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What happens at a preliminary hearing?

If you face criminal charges in Tennessee, you likely will enter a not guilty plea at your arraignment. The next major step in your prosecution will be your preliminary hearing. As FindLaw explains, a preliminary hearing is not a trial. Instead, it is a hearing to determine if the prosecutor has sufficient evidence against you for your case to proceed to trial.

You will have no jury at your preliminary hearing. Rather, the prosecutor will present evidence to the judge about the crime you allegedly committed and the reasons why law enforcement officers believe you committed it. Generally this evidence comes through the testimony of witnesses such as police officers and other professionals, such as DNA analysts, etc., who can testify as to the results of any tests run.

There are more than 150 new laws in Tennessee

You may not realize how frequently laws change. Every year, many new laws go into effect on July 1 in Tennessee. This is when the state budget year begins. 

As of July 1, 2018, there are more than 150 new laws in the state. Here are what some of the new Tennessee laws do:

  • Restrict first-time opioid prescriptions to three-day supplies, except in cases of hospice and cancer treatment, major surgeries and sickle cell disease; this is one of the most aggressive policies regarding opioid prescriptions in the country
  • Remove a provision from a law allowing patients with epilepsy to obtain cannabidiol from other states with a prescription
  • Make impersonating a veteran or falsely representing the service of a veteran to receive benefits a Class A misdemeanor
  • Set new conditions regarding when juveniles can be tried as adults or placed in state custody
  • Allow the Tennessee Board of Education to rebuke school directors for failing to report misconduct
  • Let individuals show police officers their registration documents via electronic devices during traffic stops
  • Permit pharmacists to dispense prescription medications for as much as 20 days to patients displaced by a disaster
  • Make it mandatory for judges to issue no-contact orders alongside restraining orders in cases in which perpetrators use weapons or cause severe bodily harm to victims
  • Only allow boards to refuse occupational licenses because of certain felonies and past crimes that directly relate to the job in question
  • Require new vertical licenses for drivers under the age of 21 to assist in verifying them as underage

Can I be Arrested for Assault for Threatening Someone In Tennessee ?

Can the police arrest someone for assault merely on a verbal threat? Under Tennessee's criminal laws, someone can be charged for simple assault under three different theories. One of those theories is discussed under T.C.A. 39-13-101(a)(2). Here is the wording of the statute:

What qualifies as entrapment?

Everyone in Tennessee and elsewhere knows about undercover police officers. Whether they are posed in a high-risk area to step in at the first sign of an assault or driving in an unmarked police car to find drunk drivers, the purpose of undercover officers is to catch wrongdoing without it being obvious there is a law enforcement presence. However, as you may not be aware, there is a difference between undercover officers stepping in after a crime has been committed and actively encouraging someone to commit a crime. When the latter occurs, it may be a case of entrapment.

As the U.S. Department of Justice explains, enforcement officers may pose as ordinary civilians to catch someone in the act of wrongdoing. Officers might pretend they are underage teenagers online to find someone who is trying to harm minors. However, they may not instigate inappropriate talk or try to coerce the other person into meeting them, as this could count as entrapment; they must be neutral and let the other person drive the conversation until an incident occurs that can justify an arrest. So what exactly is entrapment, you might wonder?

Rutherford County,TN. Criminal Law Alert

Every county in Tennessee has little quirks on how they handle certain issues. While all counties in Tennessee uphold the criminal laws for the State of Tennessee, the procedures in each one may vary. Here is a case study on the judicial diversion process in the General Sessions Criminal Court for Rutherford County.

Pedestrians ,Crosswalks, and Nashville Traffic

Drive in downtown Nashville anytime of the night or day you will likely see a near miss of a pedestrian being hit by a car. One reason is that, with the exception of Lower Broad, people frequently fail to use the crosswalks. Secondly, people are using their phones when crossing the street. Pedestrians who are using their phones cross the street at a slower pace. This behavior may increase their risk of being hit by a car or maybe even a scooter. A recent study found that pedestrians using their cell phones take smaller steps and walk more erratically. According to the paper's author, Tare Sayed,"[t]he longer you are in a crosswalk, the longer you are exposed to potential conflicts and collisions."

What is voluntary manslaughter?

Whenever someone’s actions result in the death of another, you can almost be assured there will be criminal charges, if authorities determine the fatality resulted from negligence or ill intent. This may be true even if there was no intent for anyone to be harmed, but the activities involved recklessness or a lack of common sense that could have been avoided. The charges become even more serious if intentional violence was involved. You and other Tennessee residents who are facing manslaughter charges need to understand what this kind of charge entails.

According to FindLaw, a manslaughter charge can occur after a fatality that was not premeditated. It is known as voluntary manslaughter if someone was killed out of anger or the “heat of passion,” when there had been no intent to kill in the first place. To help you understand better, the following examples illustrate scenarios that could result in involuntary manslaughter charges:

  • A driver loses his temper after being cut off and runs the other driver off the road, causing a fatal accident.
  • A man walks in on his wife cheating on him, and he hits the other man over the head with a chair, killing him.
  • A drunken argument escalates between friends, resulting in a sudden, fatal stabbing.

Shootings in Nashville on the rise

The number of shootings in the city of Nashville has increased since 2016, according to statistics from the city's police department as well as media reports. However, when it comes to examining a city's crime rate, several factors come into play.

Crime statistics include overall rates of violent crime as well as breakdowns in terms of specific types of violent crime, such as shootings. In addition, the rate of shootings in Nashville is not uniform across all districts of the city. While shootings in Nashville are on the rise overall, there is at least one area of the city experiencing a decrease.

How retail theft and drug crimes go hand in hand in Tennessee

Often, those who face the criminal justice system have received charges in more than just one area of crime. Sometimes these crimes are related to each other, and other times the discovery of one crime leads to the discovery of another, non-related criminal activity.

In Tennessee, law enforcement linked two seemingly separate crimes together, a revelation that resulted in a new state law. The two crimes involve retail theft and opioid drugs.

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