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Nashville Criminal Defense Blog

Arm yourself with information to trigger strong criminal defense

Whether you've lived in Tennessee all your life, or have just recently migrated here, you're probably somewhat aware of state laws regarding various topics. Perhaps police have pulled you over a time or two for driving a few miles over a posted speed limit or driving with a broken taillight. If your car has ever drifted a bit too close to the yellow line, you may have wound up in a traffic stop on suspicion of drunk driving.

After submitting to a Breathalyzer and a few field sobriety tests, you may have been able to resolve your situation. The experience likely made you at least vaguely familiar with the criminal justice system. It can be a real game-changer, however, if police charge you with a serious offense.

Planning your defense against conspiracy charges

A classic movie tells the story of two men who meet on a train and begin discussing their personal burdens. One man wants to divorce his wife, and the other man hates his father. The two agree that the best plan is for each to do away with the other's problem. However, the married man thinks it's all talk until his wife ends up dead.

If you have seen the movie, you remember that the married man finds himself swept up in a web of murder and conspiracy, trying to prove his innocence because, after all, he did agree to the plan. If you are currently facing charges of conspiracy, you may understand the character's feelings of frustration and panic.

What factors may impact sentencing in a drug-related case?

When facing a legal ordeal, you may worry about the potential outcomes of your case. Because your situation involves serious drug charges, you may feel particularly concerned about what type of sentencing could come about in the event that the court convicts you of the crime of which you have been accused. Unfortunately, no exact punishment blankets all drug-related cases, and as a result, you could face a range of repercussions.

Though you undoubtedly hope that your criminal defense will allow you to avoid a conviction, you may still wish to prepare for and understand the possible negative outcomes as well. Numerous factors could play a role in the determination of any consequences that may result from your case.

DNA is not your judge and jury

Who doesn't love a good crime show? The modern Sherlock Holmes uses the amazing advances in forensics and technology to track down the most unlikely suspects and convict them without questioning the validity of the evidence. In many cases, the deciding factor in these fictional dramas is DNA evidence.

While the use of DNA as a crime fighting tool has certainly revolutionized investigative police work, its portrayal on television as irrefutable proof of someone's guilt has potentially tainted the opinions of juries. In truth, the analysis of DNA evidence may not be so trustworthy.

Drug raids: How does the Fourth Amendment protect you?

Let's say you and a few friends are hanging out at your home watching a major sports event on TV. Suddenly, a loud knock at the door startles everyone in the room, and as you approach the entrance to your home, you notice several people who appear to be uniformed Tennessee police officers outside your window. You crack open the door and the official-looking people show you badges and ask if they can come in and have a look around.

Although you're now convinced they are legitimate law enforcement agents, you aren't sure what to do next. One of the officers asks you to confirm your identity, which you do. Beyond that, you aren't sure whether you're required to let them in or if you can refuse. Clarifying your rights ahead of time may help you make informed decisions when problems arise.

Predators fan throws catfish on the ice. Now he's facing charges.

As the Nashville Predators attempt to hoist the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, a devoted fan may be facing some legal trouble due to a long-standing tradition. During the second period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, a Predators fan threw a (dead) catfish on the ice. Now he’s been charged with “disorderly conduct, possessing instruments of crime and disrupting meetings and processions,” according to

Jacob Waddell, a 36 year old Predators fan from nearby Nolensville, Tennessee, had an elaborate plan to smuggle the catfish into PPG Paints Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Sessions: No need to review quality of FBI forensic science

When evidence is used to prove guilt in a criminal case, that evidence needs to be valid. It's a basic tenet of the criminal justice system that prosecutors aren't supposed to fight simply to win, but to fight for justice. They're not supposed to cut corners on evidence, and if there is a problem with that evidence, they're required to tell the defense.

Yet by 2012 it had become obvious that we have a major problem with evidence in our justice system. Forensic science, as it turns out, isn't as fundamentally sound a science as you might think. Worse, it can be -- and has been -- manipulated.

Recovery court is an alternative to jail for drug charges

Sadly, when it comes to drug addiction, the focus is often on punishing the crime rather than helping victims who cannot escape. That is slowly changing in Tennessee though. Tennessee has implemented recovery court, which is an alternative to jail time for drug crimes. It focuses on rehabilitation and breaking the cycle of addiction. If you have been convicted of a drug crime, this may be an option for you

You have the right to mute law enforcement's star witness.

Thanks to our exposure to countless police procedurals and crime movies, most Americans are familiar with the rights extended to those brought in for questioning. Whether the scene features an individual being placed in a squad car or interviewed at a police station, the actor interrogated was informed of the right to remain silent. The safeguard against self-incrimination proffered by the Miranda rights is one that Hollywood has taught Americans from an early age.

If you are the subject of a policy inquiry, it isn't only your silence that is protected by law. A "gag order" of sorts has been established in order to mute the star witness officers typically call on to reveal incriminating information. In many cases, the testimony provided by this witness can pinpoint your whereabouts, identify your friends, and recall conversations made months in the past. Your daily reliance on this witness creates a detailed record of your life and leads law enforcement to seek access whenever possible.


Mark Scruggs, Trial Attorney
95 White Bridge Rd. Ste 508
Nashville, TN 37205

Phone: 615-988-4128
Fax: 615-356-6954
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