. Many of our clients work in automobile manufacturing where plants shut down for a period of time and, coupled with vacation days, a sentence of 25 days saves their job. By saving the job, we possibly save their home from foreclosure, their kids stay in college, and the family’s health coverage remains in place.

     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 also serve to earn them the sentence reduction credits that save the job, home and lifestyle of their family. Real life and the effects of criminal prosecutions are a major concern for our clients and addressing and minimizing these concerns is what our job is really about. While many cases result in trials to prove guilt or innocence, we also fight to preserve our client’s home, job, and family.

     Helping people in bad situations is what we do and that includes knowing every method of defending DUI cases from sentencing credits to when sentences are served to the ultimate acquittal of our clients. Every tool available must be used. Prior law allowed sentencing credits for substance abuse treatment for up to 28 days of a sentence for those convicted of a DUI 2nd Offense, but only permitted sentence credits for inpatient treatment programs. The changes to the statute in 2014 only allow sentence credits after a mandatory minimum service of 25 days.  DUI 3rd Offense may receive in-patient treatment credits after serving 65 days of the mandatory minimum of 120 days. While a defendant may receive this credit whether treatment is received prior to or after the conviction, prior to the participation in a treatment program, the defendant must have a clinical substance abuse assessment conducted by a qualified and licensed alcohol and drug abuse treatment professional. An individual must fully complete the program recommended to receive the sentence reduction credits.

     Major strides were made toward financially responsible methods of fully treating addiction by allowing sentencing credits for inpatient treatment if deemed appropriate by certified substance abuse treatment counselors. While the standards are strict, many offenders who can't complete inpatient treatment due to employment and financial obligations or simply need longer term outpatient programs to fully treat their issues, will be permitted one (1) day credit for every nine (9) hours of successfully completed intensive outpatient treatment.

     While the above statutes are applicable to offenses occurring after July 1, 2014, those whose court date occurs after July 1, 2014, but who were charged with the offense prior to July 1, 2014, may request that the judge sentence them under this new provision of the law.
   
     If you need help with any criminal charge, including DUI Offenses, give us a call and allow us to review your case and offer solutions tailored to fit your particular legal problem.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom 
Read More

     We should always carefully examine the consequences of creating laws that prohibit and harshly punish acts we simply don't like, but that aren’t inherently evil actions. In the international world, Reverend Hyan Soo Lim was given a life sentence with hard labor today in North Korea after traveling to the country on a humanitarian aid trip - his 100th trip to the country. The sentence was handed down for “tarnishing the country's image in collaboration with the United States”. Reverend Kim pastors a 3,000 member Presbyterian Church in Toronto.

     While it is easy to say “Well,  that’s North Korea”, different situations can seem equally inhumane in the United States. While marijuana is legal in many states, I have clients facing what are effectively life sentences for marijuana trafficking on "conspiracy charges". These charges can arise when one sells 1lb of marijuana, but the people the person is operating with sell much more. If the person is deemed part of their organization, the government will attempt to punish them with decades behind bars. I realize there are differences between a humanitarian trip to a 3rd world country and selling marijuana, but there are also similarities. Acts that are deemed inappropriate by governments, but that don't create life threatening harm by any standard, should not carry effective lifetime sentences in any country. We deem preaching a harmless and positive activity that does not threaten any government and some states in America deem marijuana a harmless and even helpful activity in some medical circumstances. Shouldn’t our most severe punishments be reserved for people who inflict real and profoundly malicious acts on our society?

In defense of the citizen accused,

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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