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Criminal Defense

Knoxville Criminal Defense Lawyers

Protecting Your Rights And Your Future Freedoms

Mr. McKellar has been selected as a member of “America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys” in 2019.

Even though allegations of a crime are merely allegations and do not by themselves prove that you are guilty, many people believe that an arrest and subsequent charges are reason enough to scrutinize and act harshly against an accused person. In many cases, the negative stigma of a crime is enough to hurt someone’s reputation, potentially forcing that person out of work or interfering with his or her daily life.

Just because you were accused of a crime does not give the public the right to condemn you before you’ve had a chance to tell your side of the story. At McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law, we will listen to what you have to say and make sure your rights are protected from beginning to end. Our defense strategies are designed to protect your reputation and freedom from damaging allegations.

We Will Defend You Against Any Crime

The most valuable attorney is one who systematically knows the law and will be able to guide you in the right direction. At our firm, our lawyers have considerable experience handling a variety of criminal defense cases, including:

We can HELP you with ALL State & Federal Crimes including:

  • State & Federal Criminal Defense
  • ALL Felony & Misdemeanor Charges
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Aggravated Speeding
  • Armed Robbery
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Bankruptcy Fraud
  • Battery
  • Burglary
  • Child Pornography
  • Credit Card Fraud & Theft
  • Cruelty To Animals
  • DUI
  • Drug Offenses – possession, trafficking, cultivation, manufacturing or selling controlled substances or prescription drugs
    • Drug Cultivation
    • Drug Distribution
    • Drug Manufacturing
    • Drug Possession
    • Drug Sales
    • Drug Trafficking
  • Embezzelment
  • Expungement / Record Clearing
  • False Bank Entries
  • Federal Criminal Defense
  • Federal Drug Charges
  • Federal Sex Crimes
  • Felonies
  • Firearm Possession
  • Forgery
  • Fraud
  • Gun Charges
  • Health Care Crimes & Fraud
  • Home Invasion
  • Identity Theft
  • Kidnapping & False Imprisonment
  • Mail & Wire Fraud
  • Misdemeanors
  • Money Laundering
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Murder & Homicide Defense
  • Patronizing Prostitution
  • Property & Financial Crimes
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Sex Crimes & Offenses – sex involving a minor, indecent exposure and solicitation of sex from a prostitute
  • Tax Crimes
  • Theft & Property Crimes
  • Traffic Violations
  • Violent Crimes
  • Weapons Charges
  • White Collar Crimes

ARSON DEFENSE ATTORNEYS

The state of Tennessee has specific codes and statutes regarding crimes of arson. The level of offenses range from minor misdemeanors to Class A Felonies. Additionally, although an offense may initially be categorized as a misdemeanor, there are certain circumstances that will increase the offense level to a felony.

The Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A) § 39-14-301 identifies Arson as the act of knowingly damaging any structure through the use of a fire or explosion:

(a) Without the consent of all persons who have a possessory, proprietary or security interest therein; or
(b) With intent to destroy or damage any structure to collect insurance for the damage or destruction or for any unlawful purpose.

Arson is a Class C felony. However, the crime will be considered a Class B felony if it is determined to have occurred in a place of worship.

Aggravated Arson (T.C.A. § 39-14-302) is the act of committing arson or setting fire to personal property or land when:

(a) One (1) or more persons are present therein; or
(b) When any person, including firefighters and law enforcement officials, suffers serious bodily injury as a result of the fire or explosion.

Aggravated Arson is a Class A felony and carries the most severe fines and penalties of all arson crimes.

Setting Fire to Personal Property or Land (T.C.A. § 39-14-303) is the act of knowingly damaging any personal property, land, or other property, except buildings or structures covered under § 39-14-301, by means of a fire or explosion:

(a) Without the consent of all persons who have a possessory or proprietary interest therein; or
(b) With intent to destroy or damage any such property for any unlawful purpose.

Violations under T.C.A. § 39-14-303 are Class E felonies.

Reckless Burning (T.C.A. § 39-14-304) is the act of:

(a) Recklessly starting a fire on the land, building, structure or personal property of another;
(b) Starting a fire on the person’s own land, building, structure or personal property and recklessly allowing the fire to escape and burn the property of another; or
(c) Knowingly starting an open air or unconfined fire in violation of a burning ban as determined by the commissioner of agriculture, in consultation with the state forester and the county mayors of impacted counties in extreme fire hazard conditions.

Reckless burning is a Class A misdemeanor.

Leaving Fire near Woodland Unattended (T.C.A. § 39-14-305) is the act of originating or using an open fire and leaving that fire unattended without totally extinguishing the same, if it is within one hundred fifty feet (150) of forest or woodlands or within one hundred fifty feet (150) of other inflammable material, resulting in the fire being conveyed to forest or woodlands.

A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

According to T.C.A. § 39-14-306, Setting Fires At Certain Times Without Permit, it is unlawful for any person to start an open-air fire between October 15 and May 15, inclusive, within five hundred feet (500) of any forest, grasslands or woodlands without first securing a permit from the state forester or the state forester’s duly authorized representative. Depending upon the potential for hazardous burning conditions, the state forester may prescribe a period other than October 15 to May 15 within which a permit must be obtained prior to starting an open-air fire.

A violation of this subsection is typically a Class C misdemeanor. However, violations of T.C.A. § 39-14-306 may be considered Class A misdemeanors if the commissioner of agriculture, in consultation with the state forester and the county mayors of impacted counties, has issued a burning ban prohibiting all open air fire in any area of the state in extreme fire hazard conditions.

LEVEL OF OFFENSE PUNISHMENT(S)
Class A felony No less than fifteen (15) or more than sixty (60) years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class B felony No less than eight (8) or more than thirty (30) years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class C felony No less than three (3) years or more than fifteen (15) years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class D felony No less than two (2) years or more than twelve (12) years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class E felony No less than one (1) year or more than six (6) years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than three thousand dollars ($3,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class A misdemeanor No greater than eleven (11) months twenty-nine (29) days in jail or a fine of no more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute
Class B misdemeanor No greater than six (6) months in jail or a fine of no more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute
Class C misdemeanor No greater than thirty (30) days in jail or a fine of no more than fifty dollars ($50.00), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute

No matter the level of your case or the seriousness of the charges, we will concentrate on the facts and make sure the whole story gets presented to the court. We will keep you informed during the entirety of your case, helping you understand the legalese and the options you have. And with our client-centered approach, you can rest assured that a resolution to your case is truly in your best interests.

Assault Defense

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s publication on 2012 Crime Statistics reported that of the thirteen different types of crimes that fall under the “crimes against persons” offenses, the highest reported crimes were simple assault (56.96%) and aggravated assault (19.06%), making them the most common and most likely of crimes against persons charges to be brought up against an individual.

In Tennessee, offense levels for assault charges may range from misdemeanors to felonies resulting in penalties spanning a few days in jail or as much as fifteen years in prison and may include possible fines of up to $15,000. The offense level and consequent charges, penalties, and/or fines depend on a wide-range of factors including the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim, whom the offense was committed against, other charges associated with the alleged assault, aggravating factors, and the defendant’s criminal history.

Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A) § 39-13-10 defines Assault as the act of:

  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another;
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another if a reasonable person would regard said contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

According to T.C.A. § 39-13-102, there are certain conditions that will result in Aggravated Assault charges.  These conditions include intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly committing an assault and said assault:

  • Results in serious bodily injury to another;
  • Results in the death of another;
  • Involves the use or display of a deadly weapon;
  • Intends to cause bodily injury by strangulation or bodily injury by strangulation was attempted

In addition to simple assault and aggravated assault charges, other “crimes against persons” charges include the following:

  • Reckless endangerment (T.C.A. § 39-13-103) – Committing an offense when recklessly engaging in conduct that places or may place another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Additional charges may result if the crime involved a deadly weapon or the discharging of a firearm.
  • Vehicular assault (T.C.A. §39-13-106) – Recklessly causing serious bodily injury to another person while operating a motor vehicle and while intoxicated. Intoxication includes the use or consumption of alcohol, drugs, or both.
  • Domestic assault (T.C.A. § 39-13-111) – Committing assault against a domestic abuse victim
  • Violation of an order of protection or restraining order (T.C.A. § 39-13-113) – Although orders of protection and restraining orders are civil matters, a violation of either may result in criminal charges.
  • Other offenses – Physical injury to victim (T.C.A. § 39-13-105) – In addition to the enumerated offenses above, crimes against the person shall be any violent offense that results or could have resulted in physical injury to the victim, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual battery and kidnapping.

Although assault charges are the most common “crimes against persons” offenses reported in Tennessee, they should not be taken lightly. Guilty outcomes can have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences; you may be at risk of losing certain rights including your freedom, the ability to contact your family and children, or access to your home or personal belongings. Additionally, a criminal record may impact your present and future employment opportunities and the ability to obtain a loan or higher education.

The criminal defense attorneys at The McKellar Law Firm are committed to the needs and rights of our clients. If you are facing assault charges, we can help you understand the full-extent of the allegations that have been brought against you. We will be your advocate and support you through the criminal and judicial process.

Burglary Defense

Tennessee state law specifies conditions that must exist for one to be charged with burglary and burglary-related offenses. Tennessee Annotated Code (T.C.A.) § 39-14-402 defines Burglary as the unlawful entering of a location, without the effective consent of the property’s owner, in conjunction with committing or intending to commit a felony, theft, or assault. Simple burglary charges may range from a Class E to a Class D felony depending on the property burglarized.

Aggravated Burglary, as defined by T.C.A §39-14-403, is the burglary of a habitation, meaning any structure that is designed or modified for the overnight accommodation of persons. Aggravated burglary is a Class C felony.

T.C.A § 39-14-404 defines Especially Aggravated Burglary as the burglary of any location in which a victim suffers serious bodily injury. Especially aggravated burglary is a Class B felony.

Other burglary-related offenses include the following:

Criminal Trespass – T.C.A § 39-14-405: entering or remaining on a property or any portion thereof, without effective consent from the owner. Criminal trespass is a Class C misdemeanor.

Aggravated Criminal Trespass – § 39-14-406: entering or remaining on a property without the owner’s effective consent and causing fear for the safety of another or damaging or destroying any barrier(s) designed to keep trespassers from entering the property. Aggravated criminal trespass charges may range from a Class B to a Class A misdemeanor.

Vandalism – § 39-14-408: knowingly causing damage or the destruction of any personal property without the owner’s effective consent. Punishments for acts of vandalism are based on the value of the property according to the provisions for theft under T.C.A § 39-14-105 as follows:

VALUE PUNISHMENT
$500 or less Class A misdemeanor: Up to 11 months 29 days in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
$500-$1,000 Class E felony: 1-6 years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines
$1,000-$10,000 Class D felony: 2-12 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
$10,000-$60,000 Class C felony: 3-15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
$60,000-$250,000 Class B felony: 8-30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
More than $250,000 Class A felony: 15-60 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines

Provisions for Authorized Terms of Imprisonment and Fines for Felonies and Misdemeanors are set forth in T.C.A. § 40-35-111 as follows:

OFFENSE LEVEL PUNISHMENT(S)
Class A felony Fifteen (15) to sixty (60) years of imprisonment. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), unless otherwise provided by statute.
Class B felony Eight (8) to thirty (30) years of imprisonment. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class C felony Three (3) to fifteen (15) years of imprisonment. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), unless otherwise provided by statute;
Class D felony Two (2) to twelve (12) years of imprisonment. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class E felony One (1) to six (6) years of imprisonment. In addition, the jury may assess a fine of no more than three thousand dollars ($3,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
Class A misdemeanor No more than eleven (11) months, twenty-nine (29) days of imprisonment or a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute;
Class B misdemeanor No more than six (6) months of imprisonment or a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute; and
Class C misdemeanor No more than thirty (30) days of imprisonment or a fine of up to fifty dollars ($50.00), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute.

The criminal defense attorneys at The McKellar Law Firm are knowledgeable and experienced with Tennessee state laws. We are committed to the needs of our clients, attentive to their requests, and determined to protect and ensure their rights. We can provide you with professional, legal advice, address your concerns, and make certain that you are not charged unfairly or excessively.

If you have been accused or are under investigation for burglary in the state of Tennessee, it is important to contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Convictions for burglary can result in serious consequences, which may impact your future personal and professional opportunities.

Cruelty To Animal Defense

Tennessee’s anti-cruelty laws define an “animal” as a domesticated living creature or wild creature previously captured.  Most commonly, a person charged with the offense of cruelty to animals can be guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by spending no more than 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.  In more severe cases, a person found guilty of animal cruelty is subject to a Class E Felony and can spend anywhere from 1 to 6 years in prison and a $3,000 fine.

Currently, all 50 states have felony provisions within their animal cruelty laws.  Before 1986, only four states had felony animal cruelty laws: Massachusetts (1804), Oklahoma (1887), Rhode Island (1896), and Michigan (1931).

Cruelty to Animals (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-14-202)

According to this statute, a person commits an offense who (1) intentionally tortures, maims, or grossly overworks an animal; (2) fails unreasonably to provide food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody; (3) abandons unreasonably; (4) confines or transports an animal in a cruel way; or (5) inflicts burns, cuts, lacerations, or other injuries or pain, by any method, including blistering compounds to the legs or hoofs of horses.  Also according to this statute, a person commits an offense who knowingly ties, tethers, or restrains a dog in a manner that results in the dog suffering bodily injury as defined in § 39-11-106.

An offense under this section is a Class A Misdemeanor.  A second or subsequent conviction for cruelty to animals is considered a Class E Felony, regardless of whether either or both convictions involved livestock

Cock and Animal Fighting (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-14-203)

According to this statute, it is unlawful for any person to (1) own, possess, keep, use, or train any bull, bear, dog, cock, swine, or any other animal for the purpose of fighting, baiting, or injuring another animal; (2) to cause for amusement, sport, or gain, any animal to fight, bait, or injure another animal or each other (3) permit any acts stated above, 1 and 2, to be done on any premises, or aid or abet those acts; or (4) be knowingly present as a spectator at any place where preparations are being made for fighting, baiting, or injuring any animal, with the intent to be present at the exhibition.

Most offenses under this section are a Class E felony.  A spectator at a dog fight can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.  An offense involving a cock is a Class A misdemeanor.

Tennessee is only one of a few states with no felony penalties for cockfighting.  Tennessee was able to fight efforts to enact an Ag-Gag law in 2013.  “Ag-Gag” laws are an attempt to censor investigators and journalists who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Intentional Killing of Animal(Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-14-205)

This statute says that it is an offense to knowingly and unlawfully kill the animal of another without the owner’s consent commits theft of that animal and shall be punished under § 39-14-105 – Grading of theft.  The value of a police dog includes both value of the dog and any specialized training.

Sexual Activity Involving an Animal (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-14-214)

According to this statute, a person commits an offense who knowingly (1) engages in any sexual activity with an animal; (2) Causes, aids, or abets another person to engage in any sexual activity with an animal; (3) permits any sexual activity with an animal to be conducted on his or her premise; (4) engages in, organizes, promotes, conducts, advertises, aids abets, participates in as an observer, or performs any service in the furtherance of an act involving any sexual activity with an animal for commercial or recreational use; or (5) photographs or films a person engaged in a sexual activity with an animal for purpose of sexual gratification.

Any violation of this section is considered a Class E felony.  In addition, the court may order a convicted person to do the following: not own animals or love where animals are present, attend counseling, and/or reimburse the animal shelter or humane society for costs incurred as a result of conduct described in this section.

Kidnapping & False Imprisonment Defense

False imprisonment gives rise to a civil claim for damages.  According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-302, A person commits the offense of false imprisonment who knowingly removes or confines another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with the other’s liberty.  False imprisonment can be a relatively inoffensive, harmless restraint of another person.

False imprisonment is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine.  An individual alleging false imprisonment may sue for damages for the interference with her or his right to move freely.

Kidnapping (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-303)

According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-303, Kidnapping is false imprisonment as defined in § 39-13-302, under circumstances exposing the other person to substantial risk of bodily injury.

Kidnapping is the crime of taking a person against their will to an undisclosed location.

The two key elements of kidnapping are (1) unlawful taking of the victim and (2) a wrongful motive like obtaining a ransom. The intent of the kidnapper is a decisive element in the crime of kidnapping. The physical taking or removal of a person from his/her home by the use of force, fraud, or coercion amounts to kidnapping.

Kidnapping is a Class C felony, punishable by three years up to fifteen years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $10,000 dollars.

Aggravated Kidnapping

According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-304, Aggravated kidnapping is false imprisonment, as defined in § 39-13-302, committed (1) to facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter, (2) to interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function, (3) with the intent to inflict serious bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another, (4) where the victim suffers bodily injury, or (5) while the defendant is in possession of a deadly weapon or threatens the use of a deadly weapon.

Aggravated kidnapping is a Class B felony.  A person charged with this felony is punishable by anywhere from eight to thirty years in prison and a fine up to $25,000 dollars

Especially Aggravated Kidnapping

According to Tennessee Annotated Code § 39-13-305, Especially aggravated kidnapping is false imprisonment, as defined in § 39-13-302, (1) accomplished with a deadly weapon or by display of any article used or fashioned to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a deadly weapon, (2) where the victim was under the age of thirteen at the time of the removal or confinement, (3) committed to hold the victim for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage or (4) where the victim suffers serious bodily injury.

Especially aggravated kidnapping is a Class A felony, punishable by fifteen to sixty years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 dollars.

However, if the offender voluntarily releases the victim alive or voluntarily provides information leading to the victim’s safe release, such actions shall be considered by the court as a mitigating factor at the time of sentencing.

Murder & Homicide Defense

Like all other federal and state jurisdictions, Tennessee classifies offenses based on the gravity of the crime.  Crimes that involve the death of another person are among the most serious in Tennessee. In fact, convictions may result in life sentences or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and because Tennessee is among the states that allow capital punishment, convictions for certain offenses may result in a death sentence.

Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 39-13-201 defines Criminal Homicide as the unlawful killing of another person. There are five distinct offenses identified as criminal homicide:

  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Vehicular homicide

First Degree Murder, as defined by T.C.A. § 39-13-202:

  • The premeditated and intentional killing of another;
  • A killing of another while committing or attempting to commit first degree murder, an act of terrorism, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child or aircraft piracy; or
  • A killing of another as the result of the unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.

First degree murder is a capital crime, for which punishment may include death, imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole, or life imprisonment.

Second Degree Murder, as defined by T.C.A. § 39-13-210:

  • A knowing killing of another; or
  • A killing of another that results from the unlawful distribution of any Schedule I or Schedule II drug, when the drug is the proximate cause of the death of the user.

Second degree murder is a Class A felony, punishable by imprisonment of no less than fifteen (15) years and no more than sixty (60) years, as well as possible monetary fines of up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

Voluntary Manslaughter, as defined by T.C.A. § 39-13-211:

  • The intentional or knowing killing of another in a state of passion produced by adequate provocation sufficient to lead a reasonable person to act in an irrational manner.

Voluntary manslaughter is a Class C felony, punishable by imprisonment of no less than three (3) years and no more than fifteen (15) years, as well as possible monetary fines of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Criminally Negligent Homicide, as defined by T.C.A. § 39-13-212:

  • Criminally negligent conduct that results in another’s death.

Criminally negligent homicide is a Class E felony, punishable by imprisonment of no less than one (1) year and no more than six (6) years, as well as possible monetary fines of up to three thousand dollars ($3,000).

Vehicular Homicide, as defined by T.C.A. § 39-13-213:

  • The reckless killing of another by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motorboat or other motor vehicle, as the proximate result of:
    • Conduct creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person;
    • As the proximate result of conduct constituting the offense of drag racing as prohibited in § 55-10-5;

Both offenses are considered to be Class C felonies, which are punishable by imprisonment of no less than three (3) years and no more than fifteen (15) years, as well as possible monetary fines of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

  • The driver’s intoxication, as set forth in § 55-10-401. For the purposes of this section, “intoxication” includes alcohol intoxication as defined by § 55-10-411(a), drug intoxication, or both;

This offense is considered to be a Class B felony, which is punishable by imprisonment of no less than eight (8) years and no more than thirty (30) years, as well as possible monetary fines of up to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

  • The driver’s conduct in a posted construction zone where the person killed was an employee of the department of transportation or a highway construction worker.

This offense is considered to be a Class D felony, which is punishable by imprisonment of no less than two (2) years and no more than twelve (12) years, as well as possible monetary fines of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000).

Additionally, a defendant convicted of any vehicular homicide offense will be prohibited from driving a vehicle in the state of Tennessee for no less than three (3) years and no more than ten (10) years.

Other Homicide Offenses Criminalized by Tennessee State Law Include:

Reckless Homicide (T.C.A. § 39-13-215, Class D Felony)

  • The reckless killing of another

Assisted Suicide (T.C.A. § 39-13-216, Class D Felony)

  • Intentionally providing another person with the means by which such person directly and intentionally brings about such person’s own death; or
  • Intentionally participating in a physical act by which another person directly and intentionally brings about such person’s own death; and
  • Providing the means or participating in a physical act with:
    • Actual knowledge that the other person intends to bring about such person’s own death; and
    • The clear intent that the other person bring about such person’s own death.

Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (T.C.A. § 39-13-218, Class A Felony)

  • A person who has any combination of two (2) or more prior convictions for:
    • Driving under the influence of an intoxicant;
    • Vehicular assault; or
  • A defendant who has one (1) or more prior vehicular homicide convictions, or
  • If, at the time of the offense, the defendant’s blood alcohol level was .20%, or more, and the defendant has one (1) prior conviction for:
    • Driving under the influence of an intoxicant; or
    • Vehicular assault.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with any of the homicide offenses listed above, please contact our criminal defense attorneys for help!

Allegations Of Patronizing Prostitution

Few crimes have a more damaging impact on a defendant’s reputation and standing in the community than a charge for patronizing prostitution.   The simple allegation can be harmful, and a conviction can be even worse for one’s family, job, and community relationships.

With the increase in the use of the internet over the past years, the world’s oldest profession has seen new ways of luring in customers.  Although authorities have limited the once-thriving escort and prostitution business on sites such as Craigslist, other sites such as Backpage.com have emerged as an online portal to link prostitutes with potential suitors.  While law enforcement still monitors illegal activity from “street walkers,” many recent efforts have targeted those persons buying and selling sexual services online.

Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-514 (T.C.A. § 39-13-514) sets forth the law in Tennessee for those accused of patronizing prostitution.  The potential punishment for soliciting a prostitute can vary based on the location of the offense and the age of the prostitute.  For example,

  • Patronizing prostitution with no enhancing factors is a class B misdemeanor.
  • Patronizing prostitution within 100 feet of a church or within 1.5 miles of a school is a class A misdemeanor.  If the person is within 1.5 miles of school, T.C.A. § 39-13-514(b)(3) provides that the offender shall serve at least 7 days in jail and pay a minimum $1,000 fine.
  • Patronizing prostitution from a person who is less than 18 years old or with an intellectual disability is a class E felony.

If you have been charged with patronizing prostitution or soliciting sexual services in exchange for money, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today.

Rape Defense

Rape is defined by Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-503 as unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

  1. Force or coercion;
  2. Without the consent of the victim;
  3. Mentally defective victim; or
  4. Sexual penetration is accomplished by fraud.

There are many crimes which are related to or variations of rape, including:

  • Aggravated Rape (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-502)
    • Aggravated rape is unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:
      • (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act and the defendant is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be a weapon;
      • (2) The defendant causes bodily injury to the victim;
      • (3) The defendant is aided or abetted by one (1) or more other persons; and
        • (A) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; or
        • (B) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.
  • Sexual Battery (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-504 & 505)
    • Sexual battery is unlawful sexual contact with a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:
      • (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act;
      • (2) The sexual contact is accomplished without the consent of the victim and the defendant knows or has reason to know at the time of the contact that the victim did not consent;
      • (3) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or
      • (4) The sexual contact is accomplished by fraud.
    • Aggravated sexual battery is unlawful sexual contact with a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:
      • (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act and the defendant is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be a weapon;
      • (2) The defendant causes bodily injury to the victim;
      • (3) The defendant is aided or abetted by one (1) or more other persons; and
        • (A) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; or
        • (B) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or
      • (4) The victim is less than thirteen (13) years of age.
  • Statutory Rape (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-506)
    • Mitigated statutory rape is the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant, or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least fifteen (15) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is at least four (4) but not more than five (5) years older than the victim.
    • Statutory rape is the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by the victim when:
      • (1) The victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than fifteen (15) years of age and the defendant is at least four (4) years but less than ten (10) years older than the victim; or
      • (2) The victim is at least fifteen (15) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is more than five (5) but less than ten (10) years older than the victim.
    • Aggravated statutory rape is the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant, or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is at least ten (10) years older than the victim.

If you’re facing allegations that you raped someone, you need to start protecting yourself from harsh prosecution right away. Even an allegation of rape can ruin someone’s chances of maintaining employment or a scholarship. At McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law, we understand the full impact that rape allegations can have on a person. We want to help you.

Robbery Defense

Defending Yourself Against Allegations Of Robbery

Robbery and related crimes are found at Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-401.

Robbery is one of the most serious of all theft crimes and is punished as a felony in the state of Tennessee.  “Robbery” is defined as the intentional or knowing theft of property from the person of another by violence or putting the person in fear.  This particular statute does not include using a weapon to cause fear.  That is a separate statute.  Robbery is not to be confused with theft, which does not involve violence.  It is also different from burglary, since burglary involves entering a building or structure.

Violations of this statute are considered a Class C Felony. If found guilty of a Class C Felony, a person can be sentenced to no less than three years but no more than fifteen years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $10,000 dollars, unless otherwise provided by the statute

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated Robbery is included in Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-402. Aggravated robbery is robbery as defined in § 39-13-401, except it is either (1) accomplished with a deadly weapon or by display of any article used or fashioned to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a deadly weapon, or (2) where the victim suffers serious bodily injury.

Aggravated Robbery is considered a Class B Felony.  If found guilty of aggravated robbery, violators may spend no less than eight years but no more than thirty years in prison.  In addition, violators may be assessed a fine not to exceed $25,000 dollars, unless otherwise provided by the statute.

Especially Aggravated Robbery

Especially Aggravated Robbery is defined in Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-403. The difference between aggravated robbery and especially aggravated robbery is that especially aggravated robbery requires both the use of (1) a deadly weapon  AND (2) serious bodily injury; whereas, aggravated robbery only requires either (1) use of a deadly weapon  OR (2) serious bodily injury.

Especially aggravated robbery is a Class A felony, the most serious type of felony under Tennessee law.  Violators are punishable by not less than fifteen years but not to exceed more than sixty years in prison.  In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $50,000 dollars, unless otherwise provided by the statute.

Although the Bill died in Committee, in December 2009, a Bill was introduced to the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee that would have required a person convicted of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, and especially aggravated robbery, to be sentenced to community supervision for life and also would have required GPS monitoring of such person during term of supervision.

Carjacking

Carjacking is defined as the intentional or knowing taking of a motor vehicle from the possession of another by use of (1) a deadly weapon, or (2) force or intimidation.  A person who uses a gun to force a driver out of car and take the car has committed carjacking.

Carjacking is a Class B Felony and is punishable by eight to thirty years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $25,000.

If you’re facing criminal charges connected with an alleged robbery, make sure your rights are being defended by a defense lawyer who knows what he or she is doing. At our firm, all our defense attorneys have considerable experience handling a variety of criminal cases on all levels. We have the experience and skill you need to create a strong defense.

Theft Crime Defense

Theft Charges Carry Hefty Consequences

Theft Offenses

Tennessee state law identifies and criminalizes a number of “offenses against property.” According to the most recent Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Crime in Tennessee report, crimes that fall under the category of theft were the most common offenses against property charges to be brought up against individuals in 2012, constituting more than half of all offenses against property charges.

In Tennessee, offense levels for theft charges may range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class A felony, with any assessed fines depending on the monetary value of the property. Basic guidelines for theft charges are outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A) § 39-14-105 as follows:

If the theft value is: Then the charge and sentence is:
$500 or less Class A misdemeanor: Up to eleven (11) months (29) twenty-nine days in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
$500-$1,000 Class E felony: 1-6 years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines
$1,000-$10,000 Class D felony: 2-12 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
$10,000-$60,000 Class C felony: 3-15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
$60,000-$250,000 Class B felony: 8-30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
More than $250,000 Class A felony: 15-60 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines

Although fines for theft offenses are assessed pursuant to the guidelines set forth in § 39-14-105, most offenses have a compulsory class grading that may be higher than that listed in the guideline. Also, any class level may be elevated due to any of the following conditions:

  • The number of victims involved;
  • If more than one element of the offense occurred;
  • The county where the crime took place;
  • If there was an inducement, offer, acceptance, delivery, storage or financial transaction involving the property;
  • The defendant’s criminal history, or
  • Any aggravating factors

THEFT CHARGES

T.C.A. § 39-14-103 defines Theft as the act of:

  • Intending to deprive the owner of his/her property, and
  • Knowingly obtaining or exercising control of the property without the owner’s effective consent.

According to T.C.A. § 39-14-114, Forgery is defined as falsifying a writing with the intent to defraud or harm another. Forgery is a Class E felony.
As with forgery, Criminal Simulation fines are calculated according to § 39-14-105 and is a Class E felony. However, criminal simulation differs in that it is defined as having the intending to defraud or harm another by:

  • Making or altering an object, in whole or in part, so that it appears to have value because of age, antiquity, rarity, source or authorship that it does not have; or
  • Authenticating or certifying an object so made or altered as genuine or as different from what it is; and
  • Possessing an object so made or altered, with intent to sell, pass or otherwise utter it;
  • Possessing any machinery, plates or other contrivances designed to produce instruments reporting to be credit or debit cards of an issuer who had not consented to the preparation of the cards;
  • Possessing any instrument, apparatus or contrivance designed, adapted or used for commission of any theft of property or services by fraudulent means.

According to T.C.A. § 39-14-112, Extortion is a Class D felony and is defined as using coercion upon another person with the intent to obtain property, services, any advantage or immunity; or restrict unlawfully another’s freedom of action.

According to T.C.A. § 39-14-118, a person commits the crime of Illegal Possession or Fraudulent Use of Credit or Debit Card if he/she:

  • Takes, exercises control over, or otherwise uses that card or information from that card without consent from the owner or issuer; or
  • Uses that card, allows that card to be used, uses information from that card, or allows information from that card to be used for the purpose of obtaining property, credit, services or anything else of value with knowledge that:
    • The card is forged or stolen;
    • The card has been revoked or cancelled;
    • The card has expired and the person uses the card with fraudulent intent; or
    • For any other reason the use of the card is unauthorized by either the issuer or the person to whom the credit or debit card is issued.

Issuing a False Financial Statement is a Class B misdemeanor and is defined by T.C.A. § 39-14-120 as intending to defraud by:

  • Knowingly making or uttering a written instrument which claims to describe the financial condition or the financial ability of any person to pay, if that claim is inaccurate in some material respect; or
  • Representing in writing that a written instrument asserts a person’s financial condition or that the person’s ability to pay is accurate, when it is known or there is reason to believe that the assertion is inaccurate.

The fines and class level those charged with the crime of Worthless Checks vary on the individual facts and circumstances of the case. T.C.A. § 39-14-121 defines this offense as knowingly or with fraudulent intent:

  • Issuing or passing a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that at the time of issuance or passing there are not sufficient funds for the payment in full of the check or order, or
  • Stopping payment on a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, if credit, goods or services were provided at the time of the issuance of the check or similar sight order.

According to T.C.A. § 39-14-133, False or Fraudulent Insurance Claims is defined as intentionally:

  • Presenting or causing a false or fraudulent claim to be presented, or presenting any proof in support of such claim, for the payment of a loss, or other benefits, upon any contract of insurance coverage, or automobile comprehensive or collision insurance, or certificate of such insurance or prepares, or
  • Making or subscribing to a false or fraudulent account, certificate, affidavit or proof of loss, or other documents or writing, with intent that the same may be presented or used in support of such claim.

Additional theft charges include any of the following:

  • T.C.A. § 39-14-138: Theft of Trade Secrets – intending to deprive or withhold from its owner the control of a trade secret or intending to appropriate a trade secret for the use of another. This includes stealing or embezzling an article representing a trade secret, or without the appropriate authority, making or causing a copy of an article representing a trade secret to be made.
  • T.C.A. § 39-14-106: Unauthorized Use of Automobiles and Other Vehicles ( Joyriding) – taking another’s automobile, airplane, motorcycle, bicycle, boat or other vehicle without the consent of the owner and without intending to deprive the owner thereof.
  • T.C.A. § 39-14-119: Reporting of Credit or Debit Card Lost, Stolen or Mislaid – reporting or attempting to report a credit or debit card as being lost, stolen, or mislaid knowing that the report is false violates.
  • T.C.A. § 39-14-146: Theft of Property (Conduct Involving Merchandise) – intending to deprive a merchant of the stated price of merchandise by any of the following:
    • Concealing the merchandise;
    • Removing, taking possession of, or causing the removal of merchandise;
    • Altering, transferring or removing any price marking, or any other marking which aids in determining value affixed to the merchandise, or
    • Transferring the merchandise from one (1) container to another.

Although theft offenses are the most commonly charged offenses against property in Tennessee, a conviction can have serious, long-term effects on your freedom, finances, reputation and future employment and educational opportunities. If you have been charged with or are being investigated for any of the theft offenses listed above, the criminal defense attorneys at McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law, can help.

Guiding You From Arrest To Expungement

Whether you live in the Knoxville area or elsewhere in Tennessee or parts of Georgia, the lawyers at our firm are here to help. We truly want to make this confusing, frustrating and exhausting process more manageable, whether your investigation has just begun or you’re looking to get your record expunged.

To schedule a free initial telephone consultation, contact one of our offices in Tennessee — Knoxville and Nashville — or our office in Atlanta, Georgia, by calling 865-566-0125. You may also send us an email. We accept credit cards.

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