Speeding or Traffic Ticket? Talk to a Lawyer!

No matter where you are driving in the United States, one constant exists: Drive over the Speed Limit and you are probably going to receive a ticket.  These tickets that are administered by various law enforcement agencies are meant to levy punishments against the driver as a form of deterrence.  These punishments normally include: fines/court costs; potential points/infractions on one’s driving record; required attendance to a driving school and a potential increase in insurance premiums.  Public safety is the main reason for deterrence, and these Speeding tickets (along with other traffic citations) serve as a way to help prevent accidents and keep folks safe on the roadways.

Frequently, however, individuals who receive Speeding tickets (and other traffic citations) choose not to get a lawyer and instead handle the case on their own (or pro se.) While there is nothing legally (or ethically) wrong with the handling of a traffic ticket oneself, a lawyer should know the procedures and local rules of a jurisdiction where the ticket may be docketed (and potentially help obtain a favorable outcome).  Additionally, a lawyer should be able to advise the driver about any potential point increase on their driving record and other risks associated with just “paying off a ticket.”  “Paying off a ticket” is equal to being found guilty of the alleged traffic infraction. 

Commercial Drivers (those having Commercial Driver’s Licenses or C.D.L.) also need to be extremely careful as states (such as Tennessee) are cracking down on these special license holders.  C.D.L. drivers should always consult with a lawyer before handling any Speeding ticket or traffic citation because such offenses could potentially lead to disastrous consequences for the C.D.L. holder.

If you receive a Speeding ticket or any other traffic citation please contact a knowledgeable lawyer to help advise you on the situation.  Furthermore, if you receive a Speeding ticket or traffic citation in Tennessee please feel free to contact the lawyers of Oberman & Rice.  With over 80 years combined experience, the law partners of Oberman & Rice are ready to answer your questions about any ramifications a Speeding ticket may have on your driving record.  Our lawyers may be contacted by calling (865) 249-7200 or by email at and of the following: az@tndui.com, sara@tndui.com or oberman@tndui.com.      

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Labor Day Weekend 2019: Sobriety Checkpoints Planned for East Tennessee

Drivers in East Tennessee need to be mindful during the upcoming Labor Day Weekend while driving to the lake for one more weekend of “fun in the sun” before the summer ends and football time begins! Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers and other law enforcement agencies will be out in force in most of the East Tennessee area this Labor Day weekend ensuring that motorists are not driving while impaired or committing traffic violations.

The 2019 holiday enforcement period begins Friday, August 30, and will include several sobriety checkpoints in the following East Tennessee counties: Union, Campbell, Monroe and Sevier. For a full list of checkpoints please click here.

The DUI defense lawyers at Oberman & Rice are always willing to help those who may find themselves being arrested at one of these checkpoints or being cited for a traffic violation. If you or a loved one find yourself in need of a skilled trial lawyer, please make sure to contact one of our three law partners 24/7 at (865) 249-7200 or by visiting www.tndui.com.

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New Tool to Aid Law Enforcement in D.U.I. Enforcement

Many road warriors across the country know that if you drink too much alcohol and operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway you may be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (D.U.I.). A lot of drivers are not aware that a D.U.I. charge may also arise out of the use of prescription medication and/or the use of marijuana (even if legal in your state to consume). The issue for law enforcement, however, is how to test for medications and marijuana traces from the person suspected of committing a D.U.I. based on the consumption of drugs alone and not alcohol (while not obtaining a blood sample). Law enforcement agencies have long implemented the use of a portable breath test device to detect the presence of alcohol on a suspect, but now- a new tool has been adopted by law enforcement agencies to combat drivers who are suspected to be impaired by drugs.

According to a recent U.S.A. Today article, the new tool for law enforcement agencies is a portable “lab” that can test the oral fluids of the alleged D.U.I. offender through a simple swab of the suspect’s mouth for saliva. The device is called the Dräger DrugTest® 5000. The device is supposed to determine if the driver has any traces (in their saliva) of drugs including, but not limited to: amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, and cannabinoids. As of the publishing of the U.S.A. Today article, law enforcement agencies in several cities have already implemented the device in the field.

Presumably, the use and science behind this new tool for law enforcement will be challenged in a court of law (much like the alcohol portable breath test device has been for years). Please remember if you or someone you know has been charged with a D.U.I. alleging alcohol or drug impairment, make sure to call and speak with one of our attorneys at the Oberman and Rice Law Firm. The Obermand and Rice Law Firm can be reached 24/7 at (865) 249-7200 or by email at oberman@tndui.com, sara@tndui.com or az@tndui.com.

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Don’t Drink and Scoot

On July 1, 2019, several new laws and modifications of current Tennessee DUI laws were implemented.  The first we will discuss (with more updates to follow on this blog) refers to all of the scooters that have become common place in most major downtown areas in Tennessee.  In downtown Knoxville, for example, you cannot walk a block without seeing these scooters available for rent.  In case you are not familiar with these scooters, one such company called Zagster has released these scooters for rent and places many of them around busy areas hoping for people passing by to rent one to travel (or scoot) around the city.  It is hard pressed to not see at least one person zooming along the street or sidewalk on one of these devices. 

The new law, mentioned above, aims to eliminate the problem of impaired people renting these scooters by making such an action punishable under Tennessee’s DUI laws.  As this recent article on WKRN states, these electric scooters will be considered motor-driven vehicles.  This language is important because under Tennessee’s DUI laws, the operator must be in physical control of a motor-driven vehicle to be arrested for a DUI.  As we have discussed previously on this blog (and at our website- www.tndui.com), if convicted of a DUI you face some of the following punishments: mandatory jail time (up to 48 hours on a First Offense); fines; required attendance of a Drug Education Course and a loss of your Tennessee driving privilege. 

Please remember that over this holiday weekend if you decide to enjoy the festivities in an area that allows for these scooters to be rented, please do not drink and scoot.  You may find yourself being placed under arrest for a DUI!  If you’ve been charged with Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee while on one of these scooters, operating a boat or while driving in your vehicle, please contact the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.  We are available 24/7.

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THP set to combat distracted drivers with “Operation Incognito”

Drivers on the roads throughout Tennessee who are preparing for the Holiday Season need to be mindful as the Tennessee Highway Patrol initiates “Operation Incognito”. The campaign started on November 11 and plans to run through November 17.

The initiative’s goal is to combat distracted driving (texting while driving, etc.) on the roads of Tennessee. As THSO Director Vic Donoho states, “The primary focus of Operation Incognito is to reduce distracted driving, serious injury traffic crashes, and fatalities.”   Additionally, THSO Director Vic Donoho goes on to say that some secondary goals of “Operation Incognito” will be for the Tennessee Highway Patrol to saturate construction zones and attempt to increase driver’s awareness for utility maintenance zones.

The DUI defense lawyers at Oberman & Rice are always willing to help those who may receive any traffic citations during the Operation Incognito campaign and beyond. Traffic violations (if convicted) can add points to your driver’s license and cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket. Before you pay off a traffic citation and receive a conviction, it is important to discuss with a lawyer any potential penalties and consequences. Please review our website for more information or call us with questions at (865) 249-7200. Our lawyers are available 24/7.

 

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Tennessee Highway Patrol Planned Checkpoint For Labor Day 2018

Motorists in Knoxville need to be mindful during the upcoming Labor Day Weekend while driving to the lake or local pools to celebrate the “unofficial” end of summer. Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers will be out in force this Labor Day weekend ensuring that motorists are not driving while impaired or committing traffic violations.

The 2018 holiday enforcement period begins Saturday, September 1, and will include a sobriety checkpoint at East Emory Road at Longmire in Knox County, Tennessee.  Other checkpoints are scheduled throughout September for the East Tennessee area. For a list of all planed checkpoints in September please click here.

The DUI defense lawyers at Oberman & Rice are always willing to help those who may be falsely accused, but we’d prefer that the readers of this blog not place themselves in a position to be suspected of driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Please review our website for more information or call us with questions at (865) 249-7200.

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Fourth of July Holiday and Fireworks

With the Fourth of July Holiday quickly approaching, it is important to take a step back from the lake adventures and cookouts to think of our great country and how many of our forefathers fought and persevered for our country’s Independence around 242 years ago. As with every Fourth of July Holiday, the city of Knoxville will have a celebration (rain or shine) that culminates with Fireworks (free to the public) starting around 4:00 p.m. and the Fireworks to be deployed around 9:45 p.m. Information regarding the celebration may be found here.

All of us love fireworks (except for maybe our four-legged family members). Please remember that the City of Knoxville prohibits the possession, transportation, storage, manufacture, sale, handling and discharge of fireworks without a permit from the Fire Marshall (See the Knoxville Tennessee City Code of Ordinances, Section 11-5 through 11-7). Furthermore, violation of this City Ordinance is a Misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.00 and/or 30 days in jail for each separate offense (See the Knoxville Tennessee City Code of Ordinances, Section 1-9; General penalty- continuing violations). In other words, shooting (even simply handling) fireworks without a permit in the City of Knoxville can lead to criminal prosecution that may result in a criminal conviction on your criminal public record that may hinder your ability to obtain a job or your ability to receive a scholarship for college/higher education. Additionally, Knox County (outside the city limits of Knoxville) does not allow the shooting/possession of fireworks.

The criminal defense lawyers at Oberman & Rice are always willing to help those who have been arrest or cited for a criminal offense. Our lawyers are available 24/7 to answer questions regarding an arrest or citation for any criminal offense. Please review our website for more information or call us with questions at (865) 249-7200.

 

 

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Restoration of Driving Privileges For HMVO Offenders

Three years from the date of a final order declaring a person an Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender, the person may file at petition seeking restoration of his or her driving privileges.  The petition may be filed with the court who entered the HMVO order or any criminal court in the person’s county of residence.  Although the law indicates a mandatory minimum 3-year period for the driver’s license revocation of an HMVO offender, upon the expiration of the 3 years, the offender is not permitted to drive in Tennessee.  The Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender must first obtain permission from a court and take the necessary steps thereafter to have his or her license reinstated by the Tennessee Department of Safety.

The court may, in its discretion, restore the person’s driving privilege and may also require.  The court may also order terms and conditions relating to the issuance of the habitual offender’s driver’s license.  The habitual offender is further required to meet all requirements of the Tennessee financial responsibility (insurance) law.

Although the law indicates a mandatory minimum 3-year period for the driver’s license revocation of an HMVO offender, upon the expiration of the 3 years, the offender is not permitted to drive in Tennessee.  The Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender must first obtain permission from a court and take the necessary steps thereafter to have his or her license reinstated by the Tennessee Department of Safety.  If the persons drives before completing the appropriate procedures, the HMVO offender may be subjected to criminal penalties.

If you have immediate questions about the Tennessee HMVO law, please feel free to the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.

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Tennessee HMVO Violation Penalties

Once a person is declared an Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender, the penalties for driving are quite severe.  The person is prohibited from driving in Tennessee while the HMVO judgment or order prohibiting driving is in effect.  If found operating a motor vehicle, the HMVO offender commits a Class E felony.  No traffic or criminal violation is required for an HMVO violation–the only requirement is that the person be found to be operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee.

If convicted of the felony offense of Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender, the person may be sentenced to serve one to six years imprisonment and be subjected to a fine not exceeding $3,000.00.

If you have any questions about the Tennessee HMVO law or other Tennessee criminal offenses, please contact the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.

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How To Be Declared a TN Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender

The Tennessee Department of Safety is tasked with keeping records of convictions of the HMVO qualifying offenses.  Once the records reveal that an individual has accumulated the appropriate number of convictions (3 within 5 years or 5 within 10 years), the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety shall furnish this record to the district attorney’s office in the district where the individual either resides or may be found.

Once the district attorney’s office receives the record, they have a duty to file a petition against the individual in the court of general criminal jurisdiction.  However, a record from the TDOS is not required before a petition may be filed.  After the petition is filed, the court must issue an Order directing the individual (defendant) named in the petition to appear in court to show cause why the person should not be barred from operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee.

If, following the proper procedures and findings, the court finds that the defendant is an habitual offender, the court shall then issue an order prohibiting the defendant from operating a moron vehicle in Tennessee.  The defendant is further required to surrender his or her driver’s license once declared an Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender.  The defendant is prohibited from driving under a court restores his or her driving privileges, and in no case may this restoration occur less than three years from the initial HMVO order date.

Please visit our blog in the coming days for discussions on the steps to have driving privileges restored and the criminal penalties associated with an HMVO violation.  Should you have any questions about the Tennessee Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender law, please feel free to the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.

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