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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Read More This simple question is actually a multi-layered problem and its answer is subject to several different interpretations and situations. Tennessee is an equitable distribution state which means basically that whatever you bring into the relationship - you leave with; whatever you earn or receive during the marriage is marital property; and marital property (property bought (or money earned) for the use of both parties during the marriage) is divided as equally as possible. It depends also on when the accident occured. If it occured prior to the marriage, it would be hard to prove the settlement to be marital property. However, if it occurred during the marriage, your spouse could have claim to part of the damages (their emotional suffering, time off work, loss of consortium). The best way to ensure any settlement or judgment you receive in an accident case is protected in case of divorce is:


1) Talk to your injury attorneys about it up front. Even if you are blissfully married during your injury case, ask them what you can do to ensure that money stays separate in case of a divorce. It would be smart for your judgment or settlement to specifically allocate your damages, such as $ for property damage, $ for medical bills, $ for time off work, $ for pain and suffering, $ for loss of consortium (this is usually allocated to the spouse for their loss of enjoyment and companionship during the convalescence from your injuries). Talk to your divorce attorney about it - you will want to let them know about the money, how it came about, how it was allocated and who your injury attorney was in case they need additional information.

2) Put the funds from the judgment or settlement in a separate account than your joint marriage or personal checking account and keep careful track of how it was used if you withdraw it. Once you the the funds into the general pool of finances, it's going to be much harder to prove how much, if any, of the settlement you are entitled to retain after the marriage.

There is no simple answer to this question, but planning for any event up front and maintaining good records can help you retain as much of your injury settlement as possible in the event of a divorce.
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Twenty-five years ago, it would have been hard to imagine the fields to the south of the Mt. Juliet exit at I-40 turning into the major commercial and residential development that is Providence. Back then, Mt. Juliet stopped at the interstate. Highway 109 was practically untraveled and Highway 70 from Mt. Juliet to Lebanon was a quiet and uncrowded 2-lane. That has all changed, and most of it in the past decade alone. Now we have huge housing developments not just around Providence, but all across the county. It is not unusual for a windy and narrow backroad to have a development of 100-250 houses empty out to it. It's wonderful that people love Wilson County as it has so much to offer, great shopping, great schools and even better people. But the sudden influx of people and businesses has definitely put a great burden on our roads, especially roads that have always been considered "rural".

In today's Lebanon Democrat, there was a small article on the dangerous intersection of Fellowship Road and Couchville Pike in South Mt. Juliet. Fellowship Road has a stop sign and Couchville has the right-of-way. There have been 86 accidents at this intersection in two years! Two of these resulted in fatalities. The fact that traffic has increased greatly due to residential growth and the addition of the Amazon Fulfillment Center is made worse by the fact that the gas pumps at the market on the intersection blocks the view of drivers. The County is considering making this intersection a 4-way stop, a change that local residents would greatly welcome.

Another area that has become particularly dangerous is Highway 109 at Academy/Coles Ferry. Traffic is unbelievably heavy on this highway to and from Gallatin and Academy is a popular cut through road for Lebanon residents trying to get to Gallatin and vice versa. Add the increased semi-truck traffic and a hill and a busy market and you'll understand why there have been so many accidents in that area over the past few years, several involving tractor trailers and too many resulting in fatalities. Traffic studies have shown that the addition of a right hand turn lane onto 109 from Academy and also a merge lane into northbound traffic on Highway 109 would help alleviate some dangers, but until the highway is widened that area will remain a dangerous stretch of road.

Other notably dangerous roads in Wilson County (according to annual accidents reported) are Highway 70 from Lebanon to Watertown, Trousdale Ferry Pike, Saundersville Ferry, Central Pike and Stewart's Ferry. An interesting note to these roads is that the oldest roads in our area are denoted by being either "ferrys" or "pikes". Ferry meant that somewhere along the road, a traveler would need to be ferried across a body of water (for a fee, of course). Pike meant that the road was a privately owned and maintained "turnpike" and travelers had to pay a toll in order for the "pikes" or sticks blocking the road to be moved so they could continue traveling. The tolls collected were used for upkeep on the pikes and as profit for the owner's of the toll-road. The fact that most of the dangerous roads in our area are also some of the oldest roads is interesting and could be because the first roads in our area followed game trails and wound around geographical obstacles and also skirted land owned by people who didn't participate in the ferry or toll profit and therefore didn't want travelers passing through their land. Perhaps these old roads are curvy and precipitous by nature, but that's just a guess.

In any event, Wilson County leaders will need to take the lead on this sudden and apparently sustained growth and not simply react to it. We need safe, well marked and repaired roads to travel on and to keep ourselves and our children safe. Let's hope that the next decade sees continued growth hand in hand with evolving and adequate infrastructure for our county as well as fewer accidents that could injure or even kill our travelers.

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      The above result is particularly timely as domestic violence charges were dropped this week against Nashville businessman David Chase. After spending over a year professing his innocence of the Domestic Violence and Strangulation charges filed against him by his former girlfriend, the Prosecutors in the case asked the Judge to drop the charges for the same reason Mr. Justice's Order of Protection was dismissed - because the alleged victim's testimony "was not credible". The investigation uncovered that there was simply no evidence to support the charges of domestic violence against Mr. Chase and that the victim had, in fact, fabricated evidence.

 

     While it's bad enough that an innocent citizen has their lives upended on false evidence, Mr. Chase's case was made into a "poster case" for victims' advocates across the state. They decried Judge Casey Moreland for calling the judicial commissioner and recommending that Mr. Chase not be held for the 12 hour mandatory hold time that is typical on domestic violence cases. However, this hold is at the Judge's discretion and can be waived. The Tennessee Legislature jumped on the bandwagon and actually changed our state's domestic violence laws to make it harder on Judge's to use their discretion on the mandatory hold. Think about it - our laws were changed based on lies. Will the Legislature be reversing their hasty decision in light of the new evidence?

 

     I sign most of my blogs "In Defense of the Citizen Accused". Nowadays, it seems that being accused of a crime is the same as being found guilty of a crime. It's not. Innocent people are falsely accused of serious crimes everyday. I will continue to fight for my clients and strive for continued success in protecting their rights and preserving their freedom.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom

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Beginning July 1st, the penalties for driving with insurance in Tennessee are getting much tougher. While "Proof of Financial Responsibility (Insurance)" has been required in Tennessee for a few years now, there were few teeth in the law. 


The Tennessee Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a new law which will greatly up the penalities for uninsured drivers. Starting tomorrow, July 1, 2015, if a driver is unable to provide proof of insurance, the minimum fine will be $300 (triple the old fine) and the car can automatically be towed and held until proof of insurance is provided. So, in addition to the increased fine, the uninsured will lose their vehicle and, to get it back, must provide proof of current insurance and pay the towing and impoundment fees. We can keep in mind that just because an officer CAN do something, that doesn't mean they WILL do it. So, this law will probably, like most others, be enforced at the officer's discretion. 

Beginning in 2016, the DMV will have a system in place that will let them check for valid insurance before issuing a vehicle registration and no insurance will mean no registration. If the driver tried to buy insurance to get their registration and then cancel it or let it lapse, that registration can be revoked. There is also a provision in the new law that will let counties add an additional penalty to the $300, not to exceed $25 per ticket, if someone is caught in that county driving without insurance. Each county commission will have to enact that penalty for it to come into play.

Most of us carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist on our auto policies. Sometimes this coverage is included automatically and sometimes it has to be "elected" or purchased for an increased premium. State officials warned in public hearings that this new law should not prompt insured drivers in Tennessee to drop their UM/UIM coverage as there would still be people who will drive without insurance despite the increased repercussions of their actions.

Tenneessee ranks 6th in the nation for uninsured motorists, with one in five Tennesseans driving without insurance, and lawmakers point to 46 other states who have or are about to have similar laws to enforce fiscal responsibility for those driving on our roads.

Take a minute to be sure you have proof of your current insurance in your glove compartment!
Read More My clients are often placed on bond with the restriction of being required to use a transdermal monitoring device as a condition of bond if the person has a prior alcohol-related conviction. These devices are not only embarrassing and cumbersome, but are also very expensive, sometimes as high as $125.00 per week.  We are able to obtain a court order to remove this device from my client's body by substituting the transdermal device for an interlock device that is placed on a vehicle the person is driving. New Tennessee laws now require that any person charged with vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide SHALL be required to use a transdermal monitoring device as a condition of bond if the person has a prior alcohol-related conviction, regardless of how long ago the prior conviction occurred.
In addition to this law, Tennessee has also passed a new law making it a crime for the person required to wear the transdermal monitoring device to knowingly tamper, remove or vandalize it, as well as for any person who knowingly aids, abets, or assists a person in tampering with, removing or vandalizing a monitoring device. 



The crime is punishable by a sentence of up to 6 months and commission of the offense may also result in the revocation of bail of the original offender.

Increasingly, the right to bail is now conditioned on technology to monitor citizens who are accused but not convicted of crimes. If you are under monitoring such as this and need help with your charges, please give us call.

In the defense of the citizen accused,

 ~ Frank Lannom

 
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Frank and Melanie are attending the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Conference in Nashville today and have been getting briefed on new and changing laws in Tennessee. Frank sent the following on Vehicular Homicide. . .

As a general rule, Vehicular Homicide is a class B felony that carries a possible sentence of 8-20 years. However, in some instances there is the possibility of a fully probated sentence if the facts and circumstances warrant such a sentence.

The Tennessee Legislature has now set arbitrary minimum mandatory sentences for Vehicular Homicide:

  • If for a first violation of Vehicular Homicide, the sentence shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of (48) hours;
  • If the person has one prior conviction for an alcohol related offense, the person shall serve 45 days consecutive days of incarceration and is not eligible for probation until such sentence is served; 
  • If the person has a combination of two prior conviction for an alcohol related offense, the person shall serve 120 consecutive days of incarceration;
  • If at the time of sentencing, the person has any combination of three or more prior convictions for an alcohol-related offense they shall serve a mandatory minimum sentence of (150) days.


 This sentencing law takes effect July 1, 2015 .

Read More A potential client came by our office late last Friday very worried about a legal problem facing them. After spending some time with us, they left with peace of mind and the confidence to allow them to spend a long holiday weekend worry-free with their family. To say thanks, they brought us an apple pie on Tuesday - what a great way to start our week!

 Happy clients and a simple "thank you" are enough for us - but who are we to turn down pie?
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     A great number of the criminal cases I handle are for younger people. While these younger clients are most often between 18-21, it is becoming more common to see youths under 18 charged with serious crimes.  I have often criticized the philosophy that young people in our society are considered too immature to make their own decisions, yet our legal system wants to hold them fully responsible when their actions break the law.

     As an example, society has deemed that people under the age of 21 are to immature to make appropriate decisions on the use of alcohol, yet if they are provided alcohol by another person or business, the young person is held fully accountable for crimes such as DUI, vehicular assault, or even vehicular homicide. The Supreme Court has delved into the often unbelievably harsh treatment some states have imposed on people that our society, outside of the criminal justice system, considers to be children.

    On June 25, 2012, the United States Supreme Court found it unconstitutional to place a mandatory life-without-parole sentence on a child who was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime.  The ruling granted new sentencing hearings to two children, both of whom were automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole for crimes they committed at the age of 14.

    The Court held that imposing mandatory life-without-parole sentences on children imposed a state’s most severe penalties on juvenile offenders, as though they were adults and not children. Therefore, regardless of the crime committed, child status matters.

    Justice Kagan said that sentencing should include consideration of a child’s chronological age and its hallmark features, such as immaturity, impetuosity and failure to appreciate risks and consequences as well as the family and home environment — from which the youth cannot usually extricate him or herself, even if it is brutal or dysfunctional.

    The Court also was clear that discretionary life without parole sentences should be rare. Justice Kagan wrote, “Given all that we have said in RoperGraham, and this decision about children’s diminished culpability, and heightened capacity for change, we think appropriate occasions for sentencing juveniles to this harshest possible penalty will be uncommon.”

    While it is far more common for the young people we represent to be charged with lesser crimes of possession of drugs , DUI, assault and harassment, the same principles of childhood, immaturity, difficult home life, and split families all are appropriate considerations on the level of punishment or second opportunities for children to avoid a lifetime of sanctions for a crime of youth.

    For the best criminal defense possible, please give me a call to discuss your young person and their criminal charges - to give them a chance to protect their future.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom

 

 

 



 

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    We are proud to announce that Keith Williams has been recognized for his work in injury law by the legal industry.

   Keith has been named a "Super Lawyer - 2014: Personal Injury: General - Plaintiff” by Super Lawyers, a division of Thomson-Reuters and he is also included in the national magazine, Super Lawyers - Mid-South 2014 Edition.  The selection process to become a "Super Lawyer" is extremely rigorous, with only 5% of the attorneys who are nominated by their peers making the final cut.  The process, designed by Thomson-Reuters, is so specific and intricate that it has been patented.

     Keith has been practicing injury law in Nashville and across the country for over 20 years. While his priority will always be to provide the best possible representation to his clients, Keith appreciates being nominated by his peers across the country and being selected to receive this award, stating: "Being a great Dad to my two girls and being the best attorney I can be are the two things in my life I am most passionate about. I am grateful for the award and recognition by my fellow attorneys and Thomson-Reuters, but the focus in my career has always been and will continue to be my clients".

 

 

 





 

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     As a parent, I cannot fathom the unbearable pain experienced from losing a child. On December 23, 2014, a Bardstown Mother experienced this pain after watching her twelve year old daughter cling to life in an intensive care room at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. 

    

     Such unbearable situations only cause an endless list of questions, the most often asked is a simple why”?  In the unfortunate death of twelve year old Reagan Carter, persistent instances of school bullying, occurring on campus and at school sponsored events and online, contributed to the horrific loss.  This is certainly not the first time such a disturbing story has caused local and national headlines. School Districts, including the Bardstown Board of Education, which governs the Middle School Reagan Carter attended, adopt policies purportedly to protect students from bullying. Bardstown had numerous policies supposedly to protect students like Reagan Carter, including “Bullying and Hazing”; “Assault and Threats of Violence”; “Harassment/Discrimination” and actions that “Disrupt the Educational Process”. Bardstown even used the words “[h]azing, bullying, menacing, or abuse of students or staff members will not be tolerated.”  Policies and rules, including the state and federal laws that require the implementation thereof to provide a safe environment for children, are not effective if not followed. It bears an important question in the death of Reagan Carter, “why was Reagan not protected by the very school that promised to do so?”

     Reportedly, Reagan's mother had met with school officials on three different occasions since August, 2014 regarding the tireless acts of bullying, ridicule, humiliation, and intimidation against Reagan by a particular group of students. Reagan’s mother had even addressed the pervasive bullying just five days before Reagan began her hospitalization at Kosair after a student came to Reagan’s classroom and threatened bodily injury to her. As a result of the inescapable bullying perpetrated upon Reagan, unchecked by the school, Reagan’s mother intended to change Reagan’s school at the winter break.
   
     Despite her Mother’s attempts to demand a safe and abuse free school environment for Reagan, the bullying continued and at a school sponsored event on December 18, 2014, Reagan was scared and bullied to tears. Later that night, Reagan was rushed to Kosair in an effort to save her life. 

     State and Federal laws set requirements to mandate the adoption of policies and procedures “to ensure safe schools” and include adopting a “discipline code” and the development of a “district wide safety plan”. Failure to comply with state and federal laws may result in civil liability. If your child is bullied and subject to persistent ridicule emanating from school, it is important to document these incidents with the school and require compliance with policies, procedures, state and federal law, which may vary state to state. 

    

     The Law Office of Lannom and Williams extends deepest sympathy to the family of Reagan Carter. 

 

 

Melanie Bean

 

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 Being charged with a crime such as a DUI is frightening and can be overwhelming. As a criminal defense attorney with over 20 years experience representing citizens accused of crimes, I understand what my clients are feeling. Experience has taught me that anxiety is the number one issue people face. While the actual facts of the case may be intimidating, the unknown always produces the greatest fear with my clients. I have found that most of my client's anxiety can be largely reduced by getting honest answers to their questions. A face-to-face appointment is always the best thing to obtain answers, but sometimes the wait before our meeting can enhance anxiety, and the resolution to that is to call me to get some of your questions answered. I have found that just a few minutes of time dedicated to answering questions relieves a lot of anxiety for my clients and I am glad to talk over your case on the phone (615-444-3995).  In almost every circumstance, you will get a return call from us the same day. We have an answering service after business hours, on holidays, and on weekends and at attorney will usually get back with you within a few hours during those times as well. Don't worry if you don't have a lot of information about your charges, we can answer many of your questions on the phone and schedule you for an appointment generally within a week.

What about before we talk - how do you get yourself or a loved one out of jail? While legal advice is always good to have, an arrest in the middle of the night generally focuses the friends and family on one question.  How do we get our friends and family out of jail?  For first offenders accused of DUI, the answer is almost always the same. We advise contacting a bail bonding company immediately. Your friend or family member charged with DUI will generally have a relatively low bail bond generally requiring a bail bond fee or premium of less than $300.00. By paying this fee you obtain the services of a bail bonding company to speed along the process and minimize the anxiety of getting your family or friend released from custody.  In many middle Tennessee Counties, multiple offenders accused of DUI will require some type of monitering device as a bail condition for release. This generally will be a transdermal monitering device that can usually be installed by the bonding company. A fee for installation and the first months fee (generally $125.00) will be required. While it may proove somewhat embarrassing, it is likely a requirement that cannot be avoided for a quick release. If it is undesireable, have it installed as required and call our office  the next morning. We can likley provide a method of having it removed saving both expense and embarrassment.

For help in this area, call us at Frank Lannom Law Group  615-444-3995 for help with all aspects of a DUI charge.
  

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        I spent some time researching other Middle Tennessee attorney's areas of practice recently. You know - those things they represent to you that they handle with a high level of expertise. I have always found this to be a curious read when searching for an attorney and one that is clearly confusing to people who are trying to find the best attorney for their needs. Here’s a fact to help you evaluate an attorney’s claims - with few exceptions, any attorney can legally handle any type of case. But few attorneys, if any, can handle more than 1 or 2 areas with the expertise people deserve and expect. I wouldn’t go to a doctor with a specialty in heart disease if I had cancer, would you?  The doctor may be the best heart doctor in the world – but they would not fit my specific needs at that particular time.  
                 Some firms, like ours, have multiple lawyers specializing in different areas of law which allows us to handle almost any legal need in-house. If your particular legal need is not my specialty, I can confidently refer to you an excellent attorney in my own office who I know has extensive successful experience in your type of case. In the rare instance you require legal assistance in an area we can’t service in-house, our 20+ years of experience in the Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and entire Middle Tennessee area means we know an excellent local attorney to refer you to – “the one we’d use if we needed an attorney for that”.
                 In the future, when you review an individual attorney's claims of areas they handle and you see a laundry list of areas that look like this:

  • DUI
  • Personal injury cases
  • Tractor trailer wrecks
  • Contested estates
  • Divorce law
  • Business litigation
  • Contracts
  • Homicide
  • Bankruptcy
  • Real estate transactions
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Medical malpractice (etc. and so on) . . . .  and you don't see separate attorneys dedicated to developing their knowledge and skill in a specific area, it is time for you to question how one person can be an expert in all of those fields. The old adage, "jack of all trades, master of none" could likely be applied.

                At Lannom and Williams Trial Attorneys, we have attorneys who specialize in particular fields. I handle all types of criminal charges, Keith Williams handles all types of injury cases and business litigation, Melanie Bean handles divorce and child custody (as well as assisting in the criminal practice), and Jim Stocks handles workers compensation and Social Security Disability law (as well as assisting Keith with personal injury cases). Each attorney spends time furthering their knowledge with Continuing Legal Education. Keith and I have spent quite a bit of time over the past few years training other lawyers as presenters at legal seminars across the state and, in Keith’s case, across the country. Melanie Bean has served as an Adjunct Professor at Cumberland University for the past several years teaching Constitutional Law.  It's better to hire the teacher than the student.
                 Take the time to look at our attorney's profiles and their case results to see their level of experience in the areas of law we each practice. Then head over to our client testimonials to see how our dedication to providing the best legal representation possible to our clients works out for real people in the real world.
                 If we can help you with any legal needs, just let us know.  Even if you need help in an area of law in which we don’t primarily practice, we’ll be happy to refer to on to a qualified attorney in your area who we know endeavors to help their clients as passionately as we do!

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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511 Union Street, Suite 1850 Nashville, TN 37219
Via Phone: (615) 313-3999

Lannom & Williams Is Your Solution

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Let us help you.

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