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Chattanooga Criminal Defense and Family Law Blog

What fault grounds may be pleaded in a Tennessee divorce?

In some divorce cases, the spouses that make up a Hamilton couple may simply grow apart. They may agree that ending their marriage is the best course of action, and they may work through their divorce proceedings without much conflict. If they have no minor children, then they may pursue a no fault divorce based on their existing irreconcilable differences.

However, some divorces are predicated on the actions or behaviors of one of the parties. When certain conditions exist, divorces may be pursued based on the fault of one of the parties. This post will generally review some of those recognized fault grounds. Readers are asked to consult with their divorce attorneys for specific information as this post is not offered as legal advice.

Drugged driving arrests rise in Tennessee

After your recent DUI arrest, you may not have been surprised to learn that toxicology results indicated, in addition to alcohol, the presence of opioids in your system. Tennessee police and law enforcement agencies across the country are dealing with a staggering increase in opioid arrests, including DUIs. In fact, data analyzed from recent years shows the trend is alarming.

In the past five years, drugged driving accidents resulting in fatalities have risen 89 percent. Tennessee police have noted a 26 percent increase in driving under the influence of drugs, while strictly alcohol-related DUI incidents have decreased. Law enforcement agents say the increase is likely due to improved policing as well as higher rates of opioid addiction.

Marijuana crimes and their penalties

On January 1st of this New Year some states undertook changes to their marijuana laws. For example, California approved the legalization of limited quantities of marijuana for recreational use. Other states have already taken this step and have placed themselves in direct conflict with existing federal drug laws.

However, Tennessee has made no legislative moves to remove the criminal sanctions that may apply if a person is found to be in possession of or selling marijuana. Marijuana possession and the sale of marijuana are illegal in Tennessee. This post will discuss some of the penalties that may apply if a person is convicted of violating these prohibitions.

How does Tennessee define domestic assault?

The state's domestic assault definition contains two distinct terms: domestic and assault. The assault portion of the definition matches the general definition of the crime of assault. An assault occurs when a person intentionally or through reckless conduct injures another person or causes the other person to have a reasonable fear that they will be injured. Therefore, an assault can be physical violence, but it can also be the infliction of psychological or emotional harm.

The second part of the definition focuses on the word "domestic." Domestic generally refers to things of the home or of family concern. To this end, domestic assault is assault that occurs between individuals of a family or within a home.

Not every field sobriety test provides accurate evidence

Last week, the Law Office of Sam Byrd discussed field sobriety tests on its legal blog. Field sobriety tests are the assessments that Tennessee law enforcement officials may use to determine if their suspicions of drivers' intoxication are correct. However, just as any test may contain problems or inaccuracies, issues in the execution and assessment of field sobriety tests may result in innocent individuals facing serious drunk driving charges.

For example, a driver who is asked to perform a walk and turn test on uneven ground may be set up to fail the assessment even if there is no alcohol in their system. The challenge of walking straight and in a heel to toe manner when one cannot establish strong footing is an unfair and inaccurate means of determining if they are impaired by alcohol.

Tennessee drivers, take note of year-end DUI enforcement blitz

Once again, Tennessee motorists all across the state are in the midst of an enhanced drunk driving enforcement campaign.

If you drive, you're well aware of such initiatives, of course. They occur with regularity during summer months and surrounding key holiday periods throughout the year.

Why was I asked to perform field sobriety tests?

In order for a Tennessee law enforcement official to make a drunk driving arrest they must first have probable cause to suspect that the individual is intoxicated and operating their motor vehicle. The officer may first believe that they have observed the individual driving their automobile in a manner that suggests intoxication, but once they make a stop they may need more evidence of intoxication in order to make an arrest. Field sobriety tests can provide them with the proof they need to make a drunk driving arrest.

Field sobriety tests challenge a driver's balance, coordination and level of attention. They are usually performed in sets so that officers may have multiple pieces of evidence on which to establish probable cause and the bases of their arrests. The remainder of this post will briefly discuss some of the common tests officers use to determine intoxication in drivers, but readers are reminded that their experiences during DUI stops may be different.

Is alimony about to change in a big way?

Alimony -- sometimes called spousal support in Tennessee -- is fundamentally important in many divorce outcomes.

In fact, we duly note on a recent blog post at the established Law Office of Sam Byrd in Chattanooga that it is a "critical component" in many divorce negotiations.

The three steps that initiate the marital dissolution process

After years of dealing with irreconcilable differences with your spouse, you have finally decided to end your marriage. You breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you will soon be free to lead your own life as you see fit. However, an unsettling feeling grips your stomach suddenly, as the looming question now is where exactly to begin.

The marital dissolution process can understandably be complicated and overwhelming. However, getting the process kick-started is not complicated, involving three basic steps.

Helping grandparents seek visitation time with their grandchild

Last week this Hamilton-based legal blog discussed an important United States Supreme Court case concerning the rights of grandparents to seek visitation time with their grandchildren. In the decision the Court determined that parents have a right to decide with whom their children spend their time, but this determination did not prevent the child's grandparents from seeking reasonable visitation time with them.

One of the keys to the Supreme Court decision is the application and interpretation of the term "reasonable." Like many other matters that concern family law issues, reasonableness with regards to grandparent visitation may revolve around what serves the best interests of the child. What may be reasonable for one family may not serve any purpose for another family.

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