Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Domestic Assault, includes people you would never imagine

It is not uncommon for client to contact our office in regards to being charged with a domestic assault.  In many instances the people are shocked by the fact they were charged with the crime of domestic assault and also shocked with some of the punishments for domestic assault.  Among other things, if you are convicted of Domestic Assault, it is very likely that you will be required to terminate your possession of firearms, as well as you could be sentenced to serve 11 months 29 days in jail. 

This is especially troublesome for the client when they enjoy the sport of hunting.  A Domestic Assault charge most of the time comes about when two people get in a scuffle where no one is seriously injured and a lot of times it is caused and initiated equally by both participants. 

The surprise of Domestic Assault charge, instead of a regular assault charge, comes about depending on who it involves.  Tennessee statutory law makes an assault between two individuals a Domestic assault when it involves: individuals who are current or former spouses (no surprise!); however, it also includes:  adults or minors who live together or who have lived together; adults or minors who are dating or have dated or who have had sexual relations with one another; adults or minors related by blood or adoption; adults or minors related or were formerly related by marriage; or adult or minor children of a person in a relationship described above.  

According to the law, almost everyone has been involved in domestic assaults by getting into scuffles as children with their siblings or other violations of the above list!  If you have been charged with a crime please contact us today.

Our law firm has successfully represented clients charged with Domestic Assault.  If you have been charged with a crime and need Lawyer to Represent You in a Criminal Law Case we can help! To Read More about our Criminal Litigation Services - Click Here




Posted on 09/15/2015 11:04 AM by Jonathan Tinsley
Thursday, 10 September 2015
What is Probate and What are Probate Assets?

I was thinking about the course of conversations with many estate planning clients.  One common theme occurred to me I spend some amount of time with every client explaining the basics of probate.  As lawyers, we admittedly can get bogged down in the intricacies of legal nuances, but most of the time, the basics are the most helpful. So, that's where we're going today.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process by which final claims against the decedent are settled and probate assets of a decedent are distributed.  As with any simplified definition, it is over-simplified, but it is a good starting point.  Probate is handled by the county in Tennessee wherein the decedent lived when he or she passed away.  Within that county, a specific court is designated to handle probate matters.  The name of the court varies slightly from county to county.  Ultimately though, all of the probate courts in Tennessee follow the same Tennessee law so the process is similar in each court.  Every probate will be slightly different because the facts will be different for each decedent. Was there a Will? Was there a Trust? Are minors involved? Are there any creditors of the estate? There are many variations on what probate can specifically entail.

What is a Probate Asset?

The definition of a "probate asset" is important for our understanding of the probate process since only probate assets are distributed through probate. (Yes, I used "probate" four times in one sentence.)  In the most basic definition, a probate asset is something that is owned individually by the decedent.  However, this definition has quite a few exceptions and additions.  It may be easier to define a "probate asset" by focusing on what it is not (the "non-probate assets"). 

It is not something that has a legally designated beneficiary.  The most common example of this is life insurance.  Life insurance usually has a designated beneficiary to whom the money will flow almost immediately upon a person's death.  The probate court does not consider this transfer except to note the amount of the life insurance that was passed.  One lesser known example is a payable on death (POD) beneficiary on a basic checking or savings account.  Most of the time, you can designate a POD beneficiary on your bank accounts that you own.  This will allow the bank to immediately transfer that account to your beneficiary upon your death, removing the bank account from probate. 

Assets that are owned jointly by spouses are also typically a non-probate asset.  Here, homes are commonly found.  A home that was bought by a married couple will automatically belong to the surviving spouse, individually.  A word of caution here if you are married be sure that both your name and your spouse's name are on the Deed! If the property is only titled in one spouse's name, this does not apply and the home would be a probate asset.

Hopefully this is a helpful (brief) explanation of probate and probate assets.  We would be glad to walk you through the process of discussing what probate would look like for your loved ones and strategize on how to ease that process.  Quite a few assets can be removed from your probate estate by simple changes.  We would be honored to show you how.     

Planning Your Estate can help prevent future difficulties for your family. To Read More about our Estate Planning Services - Click Here




Posted on 09/10/2015 10:46 AM by Erika Piland
Thursday, 3 September 2015
DUI Mandatory Jail Sentences in Tennessee

It is amazing how many people are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the state of Tennessee.  Most of these people think they are okay to drive due to the amount they have had to drink, the amount they have eaten, or the amount of time that has passed since consuming alcohol. 

Many of our clients explain their exact situation to us, after being charged, and we are surprised at how high their blood alcohol levels are considering their circumstances.  Many people are also surprised to learn of the jail sentences associated with DUI and blood alcohol levels. 

In Tennessee, if you are convicted of a DUI, the law says that you must serve a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 48 hours, which must be served all at the same time.  This is the minimum sentence and a DUI offender can serve up to 11 months 29 days in jail for a first offense DUI, in addition to other punishments.  

On a first offense, if your blood alcohol level is above 0.20, which is surprisingly common, the mandatory minimum jail sentence goes up to seven days in jail which must all be served at the same time.  After your first offense DUI, if you are convicted of subsequent offenses, the mandatory minimums go up substantially thereafter.  It is not uncommon for second offense DUI offenders to serve anywhere from 45 days in jail to up to one year.  Third offenses can cost an offender 120 days in jail and up to one year. 

Our law firm has successfully represented clients charged with DUI.  If you have been charged with a crime and need Lawyer to Represent You in a Criminal Law Case we can help! To Read More about our Criminal Litigation Services - Click Here




Posted on 09/03/2015 9:43 AM by Jonathan Tinsley
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