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Criminal Law

Bristol Criminal Defense Attorneys Stand Up for You

Aggressively pursuing your defense

Being arrested for any criminal offense dramatically impacts your life, so you need a skilled and knowledgeable attorney on your side. At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC, we have more than 75 years of combined legal experience. We know how to navigate the criminal justice system and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

The consequences of a criminal conviction

If you have been charged with a crime in Tennessee, you likely face prison time and costly financial penalties. Even if you avoid jail, a criminal conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life, making it difficult for you to find employment, buy a home or go to school. At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC, we understand what is at stake. We will work tirelessly to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. If necessary, we will zealously defend you at trial.

We routinely represent defendants in the Tri-Cities who are charged with:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Drug crimes, including possession, distribution and manufacturing
  • Violent crimes, including battery, assault and domestic abuse
  • Property-related offenses, including theft, burglary and embezzlement

The difference between felonies and misdemeanors

Tennessee characterizes offenses based on their gravity. Felonies are the most egregious offenses and carry punishments of at least one year in prison. Common felonies include kidnapping, rape, murder and arson. The most serious class of felony (capital crime) is punishable by life in prison or death.

Misdemeanors involve less serious crimes but are also divided into subcategories. The penalties range from 30 days in jail to just less than one year in jail. Monetary penalties start at $50 and increase to $2,500. Misdemeanors include  DUI, possession of marijuana and simple assault.

Defending a Bristol DUI

Tennessee aggressively prosecutes DUI offenses, which may be proven by a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher or other evidence of driver impairment (field sobriety testing, officer testimony, etc.). Even for first-time offenders, the consequences are significant. They include:

  • Incarceration for up to 11 months, 29 days
  • License revocation for one year
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol and drug treatment program
  • Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device at your expense

Our experienced criminal lawyers challenge the evidence against you by raising doubts about the reliability of the tests, the credibility of the arresting officer and the protection of your constitutional rights.

Dealing with serious drug crimes

Drug crimes can result in a wide variety of penalties, depending on the nature of the controlled substance and the offense. In addition to simple possession, Tennessee makes it illegal to:

  • Knowingly manufacture a controlled substance
  • Deliver a controlled substance
  • Sell a controlled substance
  • Possess a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell

Controlled substances are classified by their potential for abuse, utility in medical treatment and potential for dependency. The state imposes the most serious penalties for Schedule I substances that include heroin, LSD and methaqualone. Conversely, distribution of a small amount of marijuana (less than one-half ounce) is a Class A misdemeanor.

In drug cases, we will always investigate the circumstances of your arrest. If police did not follow the proper procedures to seize the drugs or obtain incriminating statements from you, the evidence cannot be used against you at trial.

Theft and robbery convictions

Under Tennessee law, theft is defined as knowingly obtaining or exercising control over property without the owner’s consent. Depending on the value of goods stolen, theft is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.  For example, theft of property valued at $500 or less is a Class A misdemeanor, while theft of property worth $60,000 or more is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Robbery, a more serious offense, is a theft committed by violence or putting the victim in fear. “Aggravated robbery” involves the use of a deadly weapon or results in serious injury to the victim. Robbery is a Class C felony in Tennessee, while aggravated robbery is a Class B felony. Because felony convictions carry very significant consequences, you should always consult an experienced Tri-Cities criminal defense lawyer if charged. We can help you evaluate all your possible defenses and come up with a strategy to successfully resolve your case.

Contact a respected Bristol criminal defense lawyer today

No matter how serious the charges, the criminal defense lawyers of Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC guide you through the criminal justice system. We clearly explain all your options and determine the best defense strategy for your case. Call us today at 423-201-4208 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.

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Our Office
  • Bristol Office
    777 Anderson Street
    Bristol, Tennessee 37620
    Phone: 423-797-6022
    Fax: 423-764-1179
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