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Chattanooga Criminal Defense and Family Law Blog

The importance of intent in a theft charge

A theft may occur when a person takes from another individual an item of theirs and does not intend to return it to them. In Tennessee, thefts happen with some regularity, but not every charge of theft is justified as not every taking of property meets the required elements of the charge. While this post will offer readers some general information on the intent requirement of a theft charge, readers are cautioned not to use this article as legal advice.

In order for a theft to happen the alleged thief must intend, or have the requisite mindset, to know and want to deprive their alleged victim of their property. For example, if a person takes a watch from a store display, places it in their pocket, and then leaves the store with it but without paying for it, it may be said that they intended to deprive the store of the watch's value because they did not stop at the register to buy it.

Sobriety checkpoints in place through Fourth of July

When a driver is stopped at a sobriety checkpoint they should expect that they will be assessed for intoxication. Any driver who is found to have alcohol in their system in violation of the law may be charged with a drunk driving crime and arrested. Readers should be aware that through the Fourth of July holiday week, some communities throughout the state are planning to use checkpoints to stop and catch allegedly drunk drivers.

Sobriety checkpoints generally base their legality in the United States Constitution and case law. In some states law enforcement offices are allowed to use checkpoints whenever they wish. In Tennessee, however, there is a limit. Sobriety checkpoints may only be set up once or twice each month.

Outside factors can affect reliability of field sobriety tests

You certainly did not anticipate your night ending with you getting pulled over by a police officer. What might have come as even more of a shock was the officer taking you into custody for driving under the influence of alcohol. You may have felt perfectly in control of your driving, but the officer may have believed that he or she had probable cause to arrest you.

In many cases, Tennessee police officers will utilize field sobriety tests in efforts to determine whether a person is intoxicated. These tests typically involve the officer having a person stand on one leg, follow an object with just his or her eyes, and walk a straight line and turn to come back. The tests themselves are not perfect measures of impairment, and other factors may have affected the outcome of your tests as well.

When will an award of alimony end?

As readers of this Tennessee legal blog may know, different divorce cases may yield different orders and post-marital outcomes. While some divorce proceedings may end with some of the parties receiving awards of alimony, others may result with the parties going their separate ways and dependent upon their own incomes. Questions of how divorce and alimony matters may work out should be brought up with readers' own family law attorneys as this post does not offer legal advice.

When alimony is awarded it may have a built-in termination date. If the award is for rehabilitative alimony they a judge may set a date by which the recipient of the alimony should be prepared to re-enter the workforce. On that date the payer of alimony may be released from their obligation to support their ex-spouse.

The importance of breathalyzer calibration

A breathalyzer is a machine that law enforcement officials may use to assess the level of alcohol, and therefore alleged intoxication, that a person may exhibit when they are driving. It is called a breathalyzer because it measures the concentration of alcohol in a person's breath and they breathe into the device for a reading. While breathalyzers may offer evidence that a driver has consumed alcohol, if they are not properly calibrated the readings that they produce may be deficient.

Breathalyzer calibration is the process of servicing a breathalyzer machine to ensure that it produces proper readings. Breathalyzers should be regularly serviced in order to maintain the integrity of their readings. Additionally, the law enforcement officials who use breathalyzers in the assessment of drunk driving suspects should be properly trained on how to use them.

What is parenting time interference?

It can be an agonizing process for two Tennessee residents to work out the details of a child custody and visitation agreement. When they split up or divorce, parents must make decisions or have courts decide for them on matters related to where their children will live, how they will be supported, and who may make decisions about their welfare. Once their custody and visitation plans are set, the parents are bound to follow them or suffer the consequences of their actions.

Many of the issues that arise with regard to custodial authority are minor and may be settled through the reasonable discourse of the parents. However, in some situations a parent's actions or behaviors may be so egregious that the other cannot find relief from the interference of the other in their interactions with their children. When conflict arises to this level, parenting time interference may be at issue.

Domestic violence can be of different types

This post provides general information about a very serious legal topic that can have significant consequences in both the criminal and family law courts of Tennessee: domestic violence. Domestic violence refers to acts of violence committed by and against members of a household or family. Not all accusations of domestic violence claim physical abuse; some claims of domestic violence are based on allegedly abusive conduct that is emotional, psychological, and sexual.

Cases of alleged domestic violence can be hard to sort out because there are often no witnesses to the allegedly abusive events that gave rise to the claims. Therefore, a person may find themselves accused of domestic violence and have very little evidence on which to refute the claims that have been made against them. They may choose to work with an attorney to help them find support for their position and facts that demonstrate that their accuser's story may be incomplete or erroneous.

Probation violations can bring harsh penalties

If your DUI arrest ended with a conviction, you faced the potential for some serious penalties. Tennessee has some harsh consequences for drunk driving offenses, including mandatory jail time. Fortunately, after you serve the mandatory minimum, the judge may suspend the rest of your sentence. This means you will be on probation until you complete your sentence.

While you may rejoice at your release from jail, it is important that you fully understand what probation means. Living under the terms of your court order may not be easy, and you may need to reach out for legal advice if you get into trouble.

An overview of child support in Tennessee

Children need a lot from their parents in order to grow into well-adjusted, thriving adults. Tennessee kids may look to their parents for love and guidance, physical care and financial support, as well as other forms of assistance. When parents go through divorce and no longer live under the same roof, it can be hard for them to maintain their levels of involvement in their children's lives.

In Tennessee and jurisdictions throughout the nation, courts order child support. Child support covers the financial costs that parents must expend to raise their children, and when parents break up and their incomes become divided, child support ensures that both parents are contributing to the care of their kids. Child support can be used to pay for necessary expenses, extracurricular costs, medical care, school and educational needs, and others.

What is the purpose of field sobriety testing?

A traffic stop based on suspected drunk driving can be an intimidating experience for a Tennessee resident. Even if they have not had a drop of alcohol to drink they may be asked to undertake assessments that will allegedly determine their level of sobriety. Many readers are familiar with the breath, blood, and urine tests that law enforcement officials can use to test for the presence of alcohol in a person's body. When they make traffic stops based on suspected drunk driving, police officers may also administer field sobriety tests.

A field sobriety test will usually involve three separate assessments. Before law enforcement officials may use them to test drivers' sobriety, those officers must be trained on how to administer them. That is because the erroneous application of standards to individuals undergoing field sobriety tests may result in incorrect conclusions about the sobriety of drivers.

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