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Tag: Criminal Law

New Year’s Eve Safety

We wish you a Happy New Year from Kane and Crowell! New Year’s Eve is, arguably, the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s busiest weekend for patrolling and ensuring safe driving. Every year, THP conducts multiple roadblocks around the New Year holiday. Some of these roadblocks are announced ahead of time, and some are not. Hopefully this information will help you maintain New Year’s Eve Safety.  Just in time, the THP has announced the following roadblocks in our area:

Criminal Law

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Know Before You Post: Social Media, Search Warrants and Your Case

At Kane & Crowell, Attorneys at Law, we emphasize the significance of social media in legal cases. Your online posts can become evidence, just as you can use others’ posts in your case. Accessing these posts, especially deleted or hidden ones, often requires complex steps. Ideally, capturing screenshots or images of relevant posts is essential. For inaccessible posts, you may need a subpoena or court order.

Criminal Law, Kane & Crowell

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Tennessee Small Claims Court

We receive several calls a day regarding Tennessee Small Claims Court.  The Court most people are referring to when they call about this is the General Sessions Civil Court. General Sessions Civil Court hears matters involving damages totaling less than $25,000.00. Therefore, often, this Court will handle evictions, contract disputes, property disputes, minor car accidents, and the collection of debts owed.

The number #1 question we are asked about small claims court, ‘is do I need an attorney?’

I usually reply, ‘How much are you being sued for?’

Hiring an attorney can be expensive—no doubt about it. Hopefully, the attorney you are considering hiring has spent many years in the courtroom and many years studying the law. These skills are invaluable, especially if the person on the other side of the dispute has an attorney.

But back to my main question – If you were to lose, how much would you be out? Because as much as you may want a lawyer by your side in small claims court, sometimes it’s simply not cost-effective.

Should I hire an attorney for Tennessee Small Claims Court?

If you are being evicted with only $1000.00 in the bank, consider whether you should spend your last $1000.00 on an attorney. If you have failed to pay rent, there is probably very little an attorney can do for you.  Other than possibly bide you some additional time to move out.

On the other hand, if a Contractor has failed to build something for you as agreed upon. Furthermore, you have spent $10,000.00 on that project, and most often, the only way to get your money back is to sue in General Sessions Court. Hiring an attorney to pursue your action is worth the cost in times like these.

Unlike many courts, however, General Sessions is not a court of record. This means that should you win or lose, within ten days, the other side or yourself can appeal the matter to a higher court.

Contact us with questions about hiring an attorney for Small Claims Court at

Criminal Law, General Sessions Court, Small Claims Court

Preliminary Hearing or No Preliminary Hearing? That is the Question …

Every criminal case commenced in General Sessions court in Tennessee includes the following. Whether it is Theft of Property, a Drug case, DUI, Assault, or any other such crime (felony or misdemeanor), offers the Defendant the option of having a Preliminary Hearing. Though such a hearing may look like a trial to a layperson, it is not.

A Defendant charged with a criminal offense in Davidson, Wilson, Smith, and Macon Counties is given a few options on what to do with his case.  Depending on the seriousness of the charge

Felonies, crimes involving more serious charges, can only be tried in Criminal court, either by the Judge or a jury. This is after the case has been presented to the Grand Jury and an indictment has been returned. The remaining options available consist of entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor.  Or having or not having a Preliminary Hearing.

At the Preliminary Hearing

During a Preliminary Hearing, witnesses will be called by the State and cross-examined by Defense counsel, similar to a trial. However, there are fundamental differences. First, the District Attorney is not required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as in a trial. During a preliminary hearing, he only needs to establish probable cause exists.   This means proving a crime probably occurred and that the Defendant probably committed it). A standard that is comparatively easy for the D.A. to meet.

Second, since the burden is lower, the potential ramifications for the Defendant at the hearing are not as stringent. Finally, after the Preliminary Hearing, there is no sentencing hearing or jail time to be served. Instead, the judges typically bound the charges to the Grand Jury to determine whether an Indictment should be returned. Though the charges can be dismissed after a Preliminary Hearing, it’s uncommon due to the reduced legal standard.

Why would you want a Preliminary Hearing?

The advantage of holding a Preliminary Hearing is to force those alleging a crime has been committed to testify, under oath,.  And explain knowledge of the alleged crime and the Defendant’s involvement, if any.

By doing so, the Defendant has “locked down” valuable testimony.  Therefore, this precludes any subsequent changes in testimony at a later jury trial. If a witness changes his or her story at the subsequent trial, valuable inferences can be drawn. Thus, the witness’s truthfulness. The Defendant who waives his right to a Preliminary Hearing does so at his peril as it is the only opportunity he will have to confront his accuser before a trial on the merits is held.

A Preliminary Hearing, therefore, becomes a very important tool for your criminal defense attorney. This tool can assist your attorney in preparing and presenting your defense.

We are experienced Criminal Defence Attorneys.  If you are facing criminal charges, contact us at

Criminal Law, General Sessions Court, Preliminary Hearing