If I Am Arrested, Should I Talk to Police?

The short answer to this question is NO.

If you are arrested in Tennessee, you have a number of constitutional rights, including (and most importantly) the right to remain silent and to not incriminate yourself, given to you by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

That’s not to say that it is always best to remain silent. There are times when speaking with the police may help everyone better understand what happened and also help your potential criminal prosecution, but this can be done with your lawyer present.

That’s why our short answer is NO. If your lawyer is not present, the answer is always NO. If your lawyer is present, you should communicate with law enforcement only through your lawyer.

By the way, this isn’t just the recommendation of some criminal defense attorneys in Murfreesboro. We have had several private conversations with prosecutors, deputies, detectives, and others in the criminal justice system. Without fail, every person confirms that if a friend or loved one were arrested, their advice would be to get a lawyer before speaking to the police.

If the police, prosecutors, and court staff won’t even speak to law enforcement without a lawyer present, why would you?

If you or a friend or loved one are arrested in Rutherford County or in Middle Tennessee and need help, feel free to contact our office. Our team of Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help—when it matters most.

The Most Important Factors in a DUI Case

We are often asked: what are the most important factors that impact a DUI Case in Rutherford County, Tennessee?

For DUI cases in Tennessee, there are two critical factors that play into any agreement that can be achieved with the District Attorney: (1) the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC); and (2) any prior convictions for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Let’s take a look at each of these factors in Rutherford County DUI cases.

How BAC Affects Your Case

Under Tennessee Law, it is unlawful for any person to either drive or be in the possession of any automobile (or other motor vehicle) while either: (1) under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, narcotic drug, or drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system; or (2) having a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

When you are arrested on suspicion of a DUI, the State will take a blood sample for testing with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations to determine the BAC. If the sample returns a positive BAC of 0.08%, or higher, the State will prosecute you as a DUI offender. If the sample returns under a BAC of 0.08%, the State will send the blood for further testing to determine whether any drugs were in your system.

The results of what is in your blood are eventually sent to the District Attorney, who will use the results to make an offer to settle your case. But the bloodwork isn’t the only thing that factors into a DUI case. The District Attorney will also consider any prior convictions that you may have.

How Prior Convictions Affect Your Case

As mentioned above, the State will make their initial offer once they receive the results of your blood testing. If the State pursues DUI prosecution against you, the offer you receive will depend upon your prior alcohol-related offenses, if any.

If you are charged with a DUI First Offense, the most common charge in Rutherford County that we see, the minimum penalties include:

  • Forty-Eight (48) Hours in Jail
  • $350.00 Fine
  • Eleven (11) Months and Twenty-Nine (29) Days Probation
  • Twelve (12) Hour Alcohol Safety School
  • DUI Victim Impact Panel
  • One (1) Year License Loss
  • Court Costs

If you are charged with a DUI Second Offense or higher, the minimum penalties increase for each additional offense on your record within the past ten years. For a summary of the minimum penalties for multiple DUI offenses, Click Here.

If you or a friend or loved one have been charged with a DUI Offense, you can call our experienced Murfreesboro DUI Attorneys for a free consultation. We are here to help. When it matters most.

Arrested for DUI. Is My Life Over?

If you are arrested and charged with DUI, is your life over? No. There are many things that you can do that will get you through this process, even if you end up with a conviction on your record, without any significant scars. However, you should expect to work to make this happen.

In Tennessee, a DUI Conviction carries a minimum forty-eight hours in jail, attendance for at least two different education classes, a one year license loss, court fines and costs, and one year of probation.

While that sounds bad, for DUI cases here in Rutherford County, there are opportunities to attend rehabilitative centers, which can count for time served in jail and which offer courses that will satisfy certain requirements under state law. There are also local businesses who will install an ignition interlock device and local agents who can offer SR-22 coverage, which will allow a restricted license even if you are convicted of DUI.

Note: Proof of both SR-22 Insurance and the installation of the Interlock Device are required to obtain a restricted license in Tennessee, which allows drivers to continue driving under certain circumstances even after a DUI Conviction.

All of the things listed above can be done before your court date, which will show everyone involved that you are taking this seriously and significantly increase your chances to get through this process without further damage to your life. Further, there are many successful people who have lived past a mistake in their life. You can persevere through this as well.

With mindful preparation and dedication to doing the work beforehand, you can get through this process without significant scars on your future. So no, your life is far from over.

If you have any questions or would like to set up a consultation to discuss any charges with our office, please reach out at 615-890-1099 to set up a time to come in and meet with Scott and Chase.

How Does Tennessee Handle Music Festival Drug Offenses?

We are often asked “how does Tennessee handle music festival drug offenses?” This is an important question here in Middle Tennessee, which hosts several high profile music events, including the Bonnaroo, the CMA Festival, and the Pilgrimage Festival.

The festival that seems to draw the most festival drug offense charges is Bonnaroo; however, it is important to know the potential charges and possible outcomes for any drug charge in Middle Tennessee.

What are potential criminal charges from music festivals?
At our office, we have represented individuals charged with a wide range of criminal charges from music festivals, ranging from low-level misdemeanors like public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia all the way up to felony offenses and offenses that may create a lifetime of complications like DUI and manufacture or sale of illegal narcotics.

If you are attending a music festival in Middle Tennessee, you may be placed in a situation to be charged with any of those criminal offenses. It’s important to know your rights and know what to do if you are found in violation of the law!

What do I do if I am arrested or cited for crimes at a music festival?
The most important thing you can do if you are questioned, cited, or arrested for crimes at a music festival is to keep quiet a hire a lawyer! The more you talk after being confronted and charged with a crime, the higher your chances of getting convicted. The police officers know this– that’s why they ask so many questions!

If you or someone you know faces a criminal charge at CMA Fest, Bonnaroo, the Pilgrimage Fest, or anywhere in between, call an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of W. Scott Kimberly. We are here to help.

Can I Get a Criminal Charge Off My Record?

We are often asked “can I get a criminal conviction off my record?” This question comes from a wide range of people, from people who are merely charged with a crime to people who have an old conviction from several years ago.

There are multiple ways to work towards getting a criminal conviction or criminal charge off your record. I will cover the three most common ways.

Dismissal / Order of Retirement
After being charged with a crime, the State may agree to either dismiss or retire your criminal charge. If the State offers such an agreement, then the matter will be dismissed, either immediately (if a dismissal) or after a passage of time (if a retirement). For a thorough discussion of the difference between these two, give this post a read.

Judicial Diversion
Another agreement that the State may propose is for you to plead guilty to a criminal charge under judicial diversion. Every adult is eligible to use judicial diversion one time in their adult life. Under judicial diversion, you plead guilty and enter a probation period, but, if you successfully complete your probation period, you may pay a fee and have the charge erased from your record once your probation period is over.

Tennessee Expungement Law
The last way that criminal charges or criminal convictions are often removed from records is through the Tennessee Expungement Law, T.C.A. § 40-32-101(g). Under the Tennessee Expungement Law, certain eligible offenses may be erased from your criminal record, subject to strict conditions. The conviction to be removed must be an eligible conviction and it must be the only conviction (or multiple convictions, if entered at the same time) on your record.

If you have criminal charges and are interested in having them removed from your record, schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney so that your future is best protected.