Going on Your Permanent Record: the Juvenile Justice System

The Wilson County Criminal Justice Center in Lebanon.

           The term “juvenile” is sometimes associated with thoughts of immaturity, inexperience and curiosity. Juveniles often make mistakes from which they can learn, but may have lasting consequences. Thankfully, in Tennessee, there are ways to keep a juvenile’s criminal record confidential to prevent harm to their future.

            In Tennessee, an arrest as a juvenile should not show up on a background check. However, there is no guarantee that will not happen. Sometimes a simple clerical error can cause a juvenile arrest to show up on a background check. However, juvenile convictions, or guilty pleas, can show up on background checks. In order to prevent an arrest or conviction from showing up on a background check, a juvenile’s parents, guardian or attorney should ensure the juvenile’s criminal record is expunged, or “wiped clean” as soon as possible. Some offenses, such as sexual crimes or certain felonies, are not able to be expunged. For all others, records can be expunged as long as the juvenile meets certain criteria, such as not getting into trouble and making good choices for one year from the date the court entered the judgment.

            To have a criminal record expunged, a juvenile’s parents, guardian or attorney must petition the court on his/her behalf for an expungement. Most courts require an expungement fee to be paid before it can be finalized. Once the expungement order is signed, the juvenile’s parents, guardian or attorney should keep a copy of the order as they cannot obtain another copy in the future, if needed.

            Many people ask if a juvenile has to answer “yes” when asked if they have been convicted of a crime. The short answer is, an arrest is not a conviction and is confidential but a conviction may show up on a background check unless it is expunged. If the record has not been expunged, it’s usually best to answer “yes” and then explain the situation later. However, before you answer “yes”, it’s best to consult with a criminal attorney experienced in juvenile matters. At Kane & Crowell, our attorneys have experience dealing with matters of juvenile justice.  Contact us at (615) 784-4800 to learn more. 

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Hands-Free or Hands Off!

A woman uses a cell phone while driving           

          In 2018, drivers across Tennessee have at least one new law to be wary of.  Beginning January 1, it shall be a Class C misdemeanor to operate or talk on a hand-held cellphone while in a school zone marked by flashing lights.  This offense is punishable by a $50 fine. 

            However, adult drivers (18 or older) may operate a motor vehicle in a school zone and use a “hands-free” cell phone device. 

            Unfortunately for drivers under 18, they cannot use either a conventional cell phone or “hands-free” device while in a school zone. 

            These new laws supplement the existing laws regarding cell phones and driving, so texting and driving remains illegal. 

            Don’t get caught this year with your head in your apps.  Seems better to spend $50 in the App Store than on a traffic fine! 

            If you have a legal issue requiring representation in criminal matters, contact attorney Ashley Jackson at (615) 784-4800.

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Alimony Taxation: What you should know

        tax forms   

            Signed into law on December 22, 2017 the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” makes changes to the existing tax code.  One of the important implications for our clients is the changes to alimony. 

            Under the previous law, alimony was deductible by the spouse paying alimony (the obligor).  Alimony received was considered taxable income on the tax return of the spouse receiving the spousal support (the obligee).  Accordingly, such alimony was taxed as the oblige spouse’s income.    

            The 2017 Tax act now changes this law going forward.  For divorces after December 31, 2018, alimony paid cannot be deducted by the obligor spouse.  At the same time, the obligee spouse does not have to pay taxes on alimony received. 

            This is a marked change in the existing tax laws regarding alimony, which has been the norm for seventy-five years.  It is important to note that the new law only affects divorces entered after December 31, 2018. 

            If you have any questions about divorce or alimony, contact Angel Kane at (615) 444-8081. 

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New Year, New Laws Take Effect

The Tennessee State Capitol at night time

            Not only does January 1, 2018 bring in the new year, but also new laws as passed by the Tennessee Legislature.

            Barbers may now perform their services in a residence.  Prior to 2018, barbers could only render their services in a residence for a person who was ill.  However, to work in or out of a residence, barbers must possess a residential barber certificate. 

            A few changes take effect regarding school bus drivers.  Beginning in 2018, school bus drivers must be at least twenty-five years old, and all new school bus drivers must complete a training program prior to transporting any children.  The changes also create a transportation supervisor program, for the monitoring and supervision of local and charter school transportation. 

            Homeowners may cancel alarm contracts for periods longer than two (2) years, upon giving thirty (30) days’ notice to an alarm company, if the homeowner has to sell their home for medical reasons.  However, the cancellation must come after the initial two (2) year period, and the cancellation must include a letter from the homeowner’s treating physician explaining that the house must be sold and alarm system canceled due to medical reasons. 

            Individuals seeking handgun carry permits may be exempted from the firing range qualification component if they have proof they passed small arms qualification or combat pistol training in any branch of the United States armed forces. 

            For motor vehicles, headlights must be either white or amber.  It seems most stanard passenger vehicles will comply with this law.  However, driver’s may not modify their vehicle headlights to colors other than white or amber. 

            Most importantly, 2018 brings new penalties for cell phone usage in school zones.  Drivers using or talking on a handheld cell phone in a marked school zone when flashers are operating can be prosecuted for a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $50 fine.

            For more information about the new laws taking effect January 1, 2018, visit http://www.local8now.com/content/news/16-new-Tennessee-laws-come-with-the-new-year-466717603.html

            If you have a legal issue, contact the attorneys at Kane & Crowell Family Law Center at (615) 784-4800.  

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Have a Safe and Happy New Year's Eve

Partiers celebrate New Year's in Times Square

       Happy New Year from Kane and Crowell! New Year’s Eve is, arguably, the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s busiest weekend when it comes to 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. THP has announced the following roadblocks in our area:

·         12/29/2017 Macon County Driver’s License Checkpoint at Sneed Blvd @ Main Street

·         12/31/2017 Wilson County Sobriety Checkpoint at US 231 / LOJAC 2147 Murfreesboro Road

·         12/31/2017 Dekalb County Sobriety Checkpoint at SR 56 @ Putnam County Road

You can see all other announced checkpoints here: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/safety/documents/dec2017_checkpoints.pdf

If you plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve in downtown Nashville, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department is offering free sober rides from 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 2 a.m. New Year’s Day from pickup locations at Broadway and 2nd Avenue South and 4th Avenue North and Harrison Street near Bicentennial Mall.  Find more information on the sober ride program here: http://www.wsmv.com/story/37152963/sheriffs-office-employees-offering-free-sober-rides-on-new-years-eve

  If you drink this New Year’s, don’t drive.  If you find yourself in a situation that requires legal assistance, call us at (615) 784-4800.  We wish you a safe and happy 2018! 

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