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Knox County Law Blog

Why prudence is key when facing an IRS audit

Now that we are over a week removed from Tax Day 2017, people throughout Tennessee and across the nation are officially breathing much easier. Indeed, those who put filing their returns off until the eleventh hour have likely already forgotten about the last minute dash to their accountant's office or the post office, and instead focused their thoughts on a much-needed return.

While many taxpayers will receive a refund in the coming weeks, many others will likely receive a notice of an audit. If this seems hard to believe given the decline in the audit rate in recent years, experts indicate that this trend is now likely to be reversed, as the Treasury Department has become all too aware of its inaction in this area.

What you should know about property division in Tennessee -- II

In a previous post, we discussed how an issue of paramount importance in most divorces is property division, something that makes perfect sense when you consider the time and energy most married couples invest into building a better life.

In light of this, we started examining the property division process here in Tennessee, focusing first on what the courts consider marital property and, by extension, subject to equitable division. We'll continue these efforts in today's post, examining what courts consider separate property, meaning that which is not subject to equitable division in a divorce.

Lawmakers looking to further curb distracted driving encounter opposition

If you think you've seen more squad cars out on the roads and highways over the last few weeks, it isn’t your imagination. Indeed, the Tennessee Highway Patrol along with local police departments are currently taking part in a statewide crackdown as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the state Highway Safety Office's Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving campaign.

While some might question the need for such an enforcement effort, consider that NHTSA statistics show that close to 3,500 people lost their lives while roughly 391,000 were injured as a result of distracting driving in 2015, the most recent year for which complete data is available. 

What you should know about property division in Tennessee

When divorce proves inevitable, the issue of paramount importance to the vast majority of people is understandably child custody and visitation. Coming in second -- or perhaps even first if the couple has no children -- is property division, something that makes sense when you consider the time and energy that most couples expend trying to build a better life.

Given this reality, it's important that anyone actively pursuing a divorce -- or who has already been served with papers -- to have a better understanding of what the law here in Tennessee has to say about property division.

Is your CDL at risk due to criminal charges in Tennessee?

If you make a living operating a hazmat vehicle or some other type of commercial truck in Tennessee, you're likely aware that you're bound to stringent safety standards. Any type of traffic violation or criminal charges while driving can place your commercial driver's license at risk. Many people depend on their CDLs to make ends meet and provide for their families, so incurring a license suspension or losing a job can be devastating.

Truck drivers often spend long hours on the road. When fatigue sets in, many seek ways to stay alert behind the wheel. Some listen to upbeat music or podcasts while others crack open their windows for a little fresh air. There have also been many reports regarding commercial drivers who consume controlled substances to help them stay awake. This is generally a very bad idea since it not only may adversely affect driving skills, it can also lead to criminal charges and CDL suspension.

Are defective guardrails lining our roads and highways?

When we get behind the wheel of our vehicles and head out on our familiar routes to work, school and all other points in-between, we take it for a given that the roads and highways are in good and safe working condition.

Indeed, we expect that the pavement will be largely smooth and free of potholes, the signs and signals installed properly, the markings easy to read and all other traffic safety devices functioning correctly. Unfortunately, reports show that one such device, manufactured by different companies, has actually been failing at a catastrophic rate across the country, including Tennessee.

Are terminally ill people being forced to wait too long for SSDI benefits?

Back in January, our blog discussed how the Social Security Administration has created the Compassionate Allowances initiative in recognition of the fact that some applicants for disability benefits are suffering from conditions that are so grave that they will very clearly have no problem satisfying the agency's criteria for assistance.

To recap, the CAL initiative provides those diagnosed with one of 225 designated diseases with eligibility for fast-tracked processing, meaning a decision on their application for SSDI benefits in weeks, as opposed to months or even years.

Is it time to revisit how the state treats juveniles given life sentences?

Without question, one of the more controversial issues in the area of criminal law is juvenile sentencing, particularly the appropriateness of sentencing people to life in prison for crimes committed while they were teens, a timeframe in which research has long shown that the human brain is still developing.   

The Supreme Court of the United States took a rather definitive stance on this issue via a series of rulings handed down in 2010 and 2012, effectively banning the states from giving juveniles life sentences without the possibility of parole. Indeed, in response to the rulings, as many as 24 states passed laws establishing mandatory review of juvenile life sentences after the passage of a set amount of years.

A closer look at how the SSA determines disability - III

In a series of ongoing posts, we've been discussing how those who've suffered some type of life-altering injury or been diagnosed with a serious illness that has left them unable to work understandably become anxious about their ability to make ends meet going forward.

We've also been discussing how they can derive some comfort from the Social Security Administration's disability insurance program, which provides much-needed financial relief to individuals whose condition meets the agency's definition of disability and are able to pass the earnings test. We'll conclude our efforts in today's post, examining the five-step process relied upon by the SSA to determine if someone is indeed disabled. 

Committed to helping young people fight DUI charges

In a matter of weeks, colleges and universities throughout Tennessee will be going on spring break, giving students a much-needed reprieve from their academic pursuits and associated responsibilities. While many of these younger people will be flocking to popular beachfront destinations in Florida, Texas and even Mexico, others will be staying closer to home, perhaps remaining on campus or heading home for the holiday.

Those college students who remain here in Tennessee may not be able to enjoy the sandy beaches, but this doesn't mean they won’t be able to blow off some steam. Indeed, many of those 21 years old and up will undoubtedly be spending their evenings in area bars and nightclubs.

Experienced. Committed. Respected.

Mr. McKellar was voted by his peers as a “Top Attorney” by Knoxville’s CityView magazine in its 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Mr. McKellar was selected as a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by the National Trial Lawyers.

Ms. Easter was voted by her peers as a “Top Attorney” in Cityview Magazine for Family Law / Divorce / Child Support in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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