Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney

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Norman D. McKellar, Esq.

The National Trial Lawyers

THE ROLE OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS AND THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED

A criminal defense lawyer defends individuals and/or companies who are charged with a criminal offense and may deal with matters surrounding an arrest, investigation, trial, and previous criminal history, if any. Although charges and arrests do not legally indicate guilt, it is important to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible in order to ensure that the rights of the accused are promptly safeguarded.  Call us at (865) 566-0125 today for a free consultation.

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that anyone facing criminal charges will have the right to the assistance of effective counsel. Some of the reasons why it may be necessary to retain a criminal attorney are:

  • Legal defense involves complex procedures and guidelines that are difficult for those not experienced or educated in the law to navigate.
  • Sometimes mistakes are made during investigations and innocent people are accused.
  • Incorrect conclusions may lead to assumptions of evidence of guilt and the accused may not only be charged, but unfairly targeted.
  • Prosecutors might “over-estimate” crimes and mistakenly charge individuals based on erroneous facts, such as incorrectly calculating drug quantities or economic fraud loss and damage amounts.

Do you have questions about criminal defense? Call us today for a FREE consultation with an attorney. We can make sure your rights are protected. Call today!

The rights of the accused. The Constitution specifies a number of additional rights provided to defendants in criminal proceedings to ensure that legal actions are fair. A few of these rights include:

  • The Right to Remain Silent means that no one can force a defendant to speak or testify if the defendant reasonably believes that his/her testimony will contribute to his/her conviction of a crime.
  • The Right to Confront Witnesses allows witnesses to be cross-examined by the defendant or defendant’s counsel, thereby offering the defendant the opportunity to obtain potentially beneficial information or to reveal any discrepancies in the testimony (special rules apply for child sexual assault cases).
  • The Right to Have a Public Trial is a privilege that should not be minimized. It ensures the public’s access to court proceedings and may help ensure that the defendant’s rights are observed and upheld.
  • The Right to a Jury Trial applies to sentences that carry prison terms of six months or more and helps to ensure a fair trial by allowing a group of impartial of jurors to decide on the legitimacy of the charges and the outcome of the case.
  • The Right to Not Be Tried Twice for the Same Offense (commonly known as “Double Jeopardy”) protects defendants from being put on trial more than once for the same crime, unless the charge is filed under different authorities, such as state and federal courts.
  • Writ of Habeas Corpus maintains that detained individuals have the right to know why they are being held if the detention lasts more that a short period of time.
  • Search Warrants forbid the search or seizure of private property unless the proper authorities have obtained a warrant through “probable cause,” unless one of the well-defined exceptions is present.
  • No Excessive, Cruel or Unusual Fines or Punishments prevents excessive bail, fines, or “cruel and unusual” punishments to be imposed on defendants

Do you have questions about criminal defense? Call us today for a FREE consultation with an attorney. We can make sure your rights are protected. Call today!

 


Consult with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Rights. The most valuable attorney is the one who systematically knows the law and will be able to guide you in the right direction. A criminal defense attorney with the right amount of knowledge and experience will diligently concentrate on protecting your rights, the facts surrounding your case, and always act in your best interest.

If you are facing criminal charges or are currently under investigation for violation of a local, state, or federal criminal law, the decision in who will represent you is critical. You will need a skilled individual who will stand by you at trial, prepared to fight for you. Norman D. McKellar is such an attorney. He represents the accused nationwide and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

We can assist you with the following types of cases:

Federal Crimes

  • Tax Crimes The IRS is the most powerful collection agency in the U.S. Don’t get try to tackle tax problems without an experienced attorney.
  • Drug Crimes Some of the most severe punishments in the federal criminal system are found in violations of federal drug laws with multiple obstacles for the accused. Federal drug charges may negatively affect your finances, family, employment, and freedom.
  • Guns & Firearms Crimes The intended purpose of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment is interpreted and generally accepted as being a guarantee for individuals to possess and bear firearms and guns.
  • Sex Crimes No other crime in our society results in the strong, negative stigma and social scorn, as do sexual crimes. The mere allegation of sexual impropriety can often have disastrous and long-lasting negative consequences.
  • Health Care CrimesDeliberate, recurrent inaccuracies in providing or documenting treatment may result in unjustified profits apportioned to medical providers, which constitutes health care fraud.
  • Fraud & Economic Crimes Federal criminal law addresses a wide variety of economic crimes and fraudulent transactions.
  • Honest Services Fraud Honest services fraud involves a scheme to defraud the victim not of tangible property but of an intangible right: the right to honest services. This type of fraud can be either public or private.


State Crimes

  • Murder & Homicide Offenses Like all other federal and state jurisdictions, Tennessee classifies offenses based on the gravity of the crime.  Crimes that involve the death of another person are among the most serious in Tennessee.
  • Assault In Tennessee, offense levels for assault charges may range from misdemeanors to felonies resulting in penalties spanning a few days in jail or as much as fifteen years in prison and may include possible fines of up to $15,000.
  • Kidnapping & False Imprisonment False imprisonment is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine. Kidnapping is a Class C felony, punishable by three years up to fifteen years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $10,000 dollars.
  • Robbery Robbery is one of the most serious of all theft crimes and is punished as a felony in the state of Tennessee.
  • Sex Crimes To those charged with or being investigated for any of the sex crimes, act quickly to obtain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
  • Theft Crimes In Tennessee, offense levels for theft charges may range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class A felony, with any assessed fines depending on the monetary value of the property.
  • Driving Under The Influence (DUI) The crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is unique in that you can be found guilty based solely on the results of a chemical test or a police officer’s impressions. DUI charges are also often some of the most complicated criminal cases because of the relationship between the legal charge and the scientific evidence (i.e. blood tests and breathalyzers).
  • Cruelty To Animals According to this statute, a person can commit this crime based on various factors that vary depending on the animal and the circumstances.
  • Arson The state of Tennessee has specific codes and statutes regarding crimes of arson. The level of offenses range from minor misdemeanors to Class A Felonies. .
  • Burglary Tennessee state law specifies conditions that must exist for one to be charged with burglary and burglary-related offenses.
  • Drug Crimes The range of punishments for manufacture, sale, or possession with intent to deliver or sell a controlled substance will vary based on the type and amount of the drugs. Drug charges are very common and can have a terrible impact on a person’s life. Get help right away if you’ve been charged.
  • Patronizing Prostitution Few crimes have a more damaging impact on a defendant’s reputation and standing in the community than a charge for patronizing prostitution. The simple allegation can be harmful, and a conviction can be even worse for one’s family, job, and community relationships.
  • Weapons Or Firearms Although the Second Amendment provides rights for citizens to “bear arms,” the Tennessee Legislature has an abundance of laws governing the use of weapons and firearms. Some weapons are prohibited altogether. Others are prohibited in certain areas or zones. It can also depend on a person’s background or history.
  • Expungement According to Tennessee State Law, an expungement (also known as “expunction”) is the process by which public records of criminal conviction and/or arrest are removed by order of the court.  The records are considered non-existent, and the person who is the subject of the records may deny the full occurrence.

For a free consultation, please call me today at 865-566-0125.

Seven Things to Consider As you Search For An Attorney

First: beware of the “bargain” criminal attorney. If you needed open heart surgery, would you pick your surgeon based on who was the “cheapest”? Of course you wouldn’t! Even when it comes to selecting your attorney, price shouldn’t be your only concern. Although it’s tempting, it isn’t a good idea to choose your criminal defense attorney based solely on which lawyer charges the lowest fee. While an inexpensive price may look tempting, there are many more important factors which should be considered instead of simply picking the cheapest lawyer you can find.

Second: do you like the attorney you’re hiring? As unimportant as this consideration may appear, you have to consider whether the attorney you are hiring is someone with whom you feel comfortable standing by your side in battle.

The lawyer you choose to represent you should be someone you’re comfortable with, someone who is empathetic to your legal predicament, and someone with whom you feel you can be open and honest. Your lawyer is an individual who could make the difference between jail time or an acquittal; make sure you’re comfortable with whom you select to fight for you.

Third: how does the legal community view your attorney? When you’ve been charged with a crime, you want a criminal defense attorney whom the judges, assistant district attorneys or federal prosecutors, and those persons associated with them, generally like and/or respect. Oftentimes, other attorneys and people in the legal community are in a better position than you may be to evaluate a lawyer’s skill and effectiveness. Look for online reviews done by other attorneys, such as the ones found on Avvo.com.

Fourth: no attorney can guarantee an outcome. While you may be tempted to purchase shampoo if it comes with a money back guarantee, you should not hire an attorney based on a promise of results. In fact, if you hear an attorney tell you that they can guarantee a specific outcome for you, there’s simply one thing to do: run. Run as fast and as far as you can.

While a criminal defense attorney should promise you they will work as diligently for you as they can, or will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible, it is not reasonable for an attorney to promise a specific outcome. No attorney has a crystal ball which can tell the future, and every case stands on its own merits. Don’t be “sold” by an attorney promising you a particular result in your case.

Fifth: remember that time is NOT on your side. When you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, nothing positive happens in delaying the hiring of an attorney. If you wait to hire, your attorney’s ability to effectively represent you may be hindered. Witnesses disappear, evidence is lost, and sometimes the potential offers you may get from the Government worsen as time rolls on. While it’s natural to be hesitant when you first learn of pending charges or an investigation, delaying the commencement of your defense can truly make the already bad situation of being charged with a crime even worse.

Sixth: make sure you hire a criminal attorney. While this may sound silly, you must consider whether the attorney you’re hiring is truly a criminal defense attorney, who is devoting the majority of their law practice to criminal defense, or is a civil attorney who is attempting to expand their law practice in a tough economy to supplement their income.

While your Aunt Susie’s wills and estate attorney is probably a great person, and is probably excellent in the areas of wills, trusts, and estate planning, that doesn’t mean you want that person as your criminal attorney. Specifically, when hiring a criminal defense attorney, you don’t want to choose one that practices criminal law occasionally. Additionally, some criminal defense attorneys are highly skilled in certain areas of criminal defense while they may be less familiar in other areas of criminal defense. Make sure your attorney has experience and knowledge handling your particular type of case.

Seventh: write down the agreement. Regardless of which attorney you hire, make sure to insist on having a fee agreement, representation agreement, etc. in writing. Not only should you have the agreement in writing, but you want to make sure to carefully read that agreement before hiring an attorney to make sure it addresses important points, such as what else you’re expected to pay if your case goes to trial.

Here at the law firm of McKellar & Easter, we’re here to help. We truly hope the above information helps you determine the right attorney to represent you. Above all else, please know we’re here to help make this confusing, frustrating, and exhausting process more manageable. Make sure to take advantage of our free consultation offer today by giving us a call at (865) 566-0125.