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September 2013 Archives

Tennessee woman arrested for second drunk driving offense

The mistake of driving under the influence is one that an unfortunate number of Tennessee residents make. Some become part of such a situation one time and learn from their choices, while others may face multiple drunk driving charges before understanding the seriousness of their decision to drink and drive. More severe punishment also comes with repeat offences, and those who make a mistake more than once may want to consider exploring their legal options.

Smell of Alcohol is Reasonable Suspicion for DUI Investigation

Reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is generally necessary for a police officer to use authority to compel a warrantless stop or detention of an individual. In the recent Tennessee case of State v Wessels, M2012-01969-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-20-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that a police officer who claimed to smell alcohol on a driver had reasonable suspicion to detain the driver after a traffic stop to conduct a DUI investigation.

Smell of Alcohol is Reasonable Suspicion for DUI Investigation

Reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is generally necessary for a police officer to use authority to compel a warrantless stop or detention of an individual. In the recent Tennessee case of State v Wessels, M2012-01969-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-20-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that a police officer who claimed to smell alcohol on a driver had reasonable suspicion to detain the driver after a traffic stop to conduct a DUI investigation.

Smell of Alcohol is Reasonable Suspicion for DUI Investigation

Reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is generally necessary for a police officer to use authority to compel a warrantless stop or detention of an individual. In the recent Tennessee case of State v Wessels, M2012-01969-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-20-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that a police officer who claimed to smell alcohol on a driver had reasonable suspicion to detain the driver after a traffic stop to conduct a DUI investigation.

Drunk driving charge brought against man after 2-car collision

Although a person may be driving under the influence that does not necessarily mean that the violator is responsible for a car accident that may have occurred. On Sept. 19 the Tennessee Highway Patrol arrested a 19-year-old man for drunk driving and underage consumption. They had been called to an accident at the intersection of Lafayette Road and Highway 374. The suspect was driving a Honda Civic, which struck the passenger side door of a minivan that was trying to make a left turn from Highway 374 to Lafayette Road, the police report said.

Post-Conviction Limitations Not Tolled by Lack of Knowledge

There is a one year statute of limitations in Tennessee for filing a petition for post-conviction relief (challenging the constitutionality of the underlying conviction) from a final judgment in a criminal case. There are statutory and due process exceptions to strict application of the limitations period in cases where circumstances beyond a petitioner's control prevented the petitioner from having a reasonable opportunity to file a claim within the limitations period. However, lack of knowledge of the basis of a claim does not create such an exception, where the basis for the claim has not been concealed. In the recent Tennessee case of Onate v. State, M2013-00531-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-28-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling that a petition was untimely, where the petitioner asserted he had not been made aware of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea in time to file a petition within the limitations period.

Post-Conviction Limitations Not Tolled by Lack of Knowledge

There is a one year statute of limitations in Tennessee for filing a petition for post-conviction relief (challenging the constitutionality of the underlying conviction) from a final judgment in a criminal case. There are statutory and due process exceptions to strict application of the limitations period in cases where circumstances beyond a petitioner's control prevented the petitioner from having a reasonable opportunity to file a claim within the limitations period. However, lack of knowledge of the basis of a claim does not create such an exception, where the basis for the claim has not been concealed. In the recent Tennessee case of Onate v. State, M2013-00531-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-28-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling that a petition was untimely, where the petitioner asserted he had not been made aware of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea in time to file a petition within the limitations period.

Post-Conviction Limitations Not Tolled by Lack of Knowledge

There is a one year statute of limitations in Tennessee for filing a petition for post-conviction relief (challenging the constitutionality of the underlying conviction) from a final judgment in a criminal case. There are statutory and due process exceptions to strict application of the limitations period in cases where circumstances beyond a petitioner's control prevented the petitioner from having a reasonable opportunity to file a claim within the limitations period. However, lack of knowledge of the basis of a claim does not create such an exception, where the basis for the claim has not been concealed. In the recent Tennessee case of Onate v. State, M2013-00531-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-28-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling that a petition was untimely, where the petitioner asserted he had not been made aware of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea in time to file a petition within the limitations period.

Tennessee police arrest woman for drunk driving

A 28-year-old woman is facing several vehicular charges. She has been charged with violation of the due care law and drunk driving. The arrest came about after she had slammed her car into an official utility vehicle. The woman was held on a $2,000 bond in a Tennessee jail.

Certified Question of Law Must be Dispositive to be Reviewable

Tennessee has a procedure under which a certified question of law may be reviewed on direct appeal even when a criminal defendant has pled guilty. But the requirements for properly preserving a certified question of law are strictly construed. It is not uncommon for Tennessee appellate courts to decline review due to concluding the requirements have not been met. There is generally no right of appeal from a guilty plea. In a conditional guilty plea where a party seeks to reserve a right of appeal of a particular legal issue, one of the primary requirements is that the issue be dispositive of the case. In the recent case of State v. Thomas, E2012-01956-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-30-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals declined review of a certified question of law regarding the constitutionality of a local ordinance, concluding the issue was not dispositive of whether the vehicle stop in question was reasonable.

Certified Question of Law Must be Dispositive to be Reviewable

Tennessee has a procedure under which a certified question of law may be reviewed on direct appeal even when a criminal defendant has pled guilty. But the requirements for properly preserving a certified question of law are strictly construed. It is not uncommon for Tennessee appellate courts to decline review due to concluding the requirements have not been met. There is generally no right of appeal from a guilty plea. In a conditional guilty plea where a party seeks to reserve a right of appeal of a particular legal issue, one of the primary requirements is that the issue be dispositive of the case. In the recent case of State v. Thomas, E2012-01956-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-30-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals declined review of a certified question of law regarding the constitutionality of a local ordinance, concluding the issue was not dispositive of whether the vehicle stop in question was reasonable.

Knox County driver charged with aggravated vehicular homicide

A recent three-car crash on a Knox County roadway left one person dead and several adults and children injured. One driver is facing charges that include aggravated vehicular homicide. Responders had to close down the John Sevier Highway in the area of Austin Park Lane for hours as they extricated patients and investigators sought to determine what happened that evening. Though road conditions weren't specified, the initial police report indicates that the driver who allegedly caused the crash may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, had drug paraphernalia with him, and his driver's license had been revoked.

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