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Read More frank door openOnce again substantive changes have been made to the Tennessee DUI Laws:

Operating an Employer's Vehicle. Under prior Tennessee Law, individuals with a restrictive driver's license, which required the use of an interlock device on their vehicle, could drive an employer's vehicle WITHOUT the requirement of an interlock device on the vehicle, as long as the employer acknowledged in writing they were permitted to do so.  The 2014 changes to the DUI law remove this provision in total from the restricted driving statute.

Another area impacted by the 2014 DUI law changes is sentencing credits for in-patient and out-patient treatment for DUI offenses.  Prior law allowed sentencing credits for substance abuse treatment of up to 28 days of a sentence for those convicted of a DUI 2nd Offense and 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.  

However, for the first time, those convicted of 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 who were 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.

In the defense of the citizen accused,
~ Frank Lannom
(Handling criminal cases in Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lafayette, Smyrna and all other Middle Tennessee areas)
Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerI 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
  • Health care liability
  • Bankruptcy
  • Real estate transactions
  • Nursing home liability
  • 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.

2014-10-30-1Take 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
(Handling criminal cases in Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lafayette, Smyrna and all other Middle Tennessee areas)
Read More    
keith williams-sm As most of our friends, family, and former clients know, we don’t usually dabble in politics at Lannom & Williams Trial Attorneys. While we all have passionate personal opinions, which result in frequent and lively discussions, we don’t let any political differences get in the way of our friendship, professional respect, or our assertive representation of our clients.

We did break tradition this year by strongly urging Tennesseans, through our e-newsletter and social media, to vote to retain the judges who were up for a Retention Vote this August. We were alarmed that state government and special interest groups, with the help of millions of dollars from unnamed donors who weren’t even in Tennessee, were trying to interfere and fundamentally change the judicial branch in Tennessee. District Attorneys, public defenders, and attorneys across the state came together in vocal opposition to the vicious and personal attacks waged against these judges.

As my law partner, Frank Lannom, put it: “If the Supreme Court, after ending the practice of Jim Crow laws in the 50's and 60s, had been up for a retention vote, I am sure they would not have been retained. It took courage, and Justices with true judicial freedom, to enforce the Constitution to prohibit the inhumane actions that were being inflicted on American citizens.” The process that has been used to appoint Supreme Court Judges in Tennessee for over a century is exceedingly fair and impartial. The judicial branch of the government must remain free of the taint of politics and big money influence. Tennesseans took charge of their right to an impartial court when they voted overwhelmingly to RETAIN the judges this year.

I think a statement from New York University’s bi-partisan Brennan Center for Justice sums it up well, “We see judges or justices being targeted for unpopular and controversial decisions that they make on the bench, and that’s concerning because you want judges to decide cases based on the law and on the Constitution and not on popularity.” I am hopeful that Tennesseans, and all Americans, will continue to see through big money corporate lobbyists’ lies and deceitful claims, and that we will continue to vote on the side of liberty and personal freedom!

~ Keith Williams
Read More

        What's on your cell phone and whose business is it? 

       The huge rise in the number of smart phones and the personal information contained on them has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. The Government has (predictably) used the ability to carry our personal information in our hand as a way to invade our privacy by searching indiscriminately any aspect of our life they desire. Law enforcement had adopted a policy that, if you were arrested for any crime such as possessing one marijuana joint, DUI or any criminal offense, they have the right to search anything on your phone without obtaining a search warrant. I have seen the police keep a citizen’s phone for weeks, and even months, perusing them at their leisure without judicial authorization.

        Our Constitution, bought and paid for with the blood of patriots, has long held that a warrantless search is presumed unlawful and that a government search requires obtaining a judicial warrant, unless there is a specific exception to the warrant requirement. This requirement has been routinely ignored for many years by law enforcement both on the federal level and in Tennessee.   

        In the case of Riley vs. California, the United States Supreme Court has now held that law enforcement must get a search warrant before searching the content of your phone, unless the narrow and specific exceptions to the search warrant requirement are found. Bi-partisan appointed Justices formed an alliance to reign in this invasive practice of law enforcement.  In holding that  search war-rant requirements are an important part of how our government operates, the Justices stated "that the warrant requirement is more than an inconvenience to somehow be weighed against the claims of police inefficiency". In short, freedom and the Constitution matter more than the police enforcing one more law. The Court recognized  that  almost every aspect of a citizen’s personal life is located on their cell phone  from internet browsing history, apps for political parties, pregnancy charting, aspects of romantic life, religious beliefs including the bible or religious literature one reads, medications, banking information and list goes on . . . If the Supreme Court had not held the police to the high standard of the Constitution, all the personal information aforementioned would still be subject to police browsing without a warrant. 

       The Court also shut down law enforcement  and the Government’s argument that searching cell phones without a warrant was no big deal - that it was the same as searching your pockets or a book you had on your person. The same government, who refuses to turn over emails, donor's lists, and timing of their phone calls related to government affairs, felt every aspect of your life was fair game for their search. The Court also dispelled other emotionally charged arguments, such as a terrorist plot could be foiled or a child abductor’s phone might hold the location of child, by pointing out that emergency exceptions have always existed when there is a reason to believe that disaster is imminent or lives are in danger.     

     The Supreme Court, in adopting freedom over a police state, beautifully stated, "Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans "the privacies of life". The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand, does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to arrest is accordingly simple, get a warrant."



        I  can add  nothing to that  eloquent  defense of personal liberty except to point out that those who follow us on Facebook will recognize  “get a warrant!” as being at  the heart of some of my more passionate blogs and posts!

       This recognition of the importance of protecting our Constitutional Rights from over-reaching Government and law enforcement is encouraging, but we must be ever-vigilent because the Government does not give up easily - if ever!  

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom

Read More frank door openIs Your Criminal Conviction Eligible for Expungement in Tennessee?

As we’ve discussed in earlier articles, the Tennessee Legislation passed T.C.A 40-32-101(g) in July of 2013 which allowed for certain prior convictions to be expunged. This method of expungement has allowed many of our clients to remove that one mistake that has followed them throughout their life. I emphasize the “one” because the expungement statute only allowed for “a criminal offense” to be expunged and any other offenses made the first or eligible offense ineligible to be expunged. The problem that many people have learned when attempting to have their criminal record expunged is that, when police make an arrest, they often charge the defendant with multiple offenses and that defendant will ultimately plead guilty to two or more offenses.

Starting July 1, 2014, those that have been arrested for multiple offenses during “a single continuous criminal episode” may now be eligible to have their criminal record expunged. This expands the number of citizens who could have their criminal history wiped away, which would be a vast improvement on their future.

The Legislature has made another significant change to the expungement statute. The statute currently allows for T.C.A. 39-17-417(g)(1)--Manufacture, delivery, sale or possession of not less than ½ ounce and not more than 10 pounds of Schedule VI drug marijuana (fine not greater than $1,000) to be expunged.  The problem has been that the Tennessee Drug Control Act requires a mandatory minimum fine of $2,000 for the convicted person. So, once citizens are found guilty and then a try to have this charge expunged, they find out they cannot because the statute only allows for the offense to be expunged when the fine is not greater than $1,000. The mandatory minimum fine increase from $1,000 to $ 2,500 makes this specific offense now eligible for expungement.  The statute does require other conditions be met before a person is considered a qualified petitioner. These include:
  1. Five (5) years have elapsed since the sentence has expired;
  2. All the terms of the sentence are completed (court cost, restitution, etc.);
  3. The offense for which you seek expungement is listed in the felony inclusion list or is a misdemeanor not listed on the exclusion list.  
erase pastSince prior convictions can have such negative effects on a person’s future, from job interviews to loan applications, I am glad the Legislature saw fit to broaden the law to give citizen’s a second chance at a clean record. If you have a prior conviction that you think might be eligible for expungement, please give our office a call.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,
~ Frank Lannom (Donnovan Vasek Contributor)
(Handling criminal cases in Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lafayette, Smyrna and all other Middle Tennessee areas)
Read More frank door openJudge Casey Moreland in Nashville has recently come under fire for granting bail to an individual, an American citizen and citizen of the State of Tennessee, accused of domestic assault prior to the expiration of a 12 hour hold. The current law permits citizens to be held without the ability to post bail for 12 hours based solely on an unproven allegation of domestic assault. However, the Tennessee Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to bail, a right without reservation based on time or the nature of the crime, unless they commit a capital offense. The same statute that mandates this "mandatory hold", denying bail for a time, also allows a magistrate or a judge to release an accused under appropriate circumstances that indicate the risk or threat is lowered or diminished.
 
While I am not privy to the specific facts of the recent case in the news concerning Judge Moreland, I know the constitution guarantees bail and that no law by our state legislature should take away that freedom. Judge Moreland's actions implemented what the constitution guarantees - the right to bail. Before people jump on the bandwagon to bash this Judge, we need to understand what is occurring daily. Citizens are accused (not convicted) and held in jail without being able to post bail in violation of the Tennessee Constitution, Section 1, Article 15. You can read more on our website.
 
You might be the next one accused and held without bail who hasn't committed any crime!

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,
~ Frank Lannom
(Handling criminal cases in Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lafayette, Smyrna and all other Middle Tennessee areas)
Read More frank door openAt this point, the government has seized your property without a hearing, you have been required to pay money to ask why the government has taken what is yours, and the government has delayed your right to a hearing by months and demanded you prove through a standing hearing that the property they took from you is actually yours.

Recently we were able to show a judge, 6 months after the seizure of my client's property, that the property was theirs in a standing hearing. The Department of Safety and Homeland Security, who lost the hearing, then decided to appeal. Appeals are generally not allowed until after the entire case is decided, but the government has special rules that allow them to do it. So, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security appealed the decision (and get ready for this) to the Commissioner of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security - THEIR OWN BOSS! Please read that again. Your property is taken and the arm of the government taking it is the same one that decides the appeal of the Judge's decision. The citizen is not allowed to have their case heard by a jury of their peers, is forced to pay for a hearing, having to prove the property taken from them is theirs and not the governments, and when they win, the government stealing their property appeals to themselves.

Please, to all my friends that have any belief in a limited government, just take the time to let it sink in. If this is seen as okay and if it is allowed to continue unopposed, our property rights are lost forever.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,
~ Frank Lannom
(Handling criminal cases in Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lafayette, Smyrna and all other Middle Tennessee areas)
Read More Frank and Melanie TACDL
Melanie Bean of Lannom & Williams Trial Attorneys will be serving as the Organizer & Moderator as well as delivering the Welcoming Remarks to the 2014 TACDL (Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) Legislative Update and Case Law Review Conference in Nashville on June 13th. Frank Lannom, Founding Partner of Lannom & Williams, will be speaking to the conference on Standing, Discovery and Understanding “Their” Rules in Forfeiture Proceedings.

tacdl logoBoth Frank and Melanie are passionate advocates for the rights of citizens accused of crimes.  As TACDL’s purpose is the provide education and support to help attorneys protect the rights of their clients accused of crimes, both of them are proud to be a part of TACDL and look forward to sharing knowledge and ideas with their fellow criminal attorneys from Tennessee.

~ Frank Lannom & Melanie Bean

Read More frank door openMy friends, this blog may educate you and it also may shock you about what is going on in the great State of Tennessee.

Did you know that any police officer can take your property, vehicles or money without charging you with any crime whatsoever? You will not get a chance to question the officer or see a judge to get your property back for at least 120 days and not even then unless you pay money for court costs to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security for privilege of asking why they took your property.

Our current state government administration has granted the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (yes they are implanted in Tennessee as well as the Federal Government) to take the property of citizens, the abuse begins the same in most cases. A police officer, generally an agent of a county drug task force, seizes your property without a warrant of any kind. That agent must appear before a judge within 5 days to justify the taking of your property when no arrest has been made. While this sounds like a great idea, you (the owner of the property) do not get to ask any questions or raise any defenses to the Seizure. You don’t have the right to ask why your property has been taken.

You must first pay $350 to $700 (court cost) to even ask why this abusive branch of government, beyond the reach of any local judge, has your property. You must pay the government to even ask why they took your property!

After you have paid for the privilege of asking why your property is in the hands of the government, the law says you must be given a hearing date within 30 days. Great idea! Give the citizen the chance to get his or her property back. However, these agencies read that language to mean they must tell you WHEN your court date "is" within 30 days, it might be 60-90 days later. Leave it to the government to adopt such a ridiculous position. They don’t have to give you a hearing within 30 days, they just have to tell you when your hearing will be within 30 days.

For most people this means their car, motorcycle, boat, their money for work, rent, or a mortgage is now gone for such a time that the car must be replaced or their mortgage is missed. Many people start to give up at this point, which is just what your government wants them to do. Even if you don’t give up, after 90 days, you would think the end would be soon but 3 months is just the beginning. The Department of Safety and Homeland Security is just getting started, a process causing more and more citizens to give up the fight against the Bill Haslam Gestapo style government agency.

A new ploy is now used to delay and cause additional expense to the citizen. The state legislature passed a law that says a person claiming property must first show they are the owners before arguing the property should be returned. In theory, if a car, money or guns were taken from person A, and then person B says the guns were really mine, then it makes sense to require person B to show they have an ownership interest. Based on this, the Department of Safety and Law Enforcement lobbied the Legislature to pass the law requiring the individual to show they have ownership or "standing" to claim the property. Predictably, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security now abuses this rule to delay the citizen a hearing. If the government knows the property seized belongs to you because the police removed it from your bank account or the car is titled in your name, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will still request a standing hearing and demand it be separate from the seizure hearing. By demanding this hearing, another 2 month delay occurs and more and more citizens give up the fight or give in to the extortion demands of the drug task force agencies who receive the money.

Once again, a law enforcement backed law with a reasonable purpose is perverted to put money in the pockets of the government and law enforcement at the expense of the citizens of the State of Tennessee. Oh, but I promise it gets worse! Stay tuned for future blogs outlining the entirety of the dire straits of citizens' freedom in Tennessee.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,
~ Frank Lannom
(Handling criminal cases in Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lafayette, Smyrna and all other Middle Tennessee areas)
Read More frank door openTennessee citizens are ordered out of their own homes every day without a court hearing by someone who isn’t even a judge. Surprised? My office sees this reality almost daily, a reality brought about by a multitude of criminal charges, some of which are minor. These allegations can be brought by an adult child in your home, ex-wives, girlfriends or anyone else who is permitted to stay in your home for even a short period of time.  Even more disturbing is that after being ordered out, the accusation that you simply drove by your own home could result in your being immediately arrested with or without a warrant and held without bail until the court system hears your case. This occurs before your case has gone to court!

How can such a system exist in America? It occurs when special groups of crimes are given special rules and considerations before a person is convicted of a crime by a jury of their peers. The crime of domestic assault has been placed into this special group. The Legislators have directly contradicted the Constitution by authorizing such restrictions.

Here is how it works. You allow a person to live in your home and this person accuses you of harassing, assaulting or threatening them. The police are called, sometimes days later. Police officers are encouraged by a special state law to make an arrest of someone if there is any evidence of any physical altercation, regardless of how they feel the altercation arose. When officers find no cause to arrest, the individual making the allegations can appear before a judicial commissioner and request a warrant. Becoming a judicial commissioner has no special requirements and they are rarely lawyers and never elected judges.  

The judicial commissioner can issue an arrest warrant, which immediately results in bail conditions that require serious restrictions on your freedom and inherent rights. These restrictions always include a prohibition of your going back to your own home if the person making the allegation is still living there. You most likely will be prohibited from seeing your own children and can be prohibited from going to your job if the person who accused you of domestic assault works with you. You will be prohibited from drinking alcohol while out on bail and even  prohibited from possessing a firearm.

I recently represented a Special Forces soldier who had completed three tours of active duty. He was accused by his estranged wife of a violent assault that allegedly occurred 3 days before being reported to the police. Police officers responded but found no evidence of the injuries the estranged wife reported. The wife then appeared before a judicial commissioner and was granted an arrest warrant against the soldier. The commissioner ordered the soldier not to return to his own home as long as the wife lived there, and prohibited him from possessing a firearm or drinking alcohol while released on bail.  The soldier couldn’t go to his own home, which was solely in his name, to even get basic clothing, computers or his phone. Most every person accused of such a crime is held without bail for 12 hours and released with the same restrictions as  listed   above.   
8th-amendment-picture
In this case, the wife publicly said she was moving out  and had left the premises. With the wife removed from the residence, the soldier went to the home, on legal advice and with off duty police officers and other soldiers as witnesses, to gather his personal items and then left. The wife immediately told the commissioner that the soldier was at her “home”, even though she had confirmed in writing that she had moved out, and a warrant was issued for his arrest to be held without bond.

In most criminal cases, a false accusation can result in an arrest but not in being held in jail. The person is permitted to post bail and a hearing is required before they can be incarcerated. Due to Tennessee’s domestic assault laws, this soldier was held in jail without bond before even having a chance to tell his side to a judge. You might be interested to know what our state’s Constitution says about bail:

“That all prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offences, when the proof is evident, or the presumption great.”
(Tenn. Const. art. I, § 15)

A capital offense for which a citizen can be held without bail is one that includes the death penalty, limited in modern times to first degree murder and only then when there is abundant proof of guilt.

It was my privilege to represent this soldier. We were able to prove that every allegation against him was false and all charges were dismissed, but not before he was ordered out of his home for weeks and held in jail without bond before his first court appearance solely on unfounded allegations.

The Constitution requires bail for a reason. Your rights afford you due process or a fair hearing before your rights and freedom are taken away. Domestic violence laws were passed with good intentions to protect those believed to be in need of protection. But each time we short circuit the Constitution by creating special exceptions to it, abuses like those to this soldier occur. I can assure you the example above is not an isolated case.  It is important to know what power the government holds over you and your home. Freedom matters! We must not turn a blind eye to our Constitution out of fear of crime, not unless we are willing to surrender the freedoms that have been sacrificed for by soldiers such as my client.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,
~ Frank Lannom
(Handling criminal cases in Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lafayette, Smyrna and all other Middle Tennessee areas)
Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerIf you are faced with a DUI, the loss of your driver’s license is mandatory if certain facts are present. This loss can have a devastating effect on people in an era where the necessity of driving a motor vehicle is inescapable. However, there are several “restricted licenses” that allow you to still drive after being convicted. After July 1, 2013, one of the common forms of a restricted license is that of an Interlock Device. This device may or may not be mandatory depending on the particular facts of your case. There are a few exceptions that allow for a motorist convicted of a DUI to avoid the interlock device if needed. However, if the Court has required you to install an interlock device or you have requested one be installed, the chronological process below will help ease the transition and answer many of your questions and help prevent any unwanted frustration. The procedure below is not a boilerplate process for every client and will tailored to your particular case and explained in detail by my law office.

  1. blog post image 20140417Call Smart Start at 1-800-880-3394 or visit http://www.smartstartinc.com to schedule your appointment to have an Interlock device put on your vehicle at J & R Electronics in Lebanon, Tennessee. It is also important that, if you are aware ahead of time that an interlock device will be required, you schedule this appointment just prior to your court date where the Judge signs your restricted license. After the Judge signs your restricted license order, you cannot even drive from the courthouse to have the interlock device installed and doing so could lead to a subsequent charge.
  2. Have your attorney prepare a Court Order authorizing J & R Electronics to install the interlock device. You must have the Order with you at the time of installation.
  3. Be prepared to pay the cost of installation to J & R Electronics, which is approximately $121.00, at your first appointment.  The installation takes about two hours to install so schedule your day accordingly.
  4. Once a month after the installation you must return to J & R Electronics to allow them to scan the device to check if there are any violations in the prior month. The cost of each subsequent month is $108.16.
  5. After your period of having a restricted license has expired, which depends upon the numbered offense (i.e. 1st offense, 2nd offense, etc.) you may have the device taken off your vehicle. The cost of the removal is approximately $80.00. The number of offenses you are convicted of plays a pivotal role in how long your license will be suspended. “The court shall prohibit any person convicted of a violation of a DUI from driving a vehicle in this state for a period of one (1) year, if the conviction is a first offense; two (2) years for a second offense; six (6) years for a third offense; and, eight (8) years for a fourth or subsequent offense. Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-404.”

It is important to note that these above-mentioned steps are not exhaustive to ensuring you have complied with the law. You must also visit the DMV to start the process of getting your “interim license” and then your “restricted license.” This is another complicated process during which many problems can arise.


I hope reading this article has answered some questions you may have surrounding the Interlock device. The installment phase alone can be a daunting task without the help of experienced legal counsel. In future articles, we will look at ankle bracelets and geographical monitoring devices. If I can be of any assistance to you, please call my office to discuss your case further.


In Defense of the Citizen Accused,
~ Frank Lannom
(Contributions made by Donnavon Vasek) 
Read More frank door openArbitrary Limits in DUI Cases At The Expense of Justice 
     
     While Colorado has now legalized the recreational use of marijuana and Tennessee has not done so, the two states have something in common as both criminalize driving impaired whether it is from alcohol, marijuana or a combination of the two.

     In Tennessee and Colorado, if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a driver is high on weed, the officer can ask the driver to take a road side field sobriety test, which is basically the same given for alcohol related DUI investigations. Colorado has set an arbitrary limit of marijuana a person can have in their system and drive at 5 nano-grams per milliliter. Most experts agree the limit is arbitrary and inaccurate and say that measuring 5 nano-grams does not equal impairment - much as Tennessee's DUI law setting the limit at .08 doesn’t necessarily prove impairment. Both laws are designed to produce DUI convictions, whether or not the person is impaired. The experts say that five nano-grams could be shown in a person who hasn't smoked marijuana in two weeks.

In Tennessee, police officers attempt to rely upon their limited training and similarly inaccurate blood tests to show that a driver is impaired. In today's world of video tapes, it would seem videoing a person's driving, their speech, and response to questions and performance of simple physical tasks would be what juries should rely on to make a decision if a driver was impaired. Blood tests could certainly be helpful to juries, but are inappropriate for a per se and arbitrary limits that are conclusive of impairment.

Statue-of-Lady-Justice-on-the-Dublin-CastleHowever, you can be assured that politicians, more interested in convictions than the proof of whether or not a person is actually impaired, will rely on any test, accurate or not, to get the headlines they desire. The cost of these arbitrary limits, rather than proof of actual impairment from alcohol or marijuana, can be that of justice herself.

In defense of the citizen accused,
~ Frank Lannom
Lannom & Williams Attorneys

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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