CRIMINAL defense attorney KNOXVILLE

Each day, hundreds of people are arrested and charged with various crimes in the state of Tennessee. Often, an arrest can simply be the result of poor judgement, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or just simply being placed in a bad situation. Regardless of the circumstances, the long-term effects of an arrest are generally influenced by whether or not an individual charged with a crime has retained a competent, experienced, and dedicated attorney to help them through this difficult time in their lives.   

DUI Attorney in Knoxville, TN

Criminal Lawyer Concord TN


Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-401, it is illegal for “any person to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads….while; the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is eight-hundredths of one percent (0.08%) or more.” The costs associated with even one DUI conviction can be substantial, and they can have a lasting impact on a person’s life from both financial and social perspective.

Penalties for First DUI Conviction

DUI is a serious crime in the state of Tennessee, even for first-time offenders. Each DUI conviction carries with it a minimum sentence that must be served in the county jail. For first -time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08% but less than .20%, the minimum jail sentence imposed on the offender is 48 hours with the maximum being 11 months and 29 days. Moreover, first time offenders can expect to pay a fine of $350 to $1500 and have their driver’s license revoked for one year with eligibility for a restricted license.  

Penalties for Second and Third DUI Convictions

The penalties for a DUI conviction increase in severity if the offender has previous DUI convictions. This enhancement applies to the minimum jail sentence the offender must serve, the fines the driver has to pay, and the amount of time the offender’s driver’s license will be revoked. The jail sentences, fines, and periods of license suspension for an individual’s second and third DUI convictions are listed below:

Second DUI Conviction

  • 45 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail
  • $600 to $3,500 in fines
  • Driver’s license revoked for 2 years

Third DUI Conviction

  • 120 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail
  • $1,100 to $10,000 in fines
  • Driver’s license revoked for 6 years

In addition to jail time, fines, and license revocation, individuals with multiple DUI convictions can be forced to pay court costs, complete an alcohol and drug treatment program, and forfeit their vehicle.  

Why do I Need a DUI Attorney?

The penalties for a DUI can affect all areas of an offender’s life, which is why obtaining the services of an experienced DUI attorney is always advisable if you are charged with a DUI. A DUI attorney can evaluate the strength of the evidence gathered against you, determine whether or not the arrest was legal, and negotiate a lenient sentence with the prosecution. If you are facing a DUI charge, call the law office of Paul Hensley for a free consultation to find out what an experienced DUI attorney can do for you.   

Underage Consumption of Alcohol

As parents and productive members of society, we understand that alcohol should not be in the hands of those that are under the age of 21, but children and young adults make mistakes, many of which are centered around the consumption, possession, and distribution of alcohol.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-3-412(a)(3)(A) states “It is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one (21) years to have in such person’s possession or to consume any intoxicating liquor or beer for any purpose, whether the same be possessed or consumed in a dry county or a wet county.” It is important to understand that this statute prohibits not just the consumption of alcohol by a minor but also, the possession of alcohol by minor.

Can Underage Consumption be Removed from My Record?

Underage consumption or possession of alcohol is considered a Class A misdemeanor und

er Tennessee law. The courts have a number of options available with respect to the sentence imposed on the offender, but one of the most important factors considered in these cases is the offender’s age.

The offense is approached and prosecuted differently for minor offenders, those under the age of 18, as opposed to adult offenders, those over 18 but not yet 21 years old. The good news is that in most cases both adult and minor offenders are eligible to have this blemish removed from their record. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can assist with bringing your case to a fair conclusion and having the offense removed from your criminal record.

Public Intoxication Lawyer in Tennessee

Every day Americans go to work, pay their bills, and take care of their children. So, it is only normal for responsible adults to want to go out and have a few drink with the small amount of free time they do have, but as with so many things in life, drinking responsibly is a requirement under the law. This includes refraining from drinking enough alcohol to be charged with public intoxication.  

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-310, states that a person commits the offense of public intoxication, if the offender appears in a public place under the influence of an intoxicating substance to the degree that:

  • The offender may be endangered
  • There is endangerment to other persons or property
  • The offender unreasonably annoys people in the vicinity

The public intoxication statute covers most scenarios of public drunkenness, and often, the offender might not even be aware that they are committing a crime. Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 30 days in the county jail, a fine of up to $50, or both, but most offenders are more concerned with having to explain their mistake to future employers. At the law office of Paul Hensley, we work with our clients to see if the charge against them can be dismissed or if adjudication can be deferred in their case, which will shield an individual from having to explain their charge to most employers.  

Knoxville Drug Possession Lawyer  

In Tennessee, it is a crime to “knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of professional practice,” pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-418. Unlike other states, the type of controlled substance is not a factor when charged with simple possession under Tennessee law, except in the case of marijuana and methamphetamines.

This means that an offender will face the same type of charge and potential sentence in most cases, regardless of the type of controlled substance they had in their possession. For first time offenders, possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance is considered a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in the county jail, a fine of $2,500, or both.

Simple Possession of Marijuana

Marijuana is treated a little differently than most controlled substances under Tennessee law. Normally, it becomes harder and harder to defend someone against a charge of possession of a controlled with intent to sell, when the offender has a large amount of a controlled substance in their possession. The reason being, the amount of the controlled substance in the offender’s possession surpasses what would normally be considered an amount for personal use only.

With marijuana, however, Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-418(b), defines the personal use amount as a half-ounce or less. Possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana is still considered a Class A misdemeanor. Yet, offenders can be found with a rather large amount of marijuana, when compared to other controlled substances, and still be charged with simple possession, assuming that there is not evidence of intent to sell and the offender does not have a previous criminal record.

Possession of Methamphetamine

Possession of methamphetamine is viewed harshly under Tennessee law. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-418(c)(2)(A) states “with respect to any amount of methamphetamine shall be punished by confinement for not less than thirty (30) days, and the person shall serve at least one hundred percent (100%) of the thirty (30) day minimum.”

This means that possession of any amount of methamphetamine will result in a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail under Tennessee’s sentencing guidelines, as opposed to jail time simply being a possible sentence. In addition to jail time and possible fines, those convicted of simple possession could have to complete a drug offender program or community service.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia can generally be defined as any object used to store, distribute, or consume a controlled substance that is not authorized under law for medicinal purposes. The broad statute used to define drug paraphernalia, Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-425(a), is written in such a way that it allows almost anything to be categorized as drug paraphernalia, if the prosecution can provide evidence that proves that the object was used in connection with a controlled substance and the object was not authorized under law for medicinal purposes.

Moreover, possession of drug paraphernalia is classified as a Class A misdemeanor that carries with it a potential sentence of 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. Possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance are two charges that are usually brought at the same time. Both charges carry serious sentences, and the variations of the sentences imposed for these charges demonstrate why having an experienced criminal defense attorney is so important.

If you are facing drug possession charges, don’t gamble with your future. Paul Hensley is a criminal defense attorney with over 20 years of experience, who will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in connection with your criminal matter. So take the first step in getting through this stressful time in your life and call our office today for a complimentary consultation.

Theft Laws in Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-103(a), states that a person commits the crime of theft of property if “with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner’s effective consent.” Like most states, the value of the property stolen determines the type of theft charge, felony or misdemeanor, brought against the offender. Moreover, the value of the property stolen will determine the class of the offense, which can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class A felony.

This classification system based on the value of the stolen property also determines the sentence that an offender could face for a single theft of property charge. For example, if an offender stole property that was valued at a $1,000 or less, they could face up to 364 days in the county jail and fines of up to $2,500. In contrast, if an offender stole property that was valued at $250,000 or more, they could face 15 to 60 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000.

Tennessee Assault Crimes

Assault is broad term that can be used in multiple circumstances under Tennessee law. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-101(a), a person commits assault when they:

  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
  • Intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

So, an offender can commit assault by intentionally threatening someone, causing bodily injury to another person, or making physical contact with an individual that would be considered extremely offensive or provocative.

Most forms of simple assault are charged as a misdemeanor offense ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. However, certain aggravating factors can cause the charge to be upgraded to aggravated assault, which is a felony.

Assault and Theft Attorney in Knoxville, TN

Assault and theft charges can carry serious consequences that can impact an offender’s life forever. At the law office of Paul Hensley, we have been assisting people faced with assault and theft charges for decades. So don’t wait. Call today for a free consultation and see how a knowledgeable assault and theft attorney can help you.     

Related Articles

Other Practice Areas