Expungement, meaning the process of removing arrests, charges or convictions from a person's criminal record, has recently become a hot topic of conversation here in Tennessee owing to the enactment of a new law lowering the felony expunction fee by $170.
A few weeks ago, legal observers -- and much of the nation -- were closely following a criminal trial in Massachusetts involving a 20-year-old woman charged with involuntary manslaughter for sending her boyfriend text messages encouraging him to take his own life, which he sadly did.
Statistics show that the both the Metro-Nashville area and Davidson County have seen a troubling trend in recent years: an increase in both juvenile crime and violence. As discouraging as this development is, the good news is that the reaction of local officials hasn't been to simply make more arrests.
In our previous post, we discussed how a new law here in Tennessee lowered the amount of the felony expunction fee from a staggering $350, the third highest in the nation, to a more manageable $180.
The unfortunate reality for many men and women released from prison is that despite paying their debt to society and their commitment to getting their lives back on track, the road ahead does not always prove to be particularly easy or even particularly fair.
If you were to ask the average middle school or high school student to show you what was in their pockets, chances are very good that in addition to such staples as gum, tissues and lip balm, the majority would also pull out a smartphone.
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.
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.
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.
When many parents stop and reflect on their teenage years, they may simply chuckle to themselves and shake their head. More than anything, this simple action serves as a sort of tacit recognition that they engaged in antics when they were younger that were puerile at best and illegal at worst.