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Campbell County Criminal Defense AttorneyIn July 2020, Virginia became the 16th state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. In April of this year, Virginia lawmakers passed another bill that legalized simple possession of marijuana and limited home growth. That law just went into effect on July 1.

But here in Tennessee, marijuana use--whether recreational or medical-- is still completely banned. Given the changes in Virginia’s law, many law enforcement agencies that border Virginia say they will be on the lookout for an increase in black market activity and an increase in driving under the influence of marijuana, as well as any transporting the drug across state lines.

Tennessee Marijuana Penalties

Tennessee is one of only 14 states that has not yet authorized medical marijuana, despite polls that show more than 80 percent of residents support the measure. The state is also one of only a handful where a conviction for simple possession of pot will result in jail time.

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jacksboro fatal crash lawyerThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released early estimates of crash fatalities from 2020. The estimates show that despite the COVID-19 pandemic keeping Americans off the roads, there was a more than 7 percent increase in the number of victims killed in traffic accidents last year compared to 2019.

2020 Statistics

The NHTSA’s preliminary estimates show that approximately 38,680 victims were killed in traffic accidents in 2020, the highest number of fatalities since 2007. This increase occurred despite the number of vehicle miles traveled decreasing by more than 430.2 billion miles. There was a 9 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, a 5 percent increase in passenger vehicle fatalities, and a 5 percent increase in cyclist fatalities compared to 2019.

Fatal crashes rose 15 percent on urban highways and 11 percent on local and rural roads. According to the NHTSA’s report, the main causes of this increase include driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, speeding, and failure to wear seat belts. The number of fatal crashes increased significantly during the last two quarters of the year. This time period is also when states begin lifting pandemic restrictions.

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Jacksboro BUI defense lawyerThere is no better place to spend summer than in the state of Tennessee, especially with the abundance of beautiful lakes and state parks Campbell County has to offer. Both residents and visitors to the area have plenty of places to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities. Unfortunately, along with those activities often comes the consumption of alcohol. If you are planning on doing any kind of boating, it is important to be aware of the state’s new boating under the influence (BUI) law that recently went into effect.

Boating Under the Influence Law in Tennessee

In Tennessee, if a boat operator has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, that operator is considered over the legal limit, the same BAC applied to someone driving a vehicle. While it has always been illegal to operate a boat while under the influence in Tennessee, the penalties for conviction were not as harsh as those for driving under the influence (DUI). But the new law changes that. In fact, the law, which went into effect July 1, mirrors the state’s drunk driving laws.

Under the prior law, penalties were discretionary, meaning the sentencing judge had latitude. With the new law, all penalties are mandatory:

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campbell county dui defense lawyerA DUI can affect your life long after you have served your sentence and paid your fines. Many employers in Tennessee conduct background checks, so they will likely find out about your conviction. While finding a job may be trickier now, it is not impossible. If you are completely honest and show an employer that you are the right fit for the position, they may overlook the conviction.

Do You Have to Disclose Your DUI?

The “Ban the Box” movement has led many states to remove questions about a job applicant’s criminal history. In Tennessee, state employers may not ask about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial job application. However, the employer may ask about an applicant’s criminal history after the initial application screening. There is not currently legislation prohibiting questions about criminal history for private employers. Disclosing your DUI conviction on a job application or interview may seem daunting. However, employers may see the conviction on criminal background checks anyway, so it is important to be honest about your criminal history. 

How Do You Talk About Your DUI During an Interview?

If an employer asks about your criminal history during an interview, it is important to know what to say next. Here are some tips for improving your chances of getting a job with a DUI.

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campbell county car accident lawyerA car accident is a frightening event and can cause you to experience a wide range of emotions. If the accident was caused by another driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for the damages you endured. However, you may have heard certain myths about vehicle collisions that will reduce your chances of securing the financial compensation you need.

Here are several myths about Tennessee car accident cases that you should be aware of.

  • If you do not have an obvious injury, medical care is not necessary. Just because you do not have a visible injury after a car accident, does not mean you do not require a doctor’s care. Not every injury, including certain head and neck injuries, presents obvious symptoms right away. You may feel fine initially, but experience pain and other unpleasant symptoms later on. To play it safe, seek medical attention right after a car accident.

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Jacksboro car crash lawyerEveryone who drives a vehicle has the obligation to do so in a safe manner. If you fail to operate your vehicle in a manner that is safe for others, you could be responsible for any damages or injuries caused by the negligent operation. Unfortunately, negligent driving is not uncommon and leads to thousands of car accidents every year. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 6.7 million motor vehicle crashes reported to law enforcement across the country in 2019. In Illinois alone, there were more than 300,000 vehicle crashes in 2019. If you have been injured in a car accident with another driver, you should discuss your options for compensation with a skilled Illinois car accident injury lawyer. 

Speeding

Speeding is a notoriously dangerous driving behavior. Speed limits are posted for a reason -- to keep people safe. Driving above the speed limit can be considered an act of negligence, as it creates unsafe conditions for other drivers on the road and is against the law. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that around 26 percent of traffic fatalities in 2019 were attributable to speeding.

Distracted Driving

In recent years, distracted driving has also become a growing concern. Distracted driving occurs when a driver is paying attention to anything other than the task of driving. Distractions for drivers can appear in many forms, including distractions outside of the vehicle, such as looking at a traffic accident. However, the most common types of distractions occur within the vehicle. These distractions can be children or other passengers, the radio or other vehicle controls, or more notoriously, the driver’s cell phone or other electronic devices.

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tennessee drunk driving defense lawyerMost people would agree that one of the most serious crimes you could be charged with is killing or seriously injuring another human being. When this happens as a result of driving a vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face consequences not only for DUI, but also for injuring another person. In Tennessee, injuring another person while driving under the influence (DUI) is referred to as vehicular assault, while killing another person as a result of DUI is referred to as vehicular homicide. Both offenses are extremely serious and can result in harsh consequences upon conviction.

What is Vehicular Assault?

According to Tennessee law, vehicular assault occurs when a person is driving while under the influence and imposes serious bodily injury upon another person. Vehicular assault is charged as a Class D felony and carries a potential sentence of two to 12 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The severity of certain aspects of the penalties for vehicular assault depends on the number of DUI-related offenses you have had. For example, a person who has never faced any type of DUI offense would face a minimum of 48 hours in jail before any other sentence began, in addition to a one-year driver’s license suspension.

Understanding Vehicular Homicide

You do not necessarily have to be intoxicated to have committed vehicular homicide. There are a variety of actions that could be included under the vehicular homicide statute. Tennessee law states that vehicular homicide occurs when a person recklessly kills another person while operating a vehicle if their conduct created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, their behavior was a result of driving under the influence, if a person was drag racing or if they were in a construction zone and the victim was a highway worker or construction worker.

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campbell county car crash lawyerEverything can change in the blink of an eye. One minute, you are sitting in traffic, waiting for the light to turn green, the next minute, you are being thrown forward because the vehicle behind you rear-ended your car. Though it may have only seemed like a minor shock in the beginning, a car accident like that can end up leaving you with chronic pain in the neck and shoulders, broken bones, or even a concussion, depending on the severity of the accident. If you are injured in a car accident, you may be able to get financial compensation from the person who caused it.

Compensation for a Personal Injury

If you have been injured because another person acted in a negligent manner, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries from that person, or more likely, the person’s car insurance company. Some of the most common types of damages that are claimed in personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Economic damages - Economic damages are intended to compensate you for the monetary loss that you experience as a result of your injuries. These damages are those that are directly related to your incident, such as medical costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and the cost of any damage that occured to your property, such as your vehicle or things inside of your vehicle.

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tennessee dui lawyerIt is not difficult to be charged with a DUI in Tennessee. According to Tennessee law, a person is considered to be driving under the influence (DUI) if they are in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any “intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance...drug...or combination thereof,” that renders a driver unable to safely operate the vehicle. A driver is also considered to be driving under the influence if their blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or more, the Tennesse legal limit. If you are convicted of DUI or if you have even been arrested for DUI, it is likely that you will face a driver’s license suspension for at least a year. This can cause difficulty, but the option to apply for a restricted license exists to help those who are eligible. 

What is a Restricted License?

There are very strict restrictions that you must adhere to if you receive a restricted license after a DUI conviction or alcohol concentration test refusal. In Tennessee, you can only use the restricted license for things like:

  • Going to and from your place of employment

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rear end accidnet lawyerCar accidents occur every day in the United States, accounting for millions of injuries and tens of thousands of deaths each year. One of the most common types of car accidents is rear-end accidents. In a rear-end accident, at least two vehicles are involved. Most of the time, rear-end accidents occur when one vehicle is stopped and another vehicle comes along behind them and collides with the rear end of the stopped vehicle. Many rear-end accidents cause injuries that could have lifelong consequences and noticeably impact that person’s life. Thankfully, some rear-end accident injuries may allow you to file a personal injury claim against the other vehicle in Tennessee. 

Rear-End Accidents in America

Car accidents are extremely common in the United States. According to information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6.7 million car accidents were reported to law enforcement in 2019. Of those, nearly 2.2 million (or about 32 percent) of those accidents were rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions are notorious for causing some sort of damage, whether to the drivers involved or their vehicles. Even though the majority of rear-end collisions result in property damage only, the NHTSA states that nearly 600,000 of the rear-end accidents that occurred in 2019 involved some sort of physical injury to the drivers involved.

Who is At Fault?

Most of the time, rear-end car accidents are fairly straightforward as far as liability goes. In most cases, the rear vehicle that collides into the other vehicle is at fault for the accident. A few common scenarios that demonstrate fault on the rear vehicle are:

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Jacksboro criminal defense lawyerMany people do not realize just how precious the ability to drive is until it is taken away from them. In the state of Tennessee, there are many ways you could lose your driver’s license. According to the Tennessee Driver Services Division, you could lose your license for a variety of offenses, including obvious ones like DUI or drag racing and not-so-common ones, like fleeing from the scene of a traffic accident or driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license. Being convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license is a serious offense that could result in criminal charges.

Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License

According to Tennessee statutes, a person who is caught driving with a suspended, canceled, or revoked license is generally subject to a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a possibility of up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines. If the incident is the second offense a person has for driving with a suspended or revoked license, they will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential year-long jail sentence and up to $2,500 in fines.

Enhanced Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License

Penalties change if there are aggravating circumstances. For example, if your driver’s license was suspended because of a vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or DUI conviction, you may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and face a minimum of two nights in jail and the potential for the judge to add on up to $1,000 in fines. If the offense is your second offense of driving with a suspended license and the original suspension resulted from one of the crimes mentioned above, you face a Class A misdemeanor. You also face a minimum jail sentence of 45 days and up to $3,000 in fines.

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tennesse car crash lawyerIn the United States, having a vehicle is extremely important for much of the population. In many places, it can be nearly impossible to get around without a vehicle, causing more drivers on the road and an increased possibility of getting into an accident. The latest information available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that there were an estimated 6.7 million motor vehicle crashes reported to police in 2019. Car accidents often result in injuries, which can range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries, like a traumatic brain injury or broken bones. When filing a claim for compensation, you should understand some of the potential causes for the accident.

Common Causes for Motor Vehicle Accidents

We see car accidents on TV and hear about them on the news so frequently that they do not faze most people anymore unless they are particularly serious or eventful. However, the cause of many of these accidents can be traced back to a few common reasons. Some of the most common causes of serious car accidents in the U.S. include:

  • Distracted driving: In today’s world, one of the most common causes of car accidents is due to distracted drivers. According to the NHTSA, there were an estimated 424,000 people injured and another 3,142 people killed in accidents involving distracted drivers. Distractions while driving can include cell phones, GPS systems, passengers in the vehicle or even adjusting the vehicle controls.

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campbell county dui lawyerOver the past 30 years or so, there have been countless campaigns aimed at decreasing the number of people who drink and drive. While these campaigns have been successful in their goal of reducing the number of alcohol-related accidents and deaths, driving under the influence (DUI) still remains a serious issue. According to the latest data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the state of Tennessee saw an increase of more than 19 percent in the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities from 2018 to 2019. Tennessee law states that a person is not permitted to be under the influence of any intoxicant or have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more while operating a motor vehicle. Anyone who is even arrested for DUI can face consequences, but sometimes those consequences are more severe than others, resulting in felony charges.

Felony DUI Situations

In most cases, a DUI is charged as a misdemeanor charge, with a focus on rehabilitating the person, rather than punishing them. In cases that involve more serious situations, however, the typical misdemeanor charge can be elevated to a felony charge. According to Tennessee law, the following DUI offenses are charged and punished as felonies:

  • A fourth or subsequent DUI charge - If you are charged with DUI and you have at least three prior DUI convictions, you can be charged with a felony DUI. The offense is anywhere from a Class E to a Class C felony depending on the number of prior convictions. This means you could face a minimum of two years and a maximum of seven years in jail for a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction. 

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Jacksboro personal injury attorneyBeing in a car accident in a jarring experience, even if it is just a small fender bender. Experiencing a car accident can cloud your judgement and cause you to make decisions that may make sense at the time but that are not good decisions in the long term. You may already know what steps you should take if you have been in a car accident, but you should also know what steps you should not take, as there are things that you can do that can actually prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Common Mistakes

If you have been in an accident that was the fault of another driver, you have the right to seek compensation from them, but certain actions could prevent that from happening. Here are a few common mistakes that people have made after they have been in a car accident that could prevent them from receiving compensation:

  • Not calling the police at the scene of the accident. If you get into any kind of car accident, you should always call the police to the scene, even if you do not think it is necessary. When the police arrive, they are required to make a report. This report will contain valuable information that you can use as you build your case, such as taking photographs, tracking down witnesses and gathering statements from the other driver and witnesses.
  • Not seeking immediate medical attention. It is always a mistake if you decide not to get checked out by a medical professional after a car accident. Even if you do not feel as if you have been injured, you should visit a physician, as some car accident injuries are not visible to the naked eye or may take hours or days to manifest. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more difficult it may be for you to make a case for your injury.
  • Not filing your case within the appropriate amount of time. In the state of Tennessee, there is a limited amount of time during which you can file a personal injury claim for injuries sustained during a car accident. In Tennessee, you have up to one year from the date of the injury to file a claim. If you wait longer than a year, you may have a harder time claiming compensation.
  • Accepting blame for the accident. Another mistake you should never make is admitting you were at fault for the accident. This can either prevent you from claiming compensation for your accident or significantly lower the amount that you are awarded. In Tennessee, you can still recover compensation from a car accident, as long as you are not found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.

Speak With Our Campbell County Car Accident Injury Attorney Today

If you have been in a car accident, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable Jacksboro, TN car accident injury lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Office of William F. Evans, we will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call our office anytime 24/7 at 423-449-7980.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_marijuana-drugged-driving-pot-DUI.jpgDrunk driving is known to be dangerous, and drivers understand that they can face criminal charges of driving under the influence (DUI) if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of .08%. However, some people may not realize that they can also face DUI charges if they drive after using other types of drugs or intoxicating substances. Driving while under the influence of marijuana has become a larger concern for law enforcement in recent years, especially since several states have made this drug legal for both recreational and medical uses. While marijuana remains illegal in Tennessee, some people may travel to other states where it is legal, and drivers will want to understand the potential consequences they could face if they are charged with DUI related to marijuana or other drugs.

Drug-Related DUI Charges

Under Tennessee law, it is illegal to be in physical control of a vehicle on a public road or highway while under the influence of marijuana, controlled substances, drugs that affect the central nervous system, or other types of intoxicants. A person will be considered intoxicated if a substance or a combination of different substances affects the clearness of their mind and their self-control, causing them to be unable to operate a vehicle safely.

DUI charges related to marijuana or other substances are charged the same as for a driver who is intoxicated by alcohol. If a chemical test shows that a driver has any amount of marijuana or illegal drugs in their system, they may face DUI charges. A person may also be charged with DUI if they use prescription drugs such as opioids that impair their driving ability, or even if they use over-the-counter drugs such as cold or cough medicines that cause drowsiness or affect their clarity of mind.

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Campbell County personal injury attorney car accident

If you were involved in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or any other type of accident while driving or riding a vehicle that caused you to become hurt, you might be waiting to hear back from an insurance company about your personal injury compensation. Or maybe you already received a compensation settlement from the insurance company, faster than originally expected. Whatever the case may be, you should still consider retaining representation from a personal injury attorney for the following reasons.

3 Ways a Lawyer Can Help You Get a Better Settlement

When the insurance company makes its decision, your options are not limited—you still can hire an attorney to help you obtain a higher settlement, among other things. Just be sure you do not agree to that original settlement. Do not sign anything if you suspect you are getting taken advantage of. In cases like that, you will want to reach out to a lawyer. Here are a few reasons why hiring an attorney after receiving a mediocre settlement offer is possible, reasonable, and greatly beneficial:

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Campbell County criminal defense attorney

Whether you are pulled over, arrested, and taken into custody for a DUI or some other crime, you will want to know about the Miranda Warning. It is a key component of a police officer’s proper custodial procedures and must be followed in the correct sequence and responded to with the appropriate measures in order to ensure your Fifth Amendment rights are not violated. In addition, if you pay close attention to the Miranda Warning for your case, you might be able to help your criminal defense lawyer build on his or her strategy in defending you. 

What Is the Miranda Warning?

The Miranda Warning is a statement that arresting officers must read to you if they take you into custody and intend on questioning you. It reads as follows:

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Campbell County personal injury attorney car accident

Whether you have been in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or any other type of accident while driving or you are simply just curious, it can be interesting to know how common traffic accidents are in Tennessee, especially over the last year relative to other years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By seeing and processing this data, you can become more aware of how serious of a problem vehicle crashes are in Tennessee and hopefully, figure out ways to avoid them in the future so you are not faced with any severe personal injuries

6 Facts About Tennessee Vehicle Accidents

  1. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there was nearly a 5 percent increase in traffic accident fatalities in 2020 relative to 2019.

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Campbell County criminal defense attorney BUI

Toward the beginning of 2020, Tennessee legislators introduced a bill that would work to align penalties between boating under the influence (BUI) and driving under the influence (DUI). It is probably good timing too because, after a sharp decline in boating-related deaths in 2019, 2020 saw the highest amount of boating-related deaths in nearly four decades for Tennessee. While it is true that some of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper safety measures being taken, many of them might have been caused by BUI. If this bill passes to align BUI penalties with DUI penalties, then both crimes would lead to equally severe punishments, making representation for a BUI arrest even more critical. Here is an update on the bill’s movement in the state legislature so you know what to expect this year.

Latest News on the New BUI Bill in Tennessee

The bill is the BUI Bill, HB0679, SB0246, and it explicitly states in its original form that it aims to mirror the penalties associated with DUI in Tennessee with those for BUI, meaning in the eyes of the law, both crimes will be considered equal in terms of the seriousness of crime and severity of punishment.

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Campbell County personal injury attorney motorcycle accident

In Tennessee, motorcycle crashes rank Campbell County close to the upper half relative to other counties in terms of high frequency. In addition, the state of Tennessee alone has seen spikes in motorcycle accidents and related personal injuries over the last few decades. Many people are aware of the risks involved with riding motorcycles, but there are some important safety laws and other tips that you might want to consider before hopping on that bike this spring.

How to Stay Safe on Your Motorcycle This Spring in Tennessee

With the pandemic figures getting better and improved weather conditions on the way, you might be tempted to ride your motorcycle more. This is a great choice, but you need to be a defensive motorcyclist and stay safe out there by doing the following things in order to avoid major accidents:

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