If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s very likely you’ve been told you have to be at court on a certain date and time, and not much else. You may have been charged with a felony, a misdemeanor, or some combination of the two. In either scenario, your case will begin in ‘criminal sessions court.’ The first thing that will happen is your arraignment – a hearing where you are formally presented with the charges that have been brought against you. After arraignment, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled, where the state of Tennessee must prove that probable cause exists to believe you have committed the crime you have been charged with. If the state succeeds, your case will be ‘bound over’ to a different court – the criminal circuit court. In circuit court, criminal law takes a form likely more familiar to you from media: jurors are empaneled to judge guilt or innocence, and the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
A criminal defendant’s most fundamental constitutional liberty is in jeopardy: their freedom. It’s obvious that anyone facing criminal charges in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, including DUI or Orders of Protection, needs the best criminal defense attorney. I have experience in all of these areas, and will fight to defend you.
In Tennessee, driving under the influence is a crime broader than just ‘drinking and driving’. While that’s the most typical set of facts in a DUI case, it isn’t actually necessary to have done either of those things to be charged with a DUI. It is the prosecution’s burden to demonstrate, first at a preliminary hearing, and ultimately at trial, that you were under the influence of some intoxicating substance and in the physical control of a motor vehicle, in order to convict you of a DUI. Traffic stops that involve the suspicion of a DUI generally involve an investigation by an officer, a field sobriety test, and potentially a blood or breathalyzer test. It is your DUI defense attorney’s job to challenge each step of this process, to ensure that the arresting officer has appropriately conducted an investigation within the bounds of the constitution and the procedures associated with the administration of any tests.
An order of protection is a quasi-criminal action, which is to say, it is initiated by a private citizen, and can ultimately result in the incarceration of the party subject to the order. I have prosecuted and defended order of protection cases throughout the courts of east Tennessee. Orders of protection are particularly emotionally charged, as they require a domestic relationship of some sort to exist between parties, with the sole exception to that rule being protective orders sought based upon allegations of stalking. The legislature of the state of Tennessee has clearly indicated that members of the public – particularly victims of domestic violence – should have ready access to the courts so that they make seek protection from threats of violence. This is obviously a good thing. However, this easy access to the courts oftentimes has undesirable results: either individuals in need of orders of protection are surprised to learn that they are expected to prosecute their own case without the assistance of an attorney if they arrive at their hearing date without having hired counsel, or, people are served with orders of protection as a result of strained domestic circumstances which may not warrant the relief being sought. In either case, it is absolutely critical that you are represented by an attorney to give you the best chance of success. Schedule a consultation with me today to discuss filing or defending against an order of protection.
It is exceedingly commonplace for persons today to be very vocal about their rights, and their desire for those rights to not be violated. Surprisingly, however, it is equally common for criminal defendants to waive one of the most important rights afforded to them by the United States Constitution: the fifth amendment right against self incrimination. That is to say, not freely offering evidence against yourself – or, more bluntly, shutting up – is generally a good idea when interacting with law enforcement. You may be reading this now thinking you should have done that in the past. While the past can’t be changed, it’s never too late to start. Help your criminal defense attorney help you, by knowing – and not waiving – your fifth amendment right.