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Campbell County criminal defense attorney DUI

The legal drinking age across the country is 21 years old. Anyone younger than that who drives while impaired by alcohol will face serious consequences. Minors who drive drunk risk losing their driving privileges if caught, but they also put those around them at risk of serious injury or death. Tennessee takes underage drinking and driving seriously, and because of the potential risks, a child who drinks may not be the only one facing criminal punishment. Whoever provided the minor with alcohol or drugs may also face misdemeanor or even felony charges.

Consequences of Driving Drunk as a Minor

Tennessee has three main laws that attempt to control the number of minors who drink illegally. In instances when a minor is caught drinking or attempting to purchase alcohol, he or she can still be charged under these laws, even if he or she is not driving. Tennessee’s Driving While Impaired law applies to minors aged 16-20 who have not yet hit the age of legal alcohol consumption. If caught driving drunk, a minor will have his or her license revoked and pay a fine of up to $250. The court may also require the minor to complete community service hours.

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Campbell County traffic violations defense attorney

According to a recent survey done by TicketSchool.com, more than 50 percent of the driving community admits to not using a turn signal when changing lanes or making turns. Some of the reasons motorists gave for this were because they did not think they had enough time or simply because they did not want to use their signals. This is dangerous driving behavior, which can lead to collisions that result in serious injuries or even wrongful death. Drivers can also be pulled over and issued a traffic citation if a police officer sees the motorist failing to signal. The act can also be considered reckless driving -- which is a Class B misdemeanor in Tennessee -- because not signaling in which direction you are driving puts other motorists on the road in danger.

Why Is it Important to Use a Turn Signal?

Drivers cannot read each other’s minds on the road, and therefore, no one knows when someone is planning to change lanes or make a turn. That is why it is required by Tennessee law to use a signal before making a turn or decreasing speed suddenly. Not only is this a requirement under the traffic laws, but it is a common courtesy on the road. Using a turn signal can prevent:

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Campbell County first-time DUI defense attorney

Many people who drink do not realize how much alcohol can impair a person's motor skills, including the ability to drive a car. Therefore, they do not understand that drunk driving -- or even just “buzzed” driving -- is dangerous not only to themselves but to people around them. The state of Tennessee does not take a DUI charge lightly, regardless if it is a first offense or a fourth. Of course, punishments become more severe the more DUI convictions a driver has. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, a driver can face other consequences if he or she causes injury or wrongful death to any victims.

What to Expect After a First DUI Conviction

It is important to know that a DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor violation that remains on a driving record for the remainder of a motorist’s life. A DUI conviction does not become a felony in Tennessee until the fourth and subsequent offenses.

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Campbell County car accident attorney permit driver

The state of Tennessee requires all teenage drivers-to-be to go through a process before earning their Class D driver’s license. This is known as the Graduated Driver License program, and its purpose is to make sure young drivers understand the importance of safe driving. Car accidents involving a GDL driver who has not yet earned a driver’s license can lead to the driver being unable to earn a full license for a longer period of time. The young driver can also be held liable for damages done to another vehicle and/or injuries sustained during the accident.

The Graduated Driver License Program by Steps

There are four levels of the Tennessee GDL program:

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Campbell County motorcycle accident injury attorney

After receiving complaints from motorcyclists regarding wait times at stoplights, Tennessee joined 11 other states in legalizing safe crossing through red lights under certain circumstances. In 2003, Tennessee passed its law, which states that motorcyclists can pass through intersections with red lights after coming to a complete stop first. Of course, the law has limits to keep drivers safe from injuries as a result of collisions. Motorcyclists can only pass through red lights that are controlled by sensors, which in some cases can identify cars, but not motorcycles. Cyclists must proceed with caution to avoid causing a crash or being hit by another driver.

Understanding Tennessee Traffic Control Laws

Sensors that control traffic signals detect metal, and as motorcycles have evolved, more and more of these vehicles are manufactured using materials such as aluminum and fiberglass. As a result, sensors sometimes cannot detect when a motorcycle is waiting for the light to turn green. Therefore, motorcyclists have complained that the wait time at certain intersections was too long. Tennessee’s laws allow motorcycle drivers to cross through red lights only if:

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Campbell County pedestrian accident injury attorney

In 2018, 137 pedestrians were killed in Tennessee as a result of traffic accidents. This is a number that has been rising since 2014. Most pedestrian injuries are a result of negligence by a motorist; however, pedestrians also have rules that should be followed in order to protect themselves. The state of Tennessee aims to keep pedestrians as safe as possible with the installation of traffic signals, pedestrian crossing signs/signals, and crosswalks. Unfortunately, injuries and even wrongful death can occur when everyone does not follow the rules of the road.

What Are the Rules for Pedestrians When Crossing the Street?

Tennessee law states that all pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the road at an intersection marked with a crosswalk. In more busy intersections, a crossing signal will be utilized to let pedestrians know when it is their turn to cross. If there is not a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to vehicular traffic. They must look both ways and only cross when cars are not present. 

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Campbell County drugged driving defense attorney

The state of Tennessee enacted 18 new laws starting the first of the new year, one of which looks to decrease or put an end to the number of drugged drivers who hit the road while under the influence. Tennessee’s new opioid law that took effect on January 1, 2020, is meant to keep hard drugs out of the hands of people who should not be taking them. It will require that all opioid prescriptions be sent directly to pharmacies via an electronic note from a doctor. Opioid prescriptions will no longer be filled with a written prescription. The hope is that the drugs will stay with the patients who need them for medical purposes, lessening the likelihood that people will drive while under the influence of drugs.

Penalties for DUI Drugged Driving

Tennessee is giving pharmacies the entire year of 2020 to update their equipment in order to receive electronic opioid prescriptions. That means at the start of 2021, written prescriptions will no longer be available.

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Campbell County auto accident injury attorney

During the winter months when the sun sets sooner and rises later, it is important for people to drive with their vehicles' headlights illuminated. Headlights are the most important equipment while driving in low-light conditions or darkness, because they allow the driver to see the roadway ahead. If a driver cannot see, he or she will be unprepared for obstacles in the road, in addition to other vehicles or pedestrians who are crossing the road. Not using headlights can lead to motor vehicle collisions and injuries that can range from minor to serious.

Tennessee’s Requirements for Using Headlights

According to Tennessee law, drivers must use their headlights starting a half-hour after sunset until a half-hour before sunrise. Lights must be visible from at least 200 feet away so that drivers have plenty of time to see each other on the road before getting too close.

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Campbell County pedestrian accident attorney

Traffic laws require drivers to stop at intersections when a traffic light is red. Failure to do so can lead to collisions with other cars or injuries to pedestrians who are crossing the road legally. In 2017, Tennessee had 13 pedestrian deaths due to drivers running red lights. This number decreased from the previous year (19), but it contributes to a grand total of 125 pedestrian deaths since 2008. According to a report from AAA Newsroom, there were 939 total fatalities in 2017 that occurred because drivers ran red lights; victims included pedestrians, cyclists, and passengers riding in cars with at-fault drivers. The most common reasons for drivers' failure to obey traffic lights were distracted driving, drunk driving, and reckless driving (running a red light).

Punishments for Running a Red Light in Tennessee

Tennessee law states that every motor vehicle must stop before entering an intersection in which a traffic light is red. This is for the safety of motorists traveling in a different direction, as well as pedestrians who are walking in a crosswalk.

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Campbell County construction zone worker injury attorney

The state of Tennessee was ranked as having the sixth-highest death rate of construction workers in the years of 2003-2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tennessee had 70 deaths within that time, contributing to a grand total of 1,844 nationwide. Studies show that speeding is the number-one cause of car accident injuries or fatalities in construction zones. In these work areas, the speed limits are decreased in accordance with Tennessee law. Those drivers who do not decrease their speed run the risk of hitting a worker on duty. This can result in at least a misdemeanor charge with a $250 fine or at most a charge of vehicular homicide, which comes with more serious punishments. By obeying the laws and safe driving practices, drivers can help reduce the likelihood of a construction zone accident. 

Tennessee Construction Zone Rules

Drivers in Tennessee are required to slow down when they pass through construction sites; however, it is up to the workers to make sure the proper warning is given so cars can reduce their speed. Signs should be placed along the road to give drivers an ample amount of time to slow down. These signals will usually appear as large orange signs, but they can also include:

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Campbell County driver's license reinstatement attorney

There are many violations in Tennessee that can result in the suspension of a driver’s license, including driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol (DUI), inability to provide proof of insurance, and excessive accumulation of negative points on a driver's record. In regard to DUI suspensions, it can be a long and costly process in order to reinstate a license before a driver can legally get back on the road. Since most people drive every day, it is important to learn the proper procedures for license reinstatement if you are a Tennessee motorist. 

Penalties that Come with DUI License Suspension

Punishments for driving under the influence can be given out to adults over the age of 21 and minors who are under the legal drinking age. Minors will have their license revoked for one year if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.02 percent, and the court system can order extra punishments as it sees fit. An offender could also pay a fine of $250 and/or be required to complete a certain number of community service hours.

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Campbell County DUI defense attorney

Driving under the influence does not limit the “influence” to alcoholic beverages. In the state of Tennessee, a driver can be convicted of DUI if he or she has taken any type of intoxicating substance -- including marijuana -- prior to getting behind the wheel. Even those who take drugs legally for medical purposes can be charged with DUI if they cause a car accident with prescription medication in their systems. Furthermore, anyone who chooses to drive while under the influence of drugs must submit to a chemical and/or field sobriety test if pulled over. A driver is allowed to refuse these roadside tests, although this may result in being arrested on suspicion of DUI. Following an arrest, a driver will usually be asked to take a chemical blood alcohol test at the police station or through blood being drawn at a hospital, and refusal of these tests will result in a driver’s license revocation for at least one year.

Tennessee Law Against Drugged Driving

The more times a driver is convicted of a drug-related DUI, the more severe the penalties. If a driver is convicted more than three times, the subsequent offenses are charged as felonies that are punishable with fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. Sentences for a conviction include:

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Campbell County bicycle accident lawyer

There are many paths for bicyclists to explore without venturing on to public roadways. However, cyclists are not forbidden from traveling on public streets in Tennessee. If a bicyclist chooses to ride on the road, their bike is considered a vehicle, the same as a car. Therefore, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities to follow traffic laws, and if they are involved in a collision that was the fault of another driver, they can take steps to pursue compensation for their personal injuries.

Bicycle Safety

Tennessee law states that whoever is at fault for causing a collision on the road is responsible for paying compensation to the other party or parties. In many cases, a driver who strikes a bicyclist is at fault, either because they did not respect a bicyclist's right to share the road or because they acted negligently.

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Campbell County car accident injury attorney

Every state has laws and rules to keep their roadways as safe as possible, but nowadays not everyone obeys the rules. Certain actions that drivers take on the road may be considered reckless driving that unfortunately can result in car accidents and serious injuries to other drivers or innocent bystanders. The state of Tennessee defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle -- car, motorcycle, or truck -- with wanton disregard for the safety of others on the road.

Examples of Reckless Driving

Since reckless driving is any action that puts others in danger, the violation can be a simple as speeding to as serious as not yielding to school buses. Other examples of reckless driving include:

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Campbell County hit-and-run car accident lawyer

Being involved in a car accident can be a scary ordeal, both for the person responsible for causing the collision and the occupants who may be injured. In some cases, a negligent motorist may think that leaving the crash site is the best way to stay out of trouble, but in fact, fleeing from the scene of a motor vehicle crash is against Tennessee law. If an at-fault driver does attempt to leave, the victim may wonder how to receive compensation for injuries and any damages done to their vehicle. That is why it is imperative to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. 

What to Do After a Car Crash

No matter what the circumstances of a collision are, both parties involved must stop immediately in order to assess damages and call the police. Both drivers should pull their cars to the side of the road and do the following:

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Campbell County multiple DUI criminal defense attorney

Most of the time, first-time offenders charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol are not given as serious charges as those who are accused of subsequent offenses. A first-time DUI may result in fines, a minimum of 48 hours in jail, and the requirement to go through a treatment program. Serious cases involving injuries or death are given stiffer penalties. However, for the most part, the state of Tennessee tries to make sure that first offenders will not be convicted of another DUI offense. The more convictions on a person’s record, the harsher the punishments will be.

What Happens if a Driver Reaches Four DUI Offenses?

With each DUI conviction, a driver sees his or her license revoked for a certain amount of time: one year for first offenses, two years for second offenses, and six years for third offenses. Drivers are able to apply for a restricted license during the period of revocation.

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Campbell County automobile accident lawyer

The seasons are changing, and that means there will be more rainy days to come before winter sets in. Driving habits should change while on the road, or else serious car accidents and injuries can occur because of road conditions. Hydroplaning is the most common cause of car accidents in rainy weather. This occurs when a car is moving so fast that the moisture on the road causes the vehicle to lose traction. As a result, the car slides across the pavement, giving the driver little to no control. This can lead to cars veering off into other lanes of traffic, resulting in collisions with other vehicles and severe or fatal injuries.

Tips for Road Safety in Wet Conditions

According to a study by AAA, wet pavement leads to over one million car accidents annually nationwide. Although it is an instinct to want to drive quickly to make it to one's destination in a shorter amount of time, drivers should adhere to the following safe driving practices when traveling in the rain:

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Campbell County motorcycle accident injury attorney

In order to avoid injuries to passengers on a motorcycle, both the driver and the passenger must know the safety measures that should be taken. It is safest for passengers to ride in a sidecar next to a motorcycle, but for those who do not have a sidecar attached to their vehicle, passengers will need to ride directly behind the driver. A passenger means the motorcycle will have to carry extra weight, which will cause the vehicle to maneuver differently. It will take longer to accelerate, and both the driver and the passenger will need to lean into every turn to make sure the motorcycle can complete it properly. In Tennessee, passengers on a motorcycle -- and all operators -- must ride the bike with one leg on each side and feet in the footpegs, and they must always remain seated on the permanent seat attached to the bike. Tennessee law also states that child passengers whose feet do not reach the footpegs are prohibited from riding on the motorcycle. If this law is violated, the driver will face a Class C misdemeanor penalty.

What to Do to Avoid Injuries

Before beginning any ride, the driver of the motorcycle should check their tire pressure and suspension to be sure the cycle is in proper working order. They should also be sure their passenger is well-equipped with protective clothing (i.e. long pants, long-sleeved coat, sturdy shoes, helmet) and that their feet can reach the footpegs.

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Campbell County criminal defense attorney

Parents who drink and drive can expect more severe punishments if they drive with their child in the car. Tennessee’s child endangerment law covers DUI offenses with a child in the car, because the child is put in danger when he or she is in a car with an impaired driver. The broad definition of child endangerment is any act -- or neglect of an act -- that causes a child to suffer physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reported that in 2017, DUI-related accidents were the cause of 220 child fatalities (of 1,147) nationally, and 118 of these were children inside the vehicles of drunk drivers.

Tennessee Drunk Driving Punishments

Adults who are charged with a DUI without a child present can expect jail time and fines, depending on how many previous charges they have received. The following are the penalties a Tennessee motorist can face with a DUI charge:

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Campbell County personal injury compensation lawyer

Tennessee law requires drivers and passengers of moving vehicles to wear safety restraints (seat belts) at all times while the car is in motion. Not only do restraint systems keep the occupants from moving around inside the car, but they also can help prevent an injury that can result from a car accident. While some restraints have been shown to cause injuries such as whiplash or broken ribs, seat belts protect against worse bodily damage and even can prevent death due to a collision. Whether or not an accident happens, a person can be ticketed for not using a seat belt while operating a motor vehicle. It is important to understand what the law says about seat belt use and how it relates to receiving compensation in a vehicle crash.

What Does Tennessee Law Say?

According to the law, drivers and passengers over the age of four years old are required to wear a seat belt if they are in a moving vehicle. The only exception to this law is for vehicles that are used as public transportation or livery vehicles such as limousines, which do not have seat belts available to passengers.

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