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July 2013 Archives

Consensual Encounter Can Occur on Private Property

Consensual encounters between police officers and citizens, which do not require probable cause or reasonable suspicion, may occur in public places or on private property. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Moore, M2012-02059-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-25-2013) a DUI second offense conviction was affirmed on appeal, in a case where the initial interaction between the investigating officer and the Defendant began in the driveway of the Defendant's home.

Consensual Encounter Can Occur on Private Property

Consensual encounters between police officers and citizens, which do not require probable cause or reasonable suspicion, may occur in public places or on private property. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Moore, M2012-02059-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-25-2013) a DUI second offense conviction was affirmed on appeal, in a case where the initial interaction between the investigating officer and the Defendant began in the driveway of the Defendant's home.

Consensual Encounter Can Occur on Private Property

Consensual encounters between police officers and citizens, which do not require probable cause or reasonable suspicion, may occur in public places or on private property. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Moore, M2012-02059-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-25-2013) a DUI second offense conviction was affirmed on appeal, in a case where the initial interaction between the investigating officer and the Defendant began in the driveway of the Defendant's home.

Do 'no refusal' drunk driving checkpoints lower fatalities?

Drunk driving is a big problem for everyone on the roads. It is a massive danger for not only the drunk driver themselves, but also for everyone else on their daily journeys. Holiday periods in the United States are usually celebrated by everyone. Here in Tennessee, as elsewhere, there are usually a significant number of drunk driving cases over these periods, causing many problems and accidents.

Circumstantial Evidence Supports Probable Cause

In Tennessee criminal cases, circumstantial evidence is as good as direct evidence, as long as it is convincing. Circumstantial evidence can support probable cause for arrest. In the recent case of State v. Seay, M2011-02769-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-16-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals determined the circumstantial evidence that the Defendant had been driving a vehicle on a public road while his license was canceled, revoked or suspended was sufficient to support the Defendant's arrest, which then led to the discovery of cocaine in a pill fob attached to the Defendant's key ring.

Circumstantial Evidence Supports Probable Cause

In Tennessee criminal cases, circumstantial evidence is as good as direct evidence, as long as it is convincing. Circumstantial evidence can support probable cause for arrest. In the recent case of State v. Seay, M2011-02769-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-16-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals determined the circumstantial evidence that the Defendant had been driving a vehicle on a public road while his license was canceled, revoked or suspended was sufficient to support the Defendant's arrest, which then led to the discovery of cocaine in a pill fob attached to the Defendant's key ring.

Circumstantial Evidence Supports Probable Cause

In Tennessee criminal cases, circumstantial evidence is as good as direct evidence, as long as it is convincing. Circumstantial evidence can support probable cause for arrest. In the recent case of State v. Seay, M2011-02769-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-16-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals determined the circumstantial evidence that the Defendant had been driving a vehicle on a public road while his license was canceled, revoked or suspended was sufficient to support the Defendant's arrest, which then led to the discovery of cocaine in a pill fob attached to the Defendant's key ring.

Incorrect License Tag Creates Reasonable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion that a person may have committed a crime or be in the process of committing a crime is necessary before a person can be detained (nonconsensually) by law enforcement for even a brief investigation. Reasonable suspicion must be based upon articulable facts. A detention or seizure, which occurs unlawfully, may invalidate evidence obtained as a result of that illegal seizure. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Seay, M2011-02769-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-16-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals noted that having the wrong license tag on a vehicle does create reasonable suspicion for further investigation.

Incorrect License Tag Creates Reasonable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion that a person may have committed a crime or be in the process of committing a crime is necessary before a person can be detained (nonconsensually) by law enforcement for even a brief investigation. Reasonable suspicion must be based upon articulable facts. A detention or seizure, which occurs unlawfully, may invalidate evidence obtained as a result of that illegal seizure. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Seay, M2011-02769-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-16-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals noted that having the wrong license tag on a vehicle does create reasonable suspicion for further investigation.

Incorrect License Tag Creates Reasonable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion that a person may have committed a crime or be in the process of committing a crime is necessary before a person can be detained (nonconsensually) by law enforcement for even a brief investigation. Reasonable suspicion must be based upon articulable facts. A detention or seizure, which occurs unlawfully, may invalidate evidence obtained as a result of that illegal seizure. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Seay, M2011-02769-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-16-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals noted that having the wrong license tag on a vehicle does create reasonable suspicion for further investigation.

Tennessee drunk driving charge a result of failure to yield?

A Tennessee woman may have learned an important lesson about how to react to flashing lights -- especially if those lights are on a police car. The police vehicle was originally responding to a report of a burglary that came in shortly after 12 a.m. on the second Wednesday of July. If the call wasn't cancelled for the officer -- and if the 32-year-old woman had followed a basic driving rule instead of ignoring it as alleged -- she might not be facing a drunk driving charge now.

Tennessee will crack down on drunk driving in the future

Drunken driving is a serious offense. No matter where you live, who you are or what you drive – DUI is against the law. Now, recent changes on the state and national level may mean as many as 3,000 additional driving under the influence convictions in the state of Tennessee each and every year. Changes in the way evidence is collected in drunk driving cases is predicted to increase the number of convictions taking place annually. These changes are set to go into effect later this month.

Community Care Taking Encounter is Objectively Reasonable

Community care taking is one of the functions of law enforcement. A police officer performing a community care taking function needs no additional objective justification (reasonable suspicion or probable cause) for an encounter with members of the public. Community care taking encounters are considered consensual. A police officer may approach a car parked in public and ask for driver identification and proof of registration without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. A police officer may also check on a distressed driver. In the recent case of State v. Lowe, M2012-01741-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-5-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found it reasonable for a police officer to open the door of a vehicle to check on a possibly distressed driver.

Community Care Taking Encounter is Objectively Reasonable

Community care taking is one of the functions of law enforcement. A police officer performing a community care taking function needs no additional objective justification (reasonable suspicion or probable cause) for an encounter with members of the public. Community care taking encounters are considered consensual. A police officer may approach a car parked in public and ask for driver identification and proof of registration without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. A police officer may also check on a distressed driver. In the recent case of State v. Lowe, M2012-01741-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-5-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found it reasonable for a police officer to open the door of a vehicle to check on a possibly distressed driver.

Community Care Taking Encounter is Objectively Reasonable

Community care taking is one of the functions of law enforcement. A police officer performing a community care taking function needs no additional objective justification (reasonable suspicion or probable cause) for an encounter with members of the public. Community care taking encounters are considered consensual. A police officer may approach a car parked in public and ask for driver identification and proof of registration without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. A police officer may also check on a distressed driver. In the recent case of State v. Lowe, M2012-01741-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-5-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found it reasonable for a police officer to open the door of a vehicle to check on a possibly distressed driver.

Tennessee man gets 30 years for vehicular homicide

It can be agonizing awaiting the sentencing for being responsible for a fatal accident. A person accused of a horrific crime such as this faces severe consequences. Recently, a Tennessee man was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges of vehicular homicide in connection with a hit-and-run accident that took the lives of three people.

Appellate Court Reverses Exclusion of Evidence

Evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest is generally not admissible at trial. If evidence was obtained as a result of a defendant's arrest, and there is reason to challenge the legality of that arrest, this is an issue which should be determined by the trial court before the trial of the case. For an arrest to be legal, there must exist, at the time of the arrest, probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime for which a person may be arrested. In the recent case of State v. Kennedy, M2012-00755-R10-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 6-28-13), a trial court had excluded evidence obtained as a result of the defendant's arrest for second offense driving under the influence (DUI). However, on an interlocutory appeal by the state, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court ruling due to the trial court applying an incorrect legal standard, and remanded for reconsideration of whether there was probable cause for arrest.

Appellate Court Reverses Exclusion of Evidence

Evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest is generally not admissible at trial. If evidence was obtained as a result of a defendant's arrest, and there is reason to challenge the legality of that arrest, this is an issue which should be determined by the trial court before the trial of the case. For an arrest to be legal, there must exist, at the time of the arrest, probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime for which a person may be arrested. In the recent case of State v. Kennedy, M2012-00755-R10-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 6-28-13), a trial court had excluded evidence obtained as a result of the defendant's arrest for second offense driving under the influence (DUI). However, on an interlocutory appeal by the state, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court ruling due to the trial court applying an incorrect legal standard, and remanded for reconsideration of whether there was probable cause for arrest.

Appellate Court Reverses Exclusion of Evidence

Evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest is generally not admissible at trial. If evidence was obtained as a result of a defendant's arrest, and there is reason to challenge the legality of that arrest, this is an issue which should be determined by the trial court before the trial of the case. For an arrest to be legal, there must exist, at the time of the arrest, probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime for which a person may be arrested. In the recent case of State v. Kennedy, M2012-00755-R10-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 6-28-13), a trial court had excluded evidence obtained as a result of the defendant's arrest for second offense driving under the influence (DUI). However, on an interlocutory appeal by the state, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court ruling due to the trial court applying an incorrect legal standard, and remanded for reconsideration of whether there was probable cause for arrest.

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