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Memphis Tennessee Criminal Defense Blog

Can you support your efforts to find a job after prison?

Once you have been released from prison in Tennessee, you face the challenges of rebuilding your life and working relentlessly to put your past behind you. Despite your knowledge that you have changed and are committed to making something of your future, other people may not recognize those changes right away and it will take time for you to rebuild that trust. However, with perseverance and determination, you can make progress happen. 

An immediate need will be your ability to acquire employment that will allow you to support yourself and your needs. According to Chron, employers can legally deny you employment based off of your criminal past. As such, you may need to be extra vigilant in marketing yourself as someone who has changed and is committed to supporting the company you are applying for. You may consider seeking professional assistance in helping you prepare for employment, clean up your resume and practice job interview tactics. During your interview, you may discuss how a company's decision to hire you can provide tax benefits to them because of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. 

Detailing Tennessee's drug schedules

Many incorrect assumptions are often made about drug crimes in Memphis. Some may simply believe that if one is caught in possession of an illicit drug or controlled substance, they are automatically looking at jail. Yet given the number of drug arrests that are reported each year in the U.S. (1.63 million in 2017 alone, according to the Drug Policy Alliance), assigning a prison an extended prison sentence to everyone charged with a drug crime would result in a great many people being incarcerated. The penalty that one may face when charged with a drug crime will often depend on the circumstances of their arrest, yet even more influential is the type of substance involved. 

Title 39 of Tennessee's Criminal Code shows that the state categorizes controlled substances into five different schedules. These schedules are defined by the potential that the drugs included in them present for abuse, the likelihood that those who use them will develop a dependency on them, and whether any have any recognized medical uses. Schedules I and II contain narcotics that are opiate-based, while the lower-level schedules include more common drugs such as marijuana, steroids and common prescription medications. The lowest schedule (Schedule VII) includes only one substance (butyl nitrite, commonly known as "poppers"). 

How does alcohol get into your breath?

If you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated in Memphis based off the results of a breath test, you may be asking yourself why is it that law enforcement officers measure your breath to determine the alcohol content of your blood. Would not a blood sample be more accurate? While yes, blood samples do tend to yield more accurate blood-alcohol content measurements, such a test cannot be conducted on the side of the road. Thus, a breath test done using a handheld device is all authorities may have to rely on. Knowing the details of how alcohol gets from your blood to your breath could potentially give you cause to challenge the charges against you. 

According to the Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, once you have ingested alcohol, the water-soluble ethanol molecules that give beverages their alcohol content separate and are able to pass through the lining of the stomach and small intestine through a process known as passive diffusion. They then enter into your bloodstream and are carried in the veins throughout the rest of your body, eventually arriving at your heart. Once there, they are then routed with the rest of the deoxygenated blood to the lungs, where they come in contact with oxygen. That oxygen causes some of the ethanol molecules to vaporize into a gas, which is then exhaled as you breathe. 

When does murder classify as reckless homicide?

If you are an avid fan of Law & Order or true crime podcasts, you hear terms thrown around such as first-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. You may even know the difference between first-degree and second-degree murder charges.

However, most television shows avoid discussing reckless homicide and the implications our actions have on our future in Tennessee.

How can I straighten out my finances after my prison release?

Many inmates in Tennessee prisons spend years dreaming about the day of their release. However, upon exiting the federal prison system, you may find yourself woefully unprepared for life as a fully functioning adult in the present times.

One of the biggest problems people struggle with after being incarcerated is their finances. It is often difficult to get a good-paying job and your credit history may have suffered while you were behind bars. Here are just a few ways you may be able to remedy the situation.

Who resides inside Tennessee’s prisons?

As you watch the news or drive by one of Tennessee’s correctional facilities, you may think you could predict who you would find on the other side of the door. Perhaps you have a picture of a prisoner in your mind. Maybe you consider the offenses that landed an offender behind bars. However, the 2018 fiscal year report from the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) might be of interest, especially if you are open to exploring your possible race, gender or age bias.

Father arrested for DUI after fatal crash

A father from Knox County, Tennessee, is now mourning the loss of his 2-year-old daughter from behind bars. He was driving the vehicle at the time of the violent crash in which his daughter sustained injuries that ultimately claimed her life. The 26-year-old man now faces charges of driving on a revoked license, driving without insurance and second-offense driving under the influence in connection with the accident that occurred on Friday. Upon the father's release from the hospital on Monday, authorities took him into custody, where he remained as of Tuesday morning. 

Arrest warrants indicate that the vehicle contained three occupants: the driver, his daughter and her mother. Authorities report that both parents admitted to drinking prior to the accident. The child rode in the backseat in a child restraint, but investigation of the crash demonstrated that the fastening between the restraint and the vehicle had allegedly been improper. 

Reviewing Tennessee's "Stand Your Ground" law

It seems that the claim of self-defense is thrown out so often when people are facing murder charges that it has lost its credibility as a viable defense. Yet if and when you are placed in a position of needing to use force (even lethal force) to defend yourself and/or others, you might question what other alternatives others might say that you have. Many in Memphis have come to us here at The Law Office of Massey McClusky McClusky & Fuchs wondering if the law does indeed designate when lethal force may be justified. If your intent in using such force is facing scrutiny, then you may be happy to know that it does. 

Tennessee has followed the example of other states in enacting a statute known as the "Stand Your Ground" law. Per Section 39-11-611 of the state's Criminal Offenses Code, you are considered to be justified in using deadly force against an individual who has unlawfully entered your residence, place of business or vehicle if you believe yourself, a family member, friend or visitor is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Such force must be used, however, in response to aggression, and not simply because you believe that person is there to do harm. 

Are you eligible for expunction?

The key to successfully moving on after having been convicted of a crime in Memphis is taking full advantage of all of the opportunities that are offered to you. Unfortunately, those opportunities may be limited by the mere fact that you have a criminal conviction on your record. Thus, if it is a possibility, expunction is definitely something that you will want to explore. 

Per the state of Tennessee's website, you can seek an expungement once five years passed since the completion of your imposed sentence (if you were convicted of drug fraud, you must then wait 10 years). During that time, you cannot have been charged with any other state or federal crime, and you must have completed all of the requirements associated with your conviction, such as: 

  • Paid any and all fines
  • Served an imposed period of incarceration 
  • Met all of the conditions of your release

Is using medicine without a prescription a crime?

Prescription drugs are used for a multitude of purposes, from fighting off infections to reducing pain. While they are legal when used in the correct manner by the person with the prescription, use by unauthorized individuals for other purposes is not legal and can actually get you in trouble with the law. Very Well Mind explains the ramifications of using drugs without a prescription.

For the prescription holder, it’s crucial that medicine is kept in the correct bottle or packaging, especially when being taken outside your home. In many states, it’s actually considered illegal to carry drugs in other types of packaging that doesn’t bear the label of the original prescription bottle. This can be construed as possession with intent to distribute, which can have very stiff penalties depending on the circumstances.

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