Case Dismissed

We'd like to use this blog to provide periodic updates to the types of cases handled by John as well as share case results, so look for occasional posts with case updates and results. 

Today John represented a client in general sessions court in Rutherford County (Murfreesboro, TN). The client was charged with simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia; each carry a potential sentence of up to 11 months, 29 days. The result? Both charges were dismissed on the first court appearance. 

Facing a similar situation? Contact our office and we are glad to provide a free consultation. Call us at 615.933.5230, email us at john@midtndefenseattorney.com, or submit an online inquiry on our site. 

JUST SAYING “NO” TO A FIELD SOBRIETY TEST

We have all seen the Youtube videos of police officers giving clearly intoxicated drivers field sobriety tests. Whether they are trying to break dance for the cop or can barely walk the line, these dash cam gems provide endless hours of entertainment. Have you ever stopped and thought about what you would do if faced with the same situation? In Tennessee, knowing your rights could help you avoid severe legal issues.

Imagine yourself in a similar situation

Maybe it was a birthday party, a wedding or a special date night, whatever the case you enjoyed some drinks to commemorate the occasion. After the festivities and food, it was time to go home and getting behind the wheel was no problem, you felt entirely in control. Then out of the corner of your eye, you see the flashing lights and realize you are getting pulled over. What do you do?

The right to refuse

Tennessee law states that it is not required to submit to a field sobriety test, or FST. Understanding the law becomes crucial at this point because what the officer is not required to tell you is that you have the right to refuse their request to take a field sobriety test. However, your license could possibly be suspended if you have refused a FST in the past and if an accident resulted due to impaired driving. 

Often field sobriety tests are used to prove that a driver is too impaired to operate a vehicle and drive it safely. Should you decide to go through with the FST, even if you pass, in The Volunteer State you can still be charged with a DUI.

SOMEONE ATTACKED ME—AM I ALLOWED TO FIGHT BACK?

Let’s say that you and your friends are at a bar, hanging out and having a few drinks. Everyone else in the bar has had a few drinks, too, and the atmosphere is getting tense. Another patron starts to argue with you and your friends, and he becomes increasingly belligerent. Without warning, he takes a swing at you. Should you fight back?

Assault and battery are serious charges in Tennessee—the court does not look kindly on bar fights. But if the other person was attacking you and you hit him back, can you still be prosecuted?

Fortunately, the state does have laws that allow the use of force for self defense. If your life is under imminent threat, it is legal to defend yourself through physical violence. Actions that would be considered criminal under regular circumstances may be allowed in these rare instances. Sometimes it’s not even necessary to be hit first: If you have reason to believe that someone is about to attack you, it is generally acceptable to defend yourself.

There are some caveats to self defense, though.

  • If someone has physically attacked you but he indicates that he is not going to attack you again, you typically may not continue to use force against him.
  • You cannot use violence against someone because he physically attacked you in the past.
  • The actions that you use to defend yourself must be proportionate to the actions used against you. For example, you generally may not claim self defense if someone punches you and you shoot him in return.
  • It is not always acceptable to use deadly force— force that takes someone’s life—in self defense. The state generally only permits the use of deadly force if you were afraid for your own life.

Unfortunately, the bar fight scenario that we discussed earlier is all too real for many Tennesseans. Even if you were forced to use self defense to protect yourself, you may still face a sticky legal situation. A criminal defense lawyer can stand up for you in court and help demonstrate that you were acting in self defense.