How to Ensure COVID-19 Closures Don’t Harm Your Criminal Case

One aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic that we did not fully anticipate is a large scale closure of criminal courts in Rutherford County, Tennessee, and the rest of the country.

As a quick refresher, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued a suspension of in court proceedings through the end of March 2021. That Order has now been scaled back to March 15, 2021, but the impact has been felt by thousands of individuals arrested in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and the rest of Tennessee.

One of the most common questions we have been asked is will the suspension negatively impact or hurt my case?

In most cases, the answer is simply no. However, there are also things you can be doing to ensure that your case will not be harmed by the closure.

In Murfreesboro criminal cases, time can be your best friend. The more time that passes in a criminal case, the more chances you have to show the District Attorney a track record of months in which you have not been charged with new offenses, can pass drug screens, donate time through community service, and satisfy conditions of a potential resolution of the case.

While the suspension of court proceedings serves an important and legitimate purpose, as Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys, we fully understand the weight that pending charges can cause to the individual, their families, and their community. While we all wait for the courts to reopen in Mid-March our team encourages you to use this time wisely and work to put yourself in the best possible position to reach a positive and efficient resolution to your case.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense in Rutherford County give our office a call at 615-890-1099. Our team of experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and community resources to help get you on through the obstacles you are facing and on to the rest of your life.

Should I Tell My Attorney the Truth Even If It Makes Me Look Bad?

Yes! Absolutely yes. As attorneys, we have two different obligations. We are obligated to fight for our clients to help achieve what is most important to them, but we are also ethically obligated to be truthful and honest to the Court.

This is a common concern that we have heard over years of being Murfreesboro attorneys. Weekly, we hear someone say something like (1) “will this make me look bad?…” (2) “I don’t want anyone to know about…” and (3) “Please don’t judge me for…”

Let’s take each of those in turn. First, if you are concerned that something will make you look bad, and even if the truth does make you look bad, you should still tell your lawyer!. A good lawyer will have resources and knowledge in Murfreesboro and throughout Middle Tennessee that can help deal with the impact of what you tell us.

Second, if you are concerned about someone finding out what you tell your lawyer, you should know that what is shared between clients and attorneys is covered by confidentiality and will not be disclosed without your consent.

Third, if you are concerned about being judged, you may need to take a deeper look at your attorney-client relationship. Finding an attorney who you are comfortable with, who you trust, and who you believe will go to bat for you is the most critical part of the hiring process. If you feel judged, it may be time to make a change.

A lawyer’s abilities, advocacy, and negotiations rely heavily on a mastery of the facts surrounding a client’s case. If we do not know everything, including the bad facts, we cannot fully do our job. This rings true in criminal, divorce, custody, or personal injury law. When in doubt, tell the truth—and the whole truth!

Can I Stop Parenting Time if My Ex is Behind on Child Support?

Short Answer: No!

Under Tennessee custody laws, the issues of parenting time and child support are completely separate. Courts do this so someone isn’t denied parenting rights simply because they have fallen upon hard times financially.

Unfortunately, this situation is often abused, as many people who can afford to pay child support simply don’t. And, while it may seem unfair to allow someone to continue to enforce a court order about parenting time but not follow a court order about child support, the courts have made it clear that you cannot stop parenting time simply because someone isn’t paying support.

That said, just because you can’t stop parenting time for non-payment doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. There are a number of things you can do when someone doesn’t pay child support, including enforcement and, most importantly, a possible modification of parenting time.

Importantly, one of the factors that courts look at when considering what is in the best interests of a child is the “ability to provide” for the child. If your ex has stopped paying support, but still demands to see the child (and, maddeningly, still buys gifts, takes trips, etc.), it is possible to ask the court to hold him accountable and also possibly find that his refusal to pay should reduce his parenting time.

And that’s the important note: reduce, not stop. You cannot simply stop parenting time over non-payment. You have to go to court to change the order!

If you or someone you know is facing a divorce or custody case in Rutherford County, or surrounding counties, give us a call. We can help.

Rutherford County’s Favorite Lawyers for Eighth Straight Year

The Law Office of W. Scott Kimberly has been voted Rutherford County’s Favorite Law Office once again, earning recognition for exceptional legal services for an impressive eighth straight year. Murfreesboro Attorney Scott Kimberly also received recognition as Rutherford County’s Favorite Lawyer.

On behalf of our entire staff, Scott and Chase want to take a moment to say thank you for your support in the 2020 Ruthies Awards. We are honored to win another two awards for distinguished lawyers in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, bringing the total to fourteen awards over the past eight years.

If you or someone you know are going through a difficult time, whether it involves divorce in Rutherford County, child custody lawyers, being arrested in Rutherford County, or all of the above, call the law office that has been recognized by its community for an unprecedented eight consecutive years.

We are here to help. When it matters most!

What Do I Do If a Police Officer Says I Am Being Detained?

In criminal cases in Rutherford County, Tennessee, our clients often find themselves face-to-face with police, at a time where police are making a decision to press charges or not. We are often asked what do I say if the officer says I am being detained or arrested?

The short answer is very simple: ask for your lawyer!

Every year, our office lectures at MTSU on police-citizen encounters and, more specifically, what to do if you are pulled over by the police. At the end of the presentation, we typically offer a simple way to end a traffic stop that we call one question, two answers.

The question is am I under arrest? No matter which way the question is answered, we advise our students to respond with only four words.

If the police say no, you are not under arrest, we advise our clients to say: I want to leave.

If the police say yes, you are under arrest, we advise our clients to say: I want my lawyer.

And that’s it!

A simple way to understand what to do if an officer says you are being detained (also called being arrested), is to respond with only four words: I want my lawyer!

Nothing else! No comments, questions, suggestions, or other information. Be respectful, ask for your lawyer, and understand that the police have an important job to do, so don’t be a jerk for no reason.

If you or a friend are arrested in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or anywhere else in Rutherford County and Middle Tennessee, give us a call and we can talk you through the next steps.