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Chattanooga Criminal Law Blog

Country star traffic stop footage may be released

Tennessee residents may be familiar with country music artist Randy Travis. In 2012, he was stopped for DUI, and during the traffic stop, footage was taken of him naked and speaking incoherently. Travis had attempted to block Texas authorities from releasing the footage, but a federal judge denied that request. Travis's lawyer claimed that the footage should be kept private under rules related to health records.

The lawsuit claims that Travis, who has since suffered a stroke and is unable to speak coherently, cannot defend himself and put the incident into proper context. The attorney general in Texas said that the video would be altered because Travis was nude. In denying the request, a judge found that Travis would be unlikely to win his case. A motion is likely forthcoming to the 5th Circuit in an effort to have that ruling stayed.

Marijuana charges could end your time in college

For many young people, college is a time of experimenting and learning through both real-world experience and classroom instruction. Many college students begin experimenting with mind-altering substances in college, including alcohol. Quite a few will also consider trying marijuana, often in a social setting like a party. For most college students, experimenting with alcohol and other drugs is harmless.

For a small percentage, however, getting caught while under the influence of drugs or in possession of them could have life-altering consequences. Students may hope to receive lenient treatment, but both campus safety and traditional law enforcement officers may choose to arrest and charge students for possession of even the smallest amount of marijuana. Those who get caught could find that a little experimentation could very well derail their plans for the future.

Federal drug trafficking sweep in Memphis results in 10 arrests

A joint law enforcement effort in Tennessee that lasted several months culminated in the arrest of 10 suspects between the ages of 27 and 59, all in the Memphis metropolitan area. According to press reports issued by the Memphis Police Department, the arrests were followed by arraignments in federal court where the suspects were informed of the felony drug charges filed against them.

Although all the arrests took place in Memphis, federal agents collaborated with state and municipal law enforcement officers across the western region of Tennessee as they investigated the alleged activities of a drug distribution network. A special agent from the Federal Investigation Bureau explained that the arrests were part of a larger effort to prevent the trafficking of narcotics and firearms in the state although there was no mention of any confiscations or seizures.

Drag racing leads to DUI, other charges for rap star

Fans of rap sensation Fetty Wap may be interested in knowing that the famous musician blew a .09 percent BAC reading during a traffic stop on Nov. 3. In Tennessee and other states across the nation, the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle is .08 percent.

According to news sources, Fetty Wap, whose real name is Willie Maxwell, is now facing a host of drunk driving and traffic charges following an alleged drag-racing incident in New York City. Mr. Maxwell was pulled over by a New York Police Department officer on the Gowanus Expressway shortly after 1 a.m. Reports indicate that the rapper was taken into custody after roadside sobriety tests were administered. Arraignment on the charges was scheduled to be held in Brooklyn later that same day.

Christopher McDonald charged with second DUI offense

Tennesseans who know actor Christopher McDonald of "Happy Gilmore" fame might be interested to hear that the actor was recently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol for the second time. According to law enforcement officials with the San Bernadino County Sheriff's Office, the incident happened in California on Oct. 28.

The California Highway Patrol took McDonald into custody at 9:27 p.m. following an incident in which his vehicle reportedly left the road and struck a gas meter. McDonald was later booked into the Big Bear Jail at 11:40 p.m. and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08 percent. The reports do not indicate what his actual BAC was, however.

Use care this holiday season to avoid shoplifting charges

Many stores count on the holiday season to boost revenue for the year. It is also a time when people flock to the stores to get gifts and necessities. Unfortunately, some people don't have the money to get the things they need. This might lead them to try to take things without paying, but doing this can result in criminal charges.

Shoplifting is a serious charge that can result in a your having a criminal record. You might not realize exactly what constitutes shoplifting, but not knowing isn't going to be a valid excuse for doing something that isn't allowed. Here's what you need to know as you embark on your holiday shopping.

Man facing 21 years without parole on drug charges

A Tennessee man is facing more than two decades in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to federal firearms and drug trafficking charges in October. Records indicate that the man has a raft of prior felony convictions for offenses including cocaine distribution, gun possession and assault. Police say that he was taken into custody in December 2016 just seven months after being released from a state prison.

According to police reports, the man was apprehended in connection with cocaine sales in a Nashville public housing development. It is believed that he stored the drugs he allegedly sold at his Antioch residence. Police say that the man eluded them when they arrived at his home on Dec. 6, but a subsequent search of the house is said to have yielded five ounces of cocaine, $15,000 in cash and a loaded handgun. The gun was later determined to have been taken during a 2013 burglary in Sumner County.

Two University of Tennessee football players face drug charges

On Oct. 25, two football players for the University of Tennessee were suspended from the team after they were cited for possession of marijuana. The two were reportedly charged after authorities conducted a traffic stop on their vehicle in Knoxville the previous evening.

Officers reportedly stopped the vehicle at about 10:46 p.m. because it had a headlight out. When officers approached the vehicle, it was noted that there was a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. The driver, a running back for the Vols, consented to a search of the vehicle after both players exited the car. During the search, officers stated that they found a substance that appeared to be marijuana and paraphernalia that was commonly used to smoke the drug.

Police arrest four gang members in Tennessee drug bust

According to law enforcement officers with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the 18th Judicial Drug Task Force from Sumner County, four alleged gang members were arrested at the Somatel Motel in Goodlettsville. The incident happened on Oct. 10 following an investigation that spanned several months.

Authorities allege that the four had been selling drugs in Middle Tennessee for several months. They allegedly sold them in public places such as shopping malls and parking lots. Officers report that they were able to take the men into custody without any incidents.

Why juveniles accused of sex crimes need attorneys

Because of the social stigma attached to sex crimes, those accused of these crimes are looked upon with a certain disgrace that does not accompany other crimes, even though they may be much more brutal and violent. For adults that are charged with sex crimes, the common notion is to lock them away so that the public will be safe.

But what about children and young adults charged with sex crimes?

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