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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It's a BLOODY mess, I tell ya!

Prosecutors scramble for “more time”, in hopes for the Tennessee Supreme Court granting Certiorari and overruling a recent ruling of the Court of Criminal Appeals Decision (Eastern Tennessee Division) in State of TN vs. Rosemary Decosimo.

In a landmark case, causing anxiety from Memphis to Johnson City, TN… The Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a ruling in State vs. Decosimo declaring the Statute on DUI’s Blood Draw TennCodeAnn section 55-10-413(f) “unconstitutional” in violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

There hasn’t been this much talk since the TBI analyst was caught a few years ago tampering with blood samples.  But this case explains “why” he would do that… (a question I have always pondered upon).

There has been an administrative “fee” of $250 that has paid to the TBI on every blood draw in Tennessee (that leads to a conviction).  If the DUI was Nolled, dismissed, Reduced, or retired… then the fee was NOT owed (and NOT paid).  The fee itself went “straight” to the TBI crime lab, and was used for various upgrades, etc.   It did not go to the General Fund.  And the court declared that the process of charging a "fee" for convictions (in other words... charging a fee for cases that it is proven by the blood test that someone has a blood alcohol content of .08% or more) is one that cannot be "trusted".  They, in a sense, found that the process was "tainted" and created "bias".  (And one can see why when you realize it was over 22 Million Dollard over a 12 year period).  ... That ain't no Chump Change!

The state contends that any possible bias on the part of the forensic scientists can be offset by procedural safeguards, such as independent testing of samples, a thorough cross-examination of the forensic scientist at trial, or a jury instruction addressing the credibility of the TBI forensic scientists.   (I have even heard DA’s say they will just “not charge the fee”) in order to get around the ruling. 

But the Court of Criminal Appeals declined to agree with the State’s Argument. They specifically said that “those safeguards” fail to remedy the due process violations resulting from the fee system itself.   They went on to say that “because the state has the duty to pursue truth and justice, it has an obligation to provide an accurate, unbiased BAC result, not a result that is deemed correct until disproved by the defendant.”

Thus… because TennCodeAnn 55-10-413 violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Article I, Section 8 of the Tennessee Constitution, they remanded the case back to the trial court and reversed the decision of the Trial Court (which had denied a Motion to Suppress the blood).

If you have had your blood taken by the TBI Crime Lab, before you just "take a plea"... call me!

David Ridings, Nashville DUI Attorney.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Theft Statute Changes January 1, 2017

So... Most people don't realize this... but January 1 the legislature put into effect the new grading of theft in Tennessee.   It used to be that theft of 500 dollars or more was a felony.  Now....they have raised that threshold to $1000.  So anything UNDER $1000 is a misdemeanor now.

Here is how the grading looks in the statute.

(a)  Theft of property or services is:
  • (1)  A Class A misdemeanor if the value of the property or services obtained is one thousand ($1,000) or less;
  • (2)  A Class E felony if the value of the property or services obtained is more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) but less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500);
  • (3)  A Class D felony if the value of the property or services obtained is two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000);
  • (4)  A Class C felony if the value of the property or services obtained is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more but less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000);
  • (5)  A Class B felony if the value of the property or services obtained is sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) or more but less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000); and
  • (6)  A Class A felony if the value of the property or services obtained is two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or more.

Just remember... the law changes frequently. Call David Ridings, Nashville's Criminal Defense Lawyer, if you need help on a criminal charge.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

0.30 BAC - Really drunk... but "Driving"?

0.30 BAC - Really drunk... but "Driving"?

David Glenn Ridings

Practice Area:  DUI/DWI



Facts based upon actual case.  The events described herein, actually occurred.

Defendant (an admitted relapsed alcoholic) drinks heavily, enters a local restaurant, eats, and calls his AA sponsor to come get him. As he leaves the establishment, the employees notice how intoxicated he is.  The defendant, having called his AA sponsor, decides to wait in his car, and talks on the phone.  He turns the car on to plug in the phone and use the charger.  And... he waits for his "ride".   Charging the phone required the keys to be in the ignition. (for future reference... always a BAD idea to wait in your car if you are intoxicated. Especially in the drivers seat).

Police are called by the concerned employees in the restaurant, and police respond. Defendant's sponsor who was 40 minutes away... arrives, literally, 21 seconds after police arrive. The officer wasn't even out of the car yet. And, in spite of the explanation of the defendant and the sponsor, the man is arrested and blows a .30% BAC.

Now... I know... that is REALLY intoxicated. But at the same time, he had NO intention of driving. The evidence showed he waited for nearly 40 minutes for the ride to arrive... which was a crucial fact for the district attorney.  In the end, that fact saved the day for this client.

His case had been set for trial, but was dismissed on trial date prior to the trial commencing.

Case dismissed.

Note: While not adviseable every time... this client cooperated with every test. He took all standardized field sobriety tasks (SFT's) and agreed to a breath test.  He did that because he felt like he would be exonerated later due to the fact that he was not driving, nor did he intend to drive.  People ask me all the time if they should have submitted to the SFT's and/or the Breath or blood tests.  And, while there is not a "standard" answer as to whether or not to take the SFT's or Breath/Blood tests... the submission to the tests in this case worked well for the defendant.  My usual response to taking very subjective tests is "no".  But that is not true in every case.  The reason for that, however, is because the tests are so "subjective"... meaning, different officers or people could interpret the same test results differently.

In the end, it is always best to consult an experienced Nashville DUI Lawyer if charged with a DUI.  You should interview and select the best Nashville DUI Attorney that you can find in order to help you with your case.  Had this defendant not done that, the outcome would have certainly been different.

Call Nashville DUI Attorney David Ridings anytime for a free consultation. 615-851-1888

Click here for client reviews of Nashville Criminal Attorney David Ridings

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lowering the Blood Alcohol Limit to .05% for suspected DUI Drivers

By: Nashville DUI Lawyer David Ridings

So... it is all over the news of late. Lowering the "legal limit" from .08% to .05%. But is it a good idea?
Will the new trend sweep the nation? More specifically, will Tennessee lower the Blood Alcohol Limit to .05% for suspected DUI drivers?
The answer may just likely be... "yes". In any event... the answer should be just around the corner.
I would expect a Bill to be introduced on the floor of the Tennessee House and/or Senate addressing just that issue... and I expect it very soon.

Now, what is the likelihood that it will pass? And, what is the likely "effect" it will have on the community (good and/or bad).

I have been in this business since the late 1980's, and I have been on every side. I have almost a decade of experience as a police officer and made hundreds if not thousands of arrests (many of which were for DUI). Followed by a short stay at the District Attorney's Office prosecuting cases, including DUI. And, I have been practicing law for almost 15 years at this point, and my primary focus is DUI Defense law. But, as "jaded" as some think I may be, I think personally I am well "rounded" on my opinion. I have seen the negative effects first-hand as a police officer. I have watched as someone literally died in front of me as a result of drinking and driving. But the "legal limit" in my humble opinion would not have changed that death.

When I started the police force making DUI arrests, the Blood Alcohol Limit that created a "legal presumption" of intoxication was 0.10%.
Not long ago, the Tennessee legislature voted in a law that "lowered" that legal limit to .08%. When they did that... did it "really" lower the number of deaths caused by intoxicated drivers?
There are arguments on both sides of that issue. But, personally, I do not think that it did.

I also do not think that lowering the limit to .05% will make a difference in the number of related deaths, although I can see the argument.

What it WILL do is this... It will lead to MANY more arrests. And, I think it will lead to arrests of persons that do not even "appear" intoxicated, based solely on the "smell" of an intoxicant. (Even though the smell of an intoxicant is in no way attributable to the level of intoxication).

While I certainly do not advocate for drinking and driving... I do advocate for the constitutional rights of citizens of this great country.

Look at the number of DUI arrests today. In Davidson County, alone, there are nearly 5000 DUI arrests each year. If the limit is lowered to .05%, you can expect that number to nearly double in my opinion.
And, when that happens, the justice system that prosecutes DUI offenses could nearly grind to a hault. It will most certainly bog the system down considerably.

All I can say for certain is this...
Life is about to be very good for a DUI lawyer.

What do you think?

Should you be charged with a DUI... you need EXPERIENCE. Contact Nashville DUI Attorney David Ridings today for a free consultation.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

God, Guns, & Government

As we sit, still numb from the sight of another tragic massacre at one of our schools... this time, an ELEMENTARY school, of all places.  Helpless children. (and thanks to gun restrictions... Helpless Adults)  As this new shooting takes the forefront of our National Media... As many times before, We sit asking ourselves "Who, What, Why and How".

"Who" on earth would do this?
"What" could we have done to prevent it,
                        ...or at least "lessen" the severity of it?
"Why" is this becoming so commonplace?
"How" can we prevent it from happening again?  

Where are we headed as a country? Where will we be in 20 years... 30 years... 50 years??? ... And, what is the "real" problem that leads to this kind of massacre as frequently as we have had it occur.  What are the "common links".  What is the "answer" to stopping it?
IS there an answer???
CAN we stop it?

Is the problem as simple as taking away "guns" (not that that would be simple). Or, is it the "lack of security"?  Are we a "naive" society that thinks everyone is safe and our government will protect us?  Can our government "protect" us?  Should that even be the "job" of the government?

We spend a fortune on entitlement programs for people who "literally choose" not to work.  What about those who are "mentally ill" and cannot work, or sometimes even "function" in our society.  What are we spending to help them?  We spend a fortune on locking up drug dealers and now we have laws that give drug dealers more jail time than murderers... literally!  Case in point... When someone simply "drives on the interstate and passes a school zone with drugs in their trunk", they can be convicted under new "drug free school zone" laws that carry significantly high mandatory minimum 100% sentences and some have led to sentences that I have personally seen were far greater than sentences for rapist and murderers.  All the while, we cannot seem to lock away the criminally insane and protect our society from those that really have the most risk of doing something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Now, I know what you are saying... But, Dave, How can you compare those two scenarios.  The entitlement programs didn't "cause" this."  And you would be right.  But... our government leaders have their priorities all mixed up.  The liberal left want to take all the guns thinking that will solve the problem.

But would this guy have "followed" those laws??  

It's a rhetorical question.

And now, the hollywood jesters and left winged tree-huggers are screaming for more “gun control”. You know, because THAT works soooooo well in the GUN FREE ZONES ... where most of these mass murders have occurred, by the way. Coincidence?  Hmmmmm.  Probably not!
Schools, shopping malls, universities, theaters… even Banks.

Instead of whining about GUN CONTROL and our INALIENABLE Second Amendment rights, they ought to be demanding we abolish those so-called “gun free zones”, which are doing nothing but creating target rich environments for the mentally disturbed mass murderers.
These “Gun free zones” are killing our children.
Why don't you ban those?!?

FBI statistics prove that mass murderers purposefully choose “gun free zones” to commit their crimes… for obvious reasons.  They know there is not a good likelihood that someone will be shooting back at them until the Police arrive…. At which time they will promptly kill themselves.

These mass murderers, especially those that target little children in schools, are assuredly disturbed.  But more than that, they are COWARDS.  I venture to say they would not enter a school where there was a sign that says "Staff Heavily Armed.  Any attempt to hurt the children in this building will be met with DEADLY FORCE".

No.  Instead, they choose defenseless children and citizens in shopping malls, and theaters, and banks…  today’s “gun free zones”.  

How many of these mass murderers would choose, say, a gun show exhibit or a target range to commit their heinous crimes?  Have you ever heard of a mass murder at a gun show?  Again, rhetorical question there.
The belief that these “gun free zones” will prevent crime relies upon flawed reasoning, namely the belief that criminals will be deterred by these new “gun free zone” laws, even though they are not deterred by longstanding laws against MURDER… or ARMED ROBBERY.

What do you think is more likely... That a lawful responsible gun owner is going to walk in a bank with his gun in the small of his back, and all the sudden decide to ROB the bank?  Or that he could be the guy in line behind the guy that "chose" to ignore the law against "robbing the bank" in the first place, and possibly STOP him from hurting many others??

A person who is willing to commit a serious crime like murder or armed robbery, or a person who is planning to kill dozens of people and then kill themselves, is not even going to give a second thought to the penalty for carrying a gun. They know that if they are caught, the gun possession charge will be the least of their worries… or they are so mentally disturbed that they are not thinking rationally about the penalties.

Now, I know that I may not have all the answers... but I do know this.  There are two things our government has taken out of the school.  One a bit more important than the other, but I think BOTH have significantly contributed to the severity of this massacre.  What are they?

God… and Guns.

There should be NO place that we are not allowed to have guns to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and yes, even our children… NO PLACE!
And, certainly, we should have that right in a place where we drop off our children to be taught and protected!

Washington owes Sandy Hook Elementary administration and their parents an apology that could never measure up.

That administration never had a chance… not because HE was armed… but because they were not!

Crime Time Central Host, Attorney David Ridings has been on every side of the criminal justice system over the past 25 + years.  He spent approximately a decade as a police officer, spent a year at the District Attorney's Office, and has practiced Criminal Defense Law for the past 14  years in his Nashville Criminal Defense Law Firm.  His practice is entirely "criminal defense", but over 95% of that practice is in the area of "Driving Under the Influence" (DUI Defense).  If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI or any other crime, you need EXPERIENCE.  Ridings has that experience, and broadcasts his knowledge each Sunday from Noon - 2pm on his show "Crime Time Central" on Supertalk 99.7 WTN.  Contact Attorney David Ridings today for a Nashville Criminal Attorney with real street experience.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Crime Time Central - 10/21/12 - Justice, Mercy, or Grace?

In 1975, Maury Davis, at age 18, committed a brutal murder.  He was later brought before a jury of his peers in a Texas Criminal Court, where his attorney relied upon the defense of "demon possession". He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years in the Texas Department of Correction.   He found the Lord for the first time as he sat in that 5x9 jail cell, and he turned his life around.  

In 1983, Davis was released (after being denied parole many times before) on a prison over-crowding lottery.  Turns out, God had a plan for Davis that did not include him being on parole. 

So was that Justice? Mercy? Or Grace?

And whatever it was… which one would you rather have?

I met Pastor Davis at Cornerstone Church many years later.  1998 to be exact.  I was a former police officer,  was working at the District Attorney's Office, and about to open my own practice… and I thought to myself… "yea, right.  This preacher got some 'Jailhouse Jesus' and has 'really' turned his life around? I'm sure!"  

Truth is… Pastor Davis is the real deal.  He's not just "playing Church".  His number one focus is "souls".  And, he has led more people to Christ than anyone I have personally ever met.

Join us Sunday October 21, 2012 from Noon to 2pm for Crime Time Central Legal Talk Radio, on Super Talk 99.7 WTN.

You do NOT want to miss this show!!!

Charged with a crime? You need experience.  Attorney David Ridings, and Crime Time Central host has experience on every side of the criminal justice system.  He has spent the last 25 years of his professional life dedicated to Criminal Justice.  From the police force, through the District Attorney's Office, to the Criminal Defense Table… Attorney David Ridings has experience you just don't get out of a book.

If you need a Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney, contact Ridings Law Group, P.C. today for your free consultation. 

Crime Time Central - 10/14/12 - Escape

Today, on Crime Time Central… we ask The Average Juror, Lynda… Guilty or Not Guilty.

Man charged with Escape for being 75 minutes late to halfway house.  

Here are the facts…

Terrance Bell was in federal custody, serving what was left of his federal sentence. He had ONLY TWO MONTHS REMAINING…

In March, while working as a cook at a Waffle House in Nashville, Bell received a phone call informing him that his girlfriend had collapsed at her apartment and had been taken to the hospital. Bell said he made an impulsive decision and went to the hospital without contacting the administration at the halfway house.

A few hours later he realized that it was about an hour and fifteen minutes past the time he was required to be back at the house, so he called one of the directors.

However, Bell said, the director told him that the U.S. marshals had already been notified that he was absent and that he should turn himself in. The director added that he need not return to the halfway house.

Bell said he called the Marshal's Office to schedule a time to turn himself in, but he was told that there would not be anyone in the office who could handle the procedure for the rest of the day.

Bell gave the Marshal's Office the address of his girlfriend's apartment and said he would be staying with her.

A WEEK LATER later he was arrested at her apartment.

He was sentenced to 9 months to serve in federal prison, consecutive to his current sentence.  


39-16-605.  Escape. 

  (a) It is an offense for any lawfully confined person arrested for, charged with, or found guilty of a civil or criminal offense to escape from a penal institution, as defined in § 39-16-601.

(b)  (1) A person commits the offense of escape who is in the lawful custody of a law enforcement officer and knowingly escapes the officer's custody.

   (2) As used in subdivision (b)(1), "lawful custody" means a person has been taken, seized or detained by a law enforcement officer either by handcuffing, restraining or any other method by which a reasonable person would believe places the person in custody and that otherwise deprives the person's freedom of action in a significant way.

(c)  (1) A violation of subsection (a) is:

      (A) A Class A misdemeanor if the person was being held for a misdemeanor or civil offense; and

      (B) A Class E felony if the person was being held for a felony.

   (2) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor.

(d) Any sentence received for a violation of this section shall be ordered to be served consecutively to the sentence being served or sentence received for the charge for which the person was being held at the time of the escape.

601 says…..

   (3) "Escape" means unauthorized departure from custody or failure to return to custody following temporary leave for a specific purpose or limited period, but does not include a violation of conditions of probation or parole; and

   (4) "Penal institution" includes any institution or facility used to house or detain a person:

      (A) Convicted of a crime;

      (B) Adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court;

      (C) Who is in direct or indirect custody after a lawful arrest; or

      (D) When such institution or facility is a court-operated long-term residential substance abuse facility.