Month: August 2014

Uber is now in Knoxville!

Uber is a great car service that is not only easy to use and convenient, but could also reduce the number of Knoxville DUIs.  Thats because, with the Uber app on your phone, you can summon a comfortable ride to your exact location, see where your car is while its on its way there, and get dropped off, with much less time and hassle than with a cab company.  You don’t even have to have cash or a credit card.  Just save your card information in the app and when its time to get out, payment is automatic.  There is no financial transaction with the driver at all.

Here’s Uber’s announcement e-mail:

Uber Knoxville Announcement

I’ve been a big fan of Uber since I first used it at a DUI conference in Denver, CO with a group of lawyers.  Instead of staying at the hotel or packing into taxis, our host got on his phone and in minutes a black suburban showed up ready to take us all to Elway’s Steakhouse, where no one had to worry about having a glass of wine or a couple of cocktails, because another Uber SUV was always going to be only a few minutes away.

Knoxville is a college town and its full of parties, bars,  get togethers, and opportunities to make a bad decision and drive from one place to another.  If Uber can catch on with the university crowd, it could really cut down on the number of drivers who shouldn’t be on the road on Friday and Saturday nights.  Not that DUIs are reserved for UT students.  Uber will have plenty of potential customers all over Knoxville.

Try out Uber this weekend, or if you don’t choose a designated driver or call a traditional cab service. The Barnes Law Firm is dedicated to DUI defense and serving those who have been wrongfully charged or just made a bad decision, but we still would far prefer if you all stay safe and don’t have to deal with a DUI, or worse, at all.

Have a great weekend.  Go Vols!

Why Simple Possession Isn’t So Simple in Tennessee

Marijuana Plant
Cannabis Seedling Marijuana

Marijuana laws around the country are changing.  Recreational marijuana is legal in Washington and Colorado; medicinal marijuana is legal in 23 states; and attitudes about the use and danger of marijuana have changed from people on Main Street to the main stream media.  BUT the law in Tennessee remains the same.  Possession of even a small amount of marijuana is a serious crime.  Punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.  While its true that most low level marijuana offenders do not end up incarcerated, there are still serious consequences if a simple possession charge isn’t taken seriously and handled properly.

Convictions for simple possession, with only a few exceptions, are forever.  A conviction, even one that carries no jail time and only a fine, will land you on probation for the year and stay on your permanent record forever.  The only ways to avoid that fate are:

  • Don’t get convicted in the first place

This is the best option as it can keep you from spending time on probation, paying expensive fines and court costs, and being at risk for being thrown in jail if anything goes wrong.  Even if you acknowledge the fact that you did have marijuana in your possession, there are often other issues that an experienced criminal defense lawyer can identify that could keep you from being convicted.  Often times there are ways around a conviction that you could never know about from researching online or even showing up to court.  The only and best way to know if avoiding a conviction is possible is to talk to a lawyer who regularly handles marijuana possession cases.

  • Bargain for a judicial diversion under T.C.A. §40-35-313 (or rarely a pretrial diversion)

If you’ve never been convicted of a class A misdemeanor for which you served time, or any felony in Tennessee, you are likely eligible for a judicial diversion.  Judicial diversion means you sign a guilty plea but the court does not enter it.  Instead it puts the plea in the file and leaves it there for 11 months and 29 days.  If during that time you abide by all the conditions of probation and pay your fines and costs, the case will be dismissed and, for a fee of $450, can be expunged from your record.  Even if you are eligible for a diversion, you are not entitled to one.  You have to get the agreement of the prosecutor and the approval of the court first.

  • Expungement

If you are convicted of a simple possession and you have no other convictions anywhere in the country and if you wait 5 years from the end of your sentence (usually a total of 6 years from you conviction), you may be able to have the conviction removed from your record.  To do so you will have to file a Petition and get the consent of the District Attorney’s office and the approval of the court, as well as pay the required fees.  This process, like a diversion, is not a matter of right.

If you have been cited or arrested for simple possession, give the Barnes Law Firm and call and find out how we can help.  Using an experienced marijuana and drug charge attorney can save you a lot of hassle, money, and other serious consequences in the long run, and it probably is not even as expensive as you might imagine.  So call us at (865) 999-0294 today.