CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
According to NeighborhoodScout, Nashville has one of the worst crime rates in the U.S. With a rate of 53.58 crime victims per 1,000 residents, the city is considered “safer” than only 3% of all other cities in the nation. In Nashville, your chance of being a victim of violent crime is 1 in 90, compared to 1 in 168 statewide in Tennessee.
Where there are victims, there are perpetrators, and perpetrators will likely get caught and charged. Unfortunately, too often the innocent will also be charged with a crime.
With so much at stake, you can’t afford to risk your future and personal freedom with an inexperienced legal team. If you’re facing criminal charges in or around Nashville, or anywhere in Davidson or Rutherford County, contact Brazil Clark, PLLC, immediately for a strong legal defense.
WHY HIRE A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY?
After you’ve been charged and arraigned, you will be offered the services of a public defender at no cost to you. While this sounds inviting — after all, it is free — you need to realize that public defenders, no matter how well trained or intentioned, constantly face a growing caseload.
It’s not uncommon that defendants find themselves as just one face among many when working with a public defender. These representatives typically do not have much time to devote to your case or work on developing a defense strategy. Oftentimes, the best you can hope for is a plea bargain, which is the quickest route for ending matters so that the public defender can move on to their next case.
In contrast, hiring your own criminal defense attorney can open up a full arsenal of defense tactics that can be used to challenge every charge you’re up against during the legal process. From the motives of the arresting officers to the substance of the prosecutors’ case and the veracity of the witnesses involved.
With an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, you may be able to get your charges reduced or potentially even dropped altogether before the matter goes to court. Regardless of what happens, you will have an attorney in your corner looking out for you and protecting your legal rights every step of the way.
MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES IN TENNESSEE
As in most states, the State of Tennessee breaks down its crimes into two main categories — misdemeanors and felonies. You may be wondering, what’s the difference? Tennessee classifies misdemeanors as Class A, Class B, and Class C, with Class A being the most serious.
CLASS A MISDEMEANORS
A Class A misdemeanor usually involves bodily injury or the threat of imminent bodily injury. A Class A misdemeanor can border on a felony, depending on the extent of the bodily injury and other circumstances.
For instance, in a bar brawl, Customer A punches Customer B and opens wounds on the victim’s face. This will likely be charged as a misdemeanor offense, but if Customer B falls backward and suffers a traumatic brain injury, it could rise to the level of a felony.
A Class A misdemeanor carries penalties of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
CLASS B MISDEMEANORS
A Class B misdemeanor involves some sort of physical contact that the victim deems “extremely offensive or provocative.” This could be as simple as a finger in someone’s chest done in a threatening manner or something more aggressive, such as a shove. Penalties can range anywhere from up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of $500.
CLASS C MISDEMEANORS
Class C misdemeanors, the least serious offense, involve crimes such as public intoxication and petty theft, and are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $50.
FELONY OFFENSES IN TENNESSEE
Felonies are classified as A, B, C, D, and E, with Class A being the most serious
Class A Felony - A Class A felony is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000. Aggravated rape, which is when rape is carried out using a weapon as a threat or that results in injury to the victim, is one example of a Class A felony.
Class B Felony - Class B felonies, such as aggravated burglary resulting in serious bodily injury, carry a maximum sentence of anywhere from eight to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Class C Felony - Class C felonies, such as aggravated assault, carry a sentence that can range from three to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Class D Felony - Class D felonies are punishable by anywhere from two to 12 years in prison along with a fine of up to $5,000. An example of a Class D felony would be the possession of marijuana between 10 and 70 pounds.
Class E Felony - Class E felonies, the least serious, carry possible sentences of one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000. An example of a Class E felony would be the theft of property worth more than $1,000 but less than $2,500.
THE CRIMINAL PROCESS IN TENNESSEE
A criminal case begins with an investigation and arrest. The steps that follow generally include:
THE PRELIMINARY HEARING
The preliminary hearing will be held within 10 days, but if you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you have the option of resolving the charge immediately at the General Sessions level. If you’re charged with a felony, you can request that the matter be presented to a Grand Jury composed of 13 citizens from the county where the incident occurred.
If you are charged as a result of the hearing or by a Grand Jury ruling, you will have the charges formally presented to you at your arraignment. At this point, you can request a public defender, or if you have already hired a criminal defense attorney, the court will determine if that person is qualified to represent you.
THE DISCUSSION DOCKET
At this point, you — the defendant — will enter a plea. If you opt for a guilty plea or to make a plea agreement, you may be sentenced right then, or a sentencing hearing may be scheduled. If you plead not guilty, a trial date will be set, which must be within 90 days if you’re still in custody, or 270 days if you’re out on bail.
At trial, the prosecution must prove to a jury of 12 of your peers that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This process is generally pretty straightforward and will give you the opportunity, along with your defense attorney, to present your defense.
If you are found guilty, a pre-sentencing investigation will be conducted by the Adult Parole Authority, after which you will be sentenced.
THE APPEALS PROCESS
If a defendant is convicted, he or she has the right to appeal the conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeals and then on to the Tennessee Supreme Court. You or your attorney can file a brief alleging prejudice, misconduct, or error of law in your trial.
The Court of Criminal Appeals, consisting of 12 judges who sit on three separate panels, will consider the brief, along with a counter-brief by the prosecution, and then render a decision. The case may be referred back to a lower court with further instructions, the verdict may be overturned for reasons of a serious error, or the proceedings and verdict may be left standing as they are.
If the appeals court rejects your brief, you can appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, but unlike the Court of Criminal Appeals, the high court is under no obligation to consider your petition.
WHY YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED DEFENSE ATTORNEY ON YOUR SIDE
If you’ve been charged with a crime, even a misdemeanor, your life as you know it may hang in the balance. If you’re convicted, it will go on your permanent criminal record, which can make it difficult to obtain employment and present other challenges, such as receiving public assistance. If you’re convicted of a felony, you can lose your right to vote and to own a firearm. Depending on the nature of the crime, you could even be facing a lengthy prison sentence
With so much at stake, you need to obtain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not even answer questions from the police, let alone the prosecutors. As you’ve heard many times on TV, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” Let your attorney do your communicating for you — and also protect your rights every inch of the way.
Brazil Clark, PLLC has spent years working with individuals in Nashville who have been charged with a crime. Whether they’re facing simple misdemeanor charges or more serious felony charges, the attorneys at Brazil Clark, PLLC have extensive experience inside and outside of the courtroom. Their legal team is prepared to provide you with aggressive criminal defense services and will do everything they can to pursue the best possible outcome for your case. So don’t wait. If you’ve been charged with a crime, call or reach out to Brazil Clark, PLLC today to schedule a case consultation.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
If you’re under investigation or have been charged with a crime anywhere in or around Nashville, Tennessee, or throughout Davidson or Rutherford County, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Brazil Clark, PLLC, as soon as possible. The earlier you obtain strong representation, the better your chances are at achieving a favorable outcome for your case. Call or reach out to Brazil Clark, PLLC today to schedule your own free case evaluation.