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Clarksville Criminal Law Blog

2 teenagers accused of burglary, accidental shooting

Tennessee authorities have reported that two 15-year-old boys were taken into custody after they were involved in a burglary. One of the boys also reportedly caused the accidental shooting of a 14-year-old boy with a handgun that had been taken during the burglary.

The incident occurred on May 13. A woman received an alert on her phone that warned her and her daughter that the two teenagers had entered their home. She called the authorities as they watched the teenagers go through their belongings. However, an alarm that her phone triggered scared the two boys away before the authorities were able to arrive. Before leaving, however, the boys were able to take about $500 in cash, two iPads, the daughter's backpack and a loaded handgun.

Study shows mandatory ignition interlock laws save lives

State laws that require all drivers convicted of DUI to have ignition interlock devices in their vehicles are linked to a decrease in fatal drunk driving accidents, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Over half of U.S. states, including Tennessee, have mandatory ignition interlock laws.

For the study, researchers at two public health schools looked at the impact ignition interlock laws had on fatal drunk driving crashes from 1982 through 2013. They found that laws requiring all drunk drivers to install ignition interlocks led to a 7 percent reduction in fatal crashes involving at least one drunk driver.

Woman charged in connection with drunk driving crashes

A 32-year-old Tennessee woman is facing a raft of criminal charges including multiple counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment after she was allegedly involved in two impaired driving accidents in Kingsport on the evening of April 14. Police reports indicate that the woman was placed in custody after being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

According to Kingston Police Department records, the woman was traveling westbound on West Stone Drive at approximately 7:48 p.m. when she ignored a red light and struck a car that had been proceeding northbound on Gibson Mill Road. Eyewitnesses say that the woman then tried to flee the scene by heading north on Gibson Mill Road, but she was involved in another accident almost immediately according to police. The second accident left a Dodge pickup truck on its roof and prompted paramedics to transport its three occupants to an area medical facility for evaluation. The man and woman traveling in the first vehicle allegedly struck by the woman escaped without injury.

Tennessee begins campaign to reduce drugged-driving cases

Tennessee motorists may be interested to learn that on March 22, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and other agencies launched the "Stop Drugged Driving" campaign. This campaign is a response to a sharp increase in car accidents and fatalities that were caused by drivers who were operating their vehicles while impaired by drugs.

According to the director of the THSO, more car accident fatalities have been caused by drivers who were under the influence of drugs than by drunk drivers. In 2015, of the 962 fatal car accidents, 32 percent were caused by a drugged driver. Only 26 percent of the accidents involved a driver who was drunk. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations also tested blood samples from approximately 20,000 driving offenses from 2016 and found that 9,000 of the samples tested positive for drugs.

Tennessee teens share police chase on Facebook

Four teenagers in Memphis used Facebook Live to send streaming video of the police chasing them in a stolen vehicle. A representative from the district attorney's office gang unit said that they appeared to be making a movie out of their crime spree.

According to police reports, the four juveniles, whose ages ranged from 15 to 17, allegedly stole a car from a woman in Hickory Hill. At one point, one of the suspects reportedly pointed a gun at the woman when she saw them with her car. A police chase of the stolen vehicle ensued until one of its tires became deflated in front of a hotel on Mt. Moriah.

Colts defensive lineman facing DUI charge

Tennessee pro football fans may have heard that, on Feb. 25, Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman David Parry was taken into police custody in Arizona after he was accused of stealing a golf cart and driving under the influence. Shortly after taking the golf cart, he was accused of being involved in a hit-and-run after the cart collided with a gate.

Authorities stated that, at about 2:30 a.m., Parry and two other men asked a golf cart taxi driver to take them home. After the other two men exited the vehicle, the defensive lineman was accused of assaulting the driver and drove away in the cart. Authorities were then alerted to a hit-and-run, where they found Parry and the golf cart. When they arrived at the scene, the authorities stated that Parry appeared to be under the influence and was cursing at them as they took him into custody.

What happens when people are charged for the first time?

While getting charged with a crime is frightening for everyone, Tennessee residents who are facing criminal charges for the first time are often more frightened and feel overwhelmed. If you are facing a first-time offense, you are likely terrified about the possibility of jail or prison time, fines and other penalties.

Some first-time offenders may be able to participate in pretrial diversion programs. While these are not available to everyone, they are available to some first-time offenders who have committed certain types of offenses. With a pretrial diversion, your case may not be filed against you by the prosecutor. In exchange, you will need to agree to complete certain requirements or else the charges will be filed.

The problem with portable Breathalyzer tests

For many Tennessee residents who love to have some fun after work or on the weekends, it can be difficult to determine when they have had too much to drink. One way that some drivers are ensuring that they have not is to use a personal Breathalyzer.

While the portable Breathalyzer devices can encourage people not to drive if they have had too much to drink, an attorney who has tried hundreds of DUI cases stated that people could potentially rely on the device too much. For example, if a person tests themselves and comes up with a reading that is just under the legal limit, that reading will not hold up in court if they are pulled over.

Rare syndrome makes people drunk without drinking alcohol

Although auto-brewery syndrome is a rare condition, a few people in Tennessee might suffer from it. It is also known as gut fermentation syndrome and is more common in Japan than in the United States. When people with this syndrome ingest carbohydrates, excess yeast in the body transforms those carbohydrates into ethanol and can make a person behave as though they have been drinking alcohol. In New York, a woman's DUI charges were dropped when it was discovered she had the syndrome. Her blood alcohol level had been .40, and she was described as glassy-eyed and slurring her speech.

A 61-year-old Texas man who appeared to be drunk all the time was also found to be suffering from the illness. Like the woman, his blood alcohol content was .40. The man also reported being lightheaded and dizzy. Another man, who suffered with the disease for 20 years, described symptoms that included chronic pain and fatigue along with mood swings. People with the syndrome might even get alcohol poisoning.

Drunk- and drugged-driving rates have declined

Every year, many Tennessee motorists are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Fortunately, a report of data derived from a nationwide survey indicates that drunk- and drugged-driving rates have fallen since 2002.

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.1 percent of drivers reported that they had driven while drunk within the preceding 12 monts. While this percentage may seem high, it is substantially lower than the 15.3 percent of drivers who admitted to doing so in 2002. The percentage of drivers who admitted to driving while under the influence of drugs or while under a combination of alcohol and drugs also declined. In 2002, 5 percent of drivers admitted to drugged driving and 3.1 percent admitted to driving while they were under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. In 2014, those percentages had declined to 4.1 percent and 2.4 percent.