Search Site
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 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.

Contact us

Please fill out the form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

Quick Contact Form

Our Office
  • Bristol Office
    777 Anderson Street
    Bristol, Tennessee 37620
    Phone: 423-797-6022
    Fax: 423-764-1179
  • "Myers Massengill II has represented me for the last four years in my original divorce case and in subsequent returns for other issues..." "  -Shirley Schultz

  • "When we were in crucial need of both knowledge and competency due to a legal situation, Mr. Myers Massengill of this firm spent the time we needed..."  -Geoff Stunkard

  • "Throughout my two years working with Mr. Massengill, I was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy..."  -Debbie Compton

  • "Mr. L. Carter Massengill handled my case with the utmost courtesy, efficiency and professionalism... "  -Karla Jolene Leybold

  • "Mr.Carter Massengill and staff most respectful and nicest people to help quickly resolve your legal issues and with a positive outcome..."  -Brandon Thorpe

  • "Carter's assistance in navigating the complicated path through the Disability appeals process was instrumental in her approval. We can't thank him enough."  -Scott S.

  • "Thank you for helping me win my case. "  -Jenna.

  • "I am very pleased with the service from Myers and his staff. Very professional and personable at the same time . I felt like my case mattered to them . I would highly recommend their services (and a special thank you to Pam guys have been so helpful)"  -Rhonda.

  • "Carter Massengill did an excellent job helping me with my disability. He did a great job along with his assistant Sandra. Honest and helpful people to deal with. I would definitely recommend him."  -Patty.

  • "Attorney Carter Massengill is hands down one of the most trustworthy and genuine individuals you will ever meet. Rest assured that you are in good hands and that he is going to do everything in his power to take the best care of you and your case, along with expediting the process as quickly as possible. It's rare that an attorney possesses such great attributes in the sense that he is easy to talk to and when he says he is going to get something done, he does it! His office staff is the best. They know their clients and have excellent communication skills. It helps when you are going through a difficult situation. They are a great team and you would be very fortunate to have them represent you! We were able to settle out of court for exactly what we were asking for and this was with me having pre existing pain from fibromyalgia. I am extremely blessed to have hired such a wonderful attorney."  -C.M.