Category: FAQ


Can my bond be revoked if I pick up new charges?

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Yes, your bond can be revoked or modified to add conditions like GPS monitoring, random drug and alcohol testing, a curfew or an increased bond amount, if you are charged with new crimes while out on bond.  You do have the right to a hearing first.

In order to revoke your bond, the State prosecutor (also known as the D.A. or District Attorney) must file a written Motion to Alter, Amend or Revoke Bond with the court and serve you with a copy.

You must be given at least 10 days advance notice of the hearing date so that you and your attorney have time to prepare.

The State must present evidence of the new charge and you have the right to have an attorney present to defend you, challenge the State’s evidence and present evidence on your behalf.

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What is diversion and how can I get it?

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In Tennessee many first time offenders are eligible to petition the court for diversion.

Diversion is a process where after entering a guilty plea and successfully serving a term of probation without violating, the record of conviction is expunged and no longer part of the public record.  (The expunction is still part of the official court record and can be seen by any judge if the person commits a new crime.)

Many criminal convictions in Tennessee are eligible for diversion, except sex crimes, DUI related crimes, and A or B Felony convictions.

To see if you are eligible for diversion, your attorney will need to order a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) background check for you.

 

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Can I get probation for a felony or do I have to go to prison?

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Just because you are convicted of a felony in Tennessee that does not automatically mean that you will go to prison.

In Tennessee probation is generally available for any sentence of 10 years or less where the law does not mandate a minimum mandatory period of incarceration.

For sentences longer than 10 years, Community Corrections is often a possibility that will allow you to serve your prison sentence “on the streets”.  An experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney can make your case for this type of alternative sentencing.

Other prison alternatives include split confinement, where you serve a set portion of your sentence and then spend the rest of the sentence term on probation.

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Are lawyer’s fees due up front or can I make payments?

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Some attorney’s require that their fee or a retainer be paid in full before they begin working on your case.

Other attorney’s will accept a partial payment up front and allow you to make payment arrangements to quickly pay the rest of your balance in full.

Most attorneys accept credit cards and many will make payment plans for clients who have a need.

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How many times will I have to go to court?

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That depends on a number of factors.  You should be prepared to appear in court as many times as it takes to get a favorable result.

Also know that your attorney may be able to waive your appearance in court for certain types of appearances.

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Will I have to do community service?

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Often community service will be ordered for misdemeanor probation or sentencing alternatives and it is sometimes ordered for felony convictions as well.

The court will usually tell you exactly where to serve your community service.

If the sentencing court allows you to decide where to perform your community service there are resources that can assist you in locating a suitable non-profit organization in your area.

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Is a DUI arrest or conviction public record?

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Yes, both arrests and convictions for DUI are public record and can become known to the general public.

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What is the lightest penalty for a DUI in Tennessee?

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For a first time Tennessee DUI conviction the lightest sentence is 48 hours in jail with 11 months and 29 days probation, a $350.00 fine, alcohol and drug education program and victim impact panel.

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What is implied consent?

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Tennessee law (T.C.A. 55-10-406) states that if you drive a car in Tennessee it is implied (assumed) that you are consenting (agreeing) to be tested for alcohol or other intoxicating substances if the police have a good reason (probable cause) to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or other substance.  The results of the tests will be used against you.

Your consent to be tested must be knowingly, voluntarily and freely given.  If the police force, threaten or coerce you to submit to blood or breath tests those test results may be thrown out by the court.  You owe it to yourself to have your case reviewed by an experienced DUI attorney.

If you refuse to submit to such tests and depending on the circumstances the police may  ask a judge to issue a search warrant for your blood or breathe.

The police can charge you with an implied consent violation for refusing to submit to the tests.

 

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I wasn’t driving, why am I being charged with DUI?

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In Tennessee, the owner of a car can be charged for letting someone who is impaired drive.

DUI by consent is a serious charge.  You can be punished with up to a year in jail or on probation.  If you are charged with DUI by consent, yes, you need a lawyer.

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