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Chattanooga Criminal Defense Law Firm Blog

Is your alleged drug violation a state or federal crime?

When a Tennessee resident faces drug charges, the court proceedings will usually happen in Tennessee state court -- if the alleged crime happened within state lines. However, certain cases may fall outside the jurisdiction of Tennessee law and they must be litigated in federal court.

The federal law that governs drug charges is the federal Controlled Substances Act. This law has been in effect since the 1970s and it's the reason why we have "drug classifications" that rank drugs according to how "serious" and "dangerous" they are.

DUI manslaughter: Things you need to know

Driving after consuming alcohol may sound like no big deal, but it's important to understand the risk you're taking. As a result of impaired judgment, you're likely to find it more difficult to control your vehicle and make sound decisions.

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol is a big deal, as it can lead to a fine, license suspension and even time in jail. It's also possible your DUI could be attached to more serious charges, such as if you caused an accident that resulted in another person's death.

Involuntary manslaughter has harsh penalties for offenders

There are many instances where people get hurt not as a result of intentional misconduct but because of an accident. When an accident occurs because of reckless conduct, it may be known as a reckless homicide. It may also be called involuntary manslaughter.

Involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide are common charges after DUI-related crashes that lead to deaths. Reckless homicide charges may be placed against anyone who kills another person as a result of their own reckless behaviors.

Prescription pain medication is Schedule II and illegal to sell

People end up with prescriptions for strong narcotic painkillers for a number of reasons. Maybe you had to have a surgery because of an ongoing medical issue. Perhaps you were sick with a condition that caused extreme pain. It's also possible that you broke a bone or suffered some other traumatic injury.

Regardless of why you have the medication, it is important to understand that while you do own it, you do not have the right to sell it or give it away to anyone else. If you no longer need your medication, you should take advantage of programs to safely dispose of them. Giving them or selling them to someone else is a violation of the law that could end up causing major issues.

Federal criminal cases require a lot of work for defendants

People with criminal charges in this country have to think about what court they are facing when deciding how to handle their defense strategy. Each court has the same purpose and many of the same procedures, but there are small differences that can impact cases before the judge.

The federal criminal justice system is mystifying to some people. However, many of the same procedures apply to all courts. Here are some important points to remember if you are facing federal charges:

Accused of vehicular homicide: What to do next

You were traveling on the highway when it happened. You looked down to take a bite of your burger, and the next thing you knew, you were struggling to get out of your wrecked vehicle. Another vehicle was in the lane next to you, and you struck it when you got distracted.

You didn't intend for anyone to get hurt, but sadly, the victim in the other vehicle did not survive the trip to the hospital. It was an accident, but that doesn't mean that the police and family of the victim won't try to hold you accountable. You're charged with vehicular homicide, which alleges criminally negligent or reckless behavior.

Understand the federal criminal justice process

The federal criminal justice system is a mystery to many people who are facing charges. This can make it difficult to determine what they need to do. It is imperative for you to have an idea of the process so that you are armed to aim for the best result in your case.

One thing that you can't do is rely on what you've seen on television or in the movies as your source of information. Instead, learn the facts.

Importing marijuana oil for medical use in TN breaks federal law

People with a host of terminal, intractable or untreatable conditions often turn to marijuana for help. Extracts and concentrates often suppress symptoms or even reverse them in some cases. Some research has shown that highly concentrated marijuana oil can kill cancer cells, while anecdotal evidence shows that similar products can suppress seizures and tremors in those not helped by traditional pharmaceutical options.

In order to allow some people with severe conditions the chance to treat themselves, Tennessee lawmakers created and passed SB 280 in 2015. This bill creates an exemption to state criminal law for drugs for people who meet certain requirements. Unfortunately, this bill neither created a medical marijuana system for the state or a legal means of obtaining marijuana extracts. That leaves many people with medical conditions or sick family members in a legally precarious position.

Vehicular homicide: Proving you weren't reckless helps your case

Involuntary manslaughter charges are hard to bear, because not only did you not intend to harm someone, but you're also facing penalties for doing so. You live with the guilt of your actions already, but the courts want to see you pay with your freedoms.

If you're accused of involuntary manslaughter after being involved in a drunk driving crash or other situation, it's important to defend yourself. Your attorney can help you reduce the charges or reduce the penalties you face.

Violating your probation, even on accident, can result in jail

You were charged with a serious crime. After you entered a guilty plea or got convicted, you were fortunate enough to receive probation in lieu of prison time. While knowing you have a criminal record can be sobering and humbling, you likely feel fortunate that you've received a second chance. You want to follow the terms of your probation and move on with your life. Unfortunately, something goes awry.

Probation violations can vary. Perhaps you tried to break up a fight in your neighborhood or on your way home from work. You were being a good neighbor, but you still ended up in trouble when police came. Maybe you had no idea that your roommate was doing drugs until he got arrested, and you ended up getting accused of violating your probation by living with him. It's possible you just bumped into an old friend, who has a felony record. Whatever happened, you need to be proactive in your approach or a simple misunderstanding could cost you your freedom.

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