Kane & Crowell

The official blog of Kane & Crowell, a Lebanon, Tennessee Law Office.

Legislature Passes Cell Phone Access Law in Domestic Violence Cases

            On April 3, 2018, the TN legislature officially passed House Bill 2033, which allows victims of domestic abuse to request a court grant access to the victim’s cell phone plan, even if they are not the account holder. 

            The bill, introduced by Rep. Jim Coley, allows a victim of domestic violence to ask that the issuing court direct that the victim’s phone company transfer billing responsibility and account rights to the victim when that victim is not the account holder.  The victim may ask for such an order when initially seeking an Order of Protection or when making a separate request of the court. 

            If granted, the Court will order the victim’s phone service provider to transfer account responsibility to the victim of the victim’s phone number and the phone numbers of any minor children in the victim’s care.  Once transferred, the victim gains all rights of the account holder, but is responsible for the payment of the account.      

            Presumably the legislature’s intent in enacting this law was to enable victims of domestic violence to gain control over their cell phone accounts, when the alleged abuser is the primary account holder.  The law should also help domestic violence victims by making it easier for such victim to cancel an existing phone number and get a new phone number to prevent unwanted contact from the abuser. 

            The bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives this week.  The bill had previously passed unanimously in the Senate in February. 

            According to 2016 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation statistics, 78,100 domestic violence incidents were reported to Tennessee law enforcement agencies during the preceding year.  If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have options.  Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-7233 or your local law enforcement agency.

            If you seek legal representation regarding divorce or child custody in conjunction with a domestic violence matter, contact the attorneys of Kane & Crowell Family Law Center at (615) 784-4800.   

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Notable Tennessee Bills - 2018 Legislative Session

 

            As of present, the Tennessee Legislature is in session, and there are a number of interesting bills that have been proposed and await debate, voting and eventual enactment or abandonment.  In today’s blog post, we take a look at some of these bills that could eventually become law. 

            House Bill 1698 is certainly a bill to watch over the next few weeks, as it could result in notable changes to Tennessee DUI laws.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Hulsey (R – Kingsport) and Rep. Frank Nicely (R-Strawberry Plains), would give criminal judges across the state the discretion to ban those convicted of DUI from purchasing alcohol.  Upon first offense conviction, the judge would have the discretion to bar alcohol sales to the defendant for one year.  Upon a second conviction, a judge would have the discretion to bar alcohol sales to the defendant for two years.  The bill originally gave a lifetime ban of alcohol sales upon an individuals third conviction for driving under the influence, as well as made the sale of alcohol to those convicted and barred from purchasing alcohol a Class C misdemeanor.  This bill was revised by Rep. Michael Curcio (R – Dickson) to remove the lifetime ban and the Class C misdemeanor punishment to sellers of alcohol.  The bill is currently before the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee.  If passed, it could become law as soon as July 2018.    

            House Bill 1862 is an important bill for criminal defendants who enter into pre-trial diversion.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Shelby), Rep. William Lamberth (R-Sumner), Rep. Karen Camper (D-Shelby), and Rep. Barbara Cooper (D-Shelby), would reduce the cost of expungement for a criminal offense upon successful completion of pre-trial diversion, from $350 to $180.  This bill would make it easier for defendants to have their pre-trial diverted offenses expunged and removed from their record, and ideally, less likely to suffer adverse consequences as the result of having a criminal record. 

            House Bill 2068 would create a new class of criminal offenses related to the false and improper marketing of alcohol and drug treatment services.  Unfortunately, Tennessee has struggled with the spectre of opioid abuse, and as a result a wide variety of treatment programs (both legitimate and illegitimate) are advertised in the state.  This bill, sponsored by Rep. Harold Love (D-Davidson) and Rep. Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) would create criminal offenses for the false or misleading advertising of alcohol and drug treatment facilities or giving or receiving financial incentives or benefits for being referred or referring individuals into such an alcohol and drug treatment facility.  Such laws are undoubtedly designed to prevent opportunistic companies using questionable marketing tactics from taking advantage of individuals suffering from alcohol or drug dependency.  The laws range in severity from Class A misdemeanors to Class E felonies. 

            These bills are only but a few of the many bills presently making their way through the House of Representatives and Senate.  For more information about these bills, or other bills of the 110th Legislative Session, visit http://www.capitol.tn.gov/ or https://legiscan.com/TN/trends

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New TN Laws – Will They Affect You?

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As of July 1, 2017, several new laws went into effect in Tennessee. Do any of the new laws affect you?

  • Penalties for being a convicted felon in possession of a gun can be increased, depending on the previous felony.
  • If you file for retroactive child support, you can only be awarded the prior 5 years’ child support unless the court finds good cause that another award is proper.
  • The offense of the unruly act of illegal use of a telecommunication device has been created. Watch what you do on your cell phone!
  • Don’t publicly release the residential address of a police officer. It’s a Class B Misdemeanor if negligent and a Class A Misdemeanor if intentional.
  • Property owners can put purple paint on their trees to serve as a no trespassing sign.

Read more here on all of the laws:

133 new Tennessee laws take effect July 1

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