Tennessee Law: Crimes Involving Weapons

Using a weapon during the commission of any kind of crime makes the potential penalty for that offense dramatically harsher. In Tennessee these offenses are described as dangerous offenses.

A dangerous offense is defined by law as one that involves the usage or threatening exhibition of a fatal weapon if there is deliberate or recognizing infliction of a significant physical injury on another individual. A dangerous instrument can be anything that is utilized or threatened to be made use of that is readily capable of triggering fatality or significant physical injury. In some circumstances, this might be even a cushion. A deadly weapon is anything created for lawful use including a firearm. Dangerousness is an additional aspect that makes a normal felony offense worse.

The reason the dangerous offenses are so major is due to the fact that dangerous offenses carry their own sentencing structure. That suggests that a person who has not previously been convicted of a felony offense, who would usually be qualified for probation in most situations, would be called for to be sentenced to a prison sentence if convicted. To put it simply, even if it is the very first time a person is involved in a crime, using a gun can lead to a jail sentence.

Sentencing Structure

Dangerous offenses, like various other felony offenses, are identified depending upon the type as well as severity of the underlying felony offense committed. One of the most major dangerous offense, beyond murder, is a class to dangerous felony offense. The least serious dangerous offense is a class 6 felony, and also other offenses can fall anywhere in the middle. Each of these offenses carries with it mandatory prison sentences with the course 2 felony resulting in a much longer sentence than a class six felony. For instance, someone founded guilty of a class to dangerous felony offense would certainly be forced to spend in between 7 as well as 21 years behind bars with the presumptive or starting point being 10.5 years. In contrast, a person founded guilty of the same class 2 felony, without the dangerousness enhancement would certainly encounter a jail sentence range of 3 years to 12 years with a presumptive or starting point of five years in prison.

Dangerous felony offenses are extremely serious. They are considered to be among the worst of the worst offenses that a person could be charged with. Consequently it is incredibly crucial that you speak to a certified, experienced criminal defense attorney if you have actually been accuseded of a dangerous felony offense. Is very important to start working on these sorts of cases from the very beginning starting  to minimize the prospective risks an individual faces.

If you or somebody you know has been charged with a dangerous felony offense in Chattanooga or Tennessee area, please do not be hesitate to contact McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC. Our Chattanooga criminal defense attorneys are ready to step in at any point of the criminal process, from right after your arrest or when bail is posted to your arraignment or trial.  Discuss your rights with a criminal defense attorney and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome that you can in your case.

Legal Issues You Should Take Into Account When Getting Married

Are you considering getting married? Probably you just celebrated a marriage. Now begins is an amazing time of life when a couple gets to celebrate their love with their family as well as closest friends. However, this is also the period when you should take more responsibility and sometimes even say goodbye to your past. The legal side of your life doesn’t stay untouched either. Here are some legal issues you should take into account when getting married.


When filing income taxes, make certain that your name and also social security number exactly match  what gets on file at the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you changed your surname after getting married, you must report your name modification to the SSA. When dealing with a name adjustment for marriage, you also have to provide your employer with a new Form W-4.

Your filing status is a determinant when it concerns your tax liability, filing requirements, and also qualification for different tax deductions and credits. Remember that when you as well as your partner marry, your newly combined income could become another tax challenge for you.  When it involves Federal taxes, whenever you get married during the year, you are considered to be”married” for that entire tax year.

Bank Accounts

Very often couples wonder whether to merge their accounts or leave them separate. There’s no 100% right answer, so think about your and your spouse’s interests when making this important decision. What expenses will be paid by what accounts? It’s important to review this issue with your partner prior to getting married to make sure everyone understands their obligations, especially financial ones.

Discuss Debts and Assets

Money is typically at the core of lots of marriage disputes. Prior to you get married, take the time to sit down and discuss how you will manage debt. Handling your partner’s debt can both strengthen or weaken your relationships. With a combined income paying debt off could be easier and quicker. Nonetheless, taking on brand-new financial obligation could hurt your credit score and increase anxiety.

When talking about assets, it is essential to understand Tennessee legislation and have a consultation with Chattanooga family attorney. In our state, asset division is equitable, yet equitable is not the same as equal. Your monetary contribution does not determine the possessions to which you are qualified. If you and also your spouse ever divorce, numerous subjective elements come into play when dividing assets. If you own any property, valuable items or business, don’t delay an accurate valuation.

Prenuptial Agreement

It is typical to think of prenuptial agreement when one or both parents bring business or individual assets into a marital relationship. Prenuptial agreements protect the property and also financial liberties of each partner in case of a divorce. Authorizing a prenuptial agreement is a very personal decision as well as is something that you need to be open about with your future spouse prior to you celebrate a marriage.

Wedding may be the happiest and most important day of your life, but don’t forget that that you will be entering into a legal agreement with your spouse. If you get overwhelmed or confused about exactly what to do regarding these marriage-related problems, or wish to know even more about the laws in Tennessee, get in touch with a Chattanooga family law attorney. Our professionals from McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC are more than happy to provide you with legal information on common law marriage. There are many different important legal issues that you and your spouse to be must find answers for.


Tips To Avoid Contractor Disputes

Contractor disputes are amongst the worse possible problems that may occur through building projects as well as programs between parties. Understanding the best ways to reduce the damage as well as decrease the issues between both firm or individual and the contractor is important in maintaining the project progressing until the final arrangements.

One of the primary factors when hiring a specialist is the job contract. If the owner or firm and also the contracting owner or company has the ability to discuss a legal contract between them, they may have set goals and obligations. By keeping to the tasks within the agreement, it is much easier for both parties to make certain the job proceeds with minimal disputes. There are various other means to reduce the damage that disputes could cause and prevent problem that might lead to lawsuits.

Deviations from the Project

The first tip to avoid contractor disputes which are typically caused by construction delays is avoiding deviations from the initial plan. Very often some new tasks or requirements are added in the middle of the project. Such alterations to the initial construction plan may extend completion day, cause issues, postpone the current work as well as raise costs considerably. In numerous constructions, the professional does not receive extra payment unless the contract mentions it. Nonetheless, deviations might also trigger legal problems. Preventing adding any type of new tasks reduce the problem between the involved parties.

Lack Of Understanding

Unfortunately, this is the most common and worst reason why the construction projects end up with contractor disputes. This could happen within the agreement both sign or through modifications that become necessary. The delays might start with a modification that the owner wants, yet if the change is very important to keep the project progressing, the contractor would be forced to give up fighting over the issue. If other parties are involved into the project (for example, other subcontractors or contractors), this can result in greater misunderstanding of what is top priority for the project and owner.

Lacking an understanding of certain matters should increase communication to remove a possible dispute between the parties. The best method to eliminate a lack of understanding is to have an open dialogue concerning the potential issues and keeping track on what is happening with the project.

The Importance of Risk Assessment

To minimize conflicts between the contractor and the owner, interaction is vital. The risks of the project often lead to delays or even end of the project.  To prevent this as well as other problems, the two parties should assess the potential risks the work will have as well as any kind of dangers that might boost disagreements with the contractor or the owner. The importance of risk assessment of the project, materials, information, the range of tasks and other matters is terrific. Without appropriately assessing these issues, disputes can wreck the project and cause legal issues.

Through analyzing the risks in a break down in exchanges of information, the professional and owner might stay clear of possibly fatal issues. The conflict over payment, schedules, excusable and inexcusable delays and resources may have a remedy if both are open to a peaceful discussion. It is important to optimize each factor and aspect of the contract and project process at every stage of the job.

Legal Assistance with Contractor Disputes

Whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor, vendor, supplier, owner or developer, a construction law attorney from McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC will assist you in effectively and efficiently resolving your disputes. Even if legal action is not necessary, the lawyer may have details or advice on how to ensure the project progresses and disputes with the contractor will have a resolution. Contact us, if you face any issues with the construction law. 


Succession Planning for your Business In Chattanooga

Let’s begin at the end: what would happen to your business if you were to pass away? Whether your business is a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a single-member LLC, or a multi-member LLC/multishareholder corporation, planning and preparing for the transition of
your business is critical to help your family, your employees, and/or your co-owners either to continue the business or wrap up the affairs of the business upon your death.

There is no “one size fits” all approach to transition planning due to the wide array of factors to consider, including business size, industry, individual goals, and family dynamics, to name a few. If you are a sole-owner (sole proprietor, single-member LLC or single-shareholder corporation/scorporation), your family or designated agent will not have authority to act on behalf of the business (access accounts, sell assets) unless you have done some preparation. Additionally, if yours is a family business where family members (commonly children) work with you, is there one or two children who may be more capable of running the business? Can the children get along if they are forced to run the business together? More importantly, do any of the children want to take over the business?

If you are part of a multi-owner business, you and your co-owners need to determine what will happen in the event of an owner’s death. For example, if your co-owner dies, do you want to be in business with her spouse or family? If your answer is no, then you should run, and not walk, to get some succession planning in place. The same cautions apply to a transition upon retirement. Waiting until the day before you retire will inevitably end badly. The moral of the story is make succession planning a priority, not an afterthought. And for those among you who are superstitious, take heed – talking about death will not in fact cause death.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Many businesses have their own In-House General Counsel. This is a
great option for those businesses that have the volume of work and
can handle the substantial financial obligation. For most businesses,
even many larger businesses, this is simply neither necessary nor
practical. At McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC we seek to offer those same In-House General Counsel options through our Outside General Counsel services. As your Outside General Counsel, we not only take the time to learn about your business, we seek to gain a meaningful understanding of it.

Attorneys from McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC are prepared to respond to questions in a timely and knowledgeable way, whether it be to help you form a new business, review a contract or lease, prepare an employment agreement, pursue collections of accounts receivable, counsel you regarding employee disputes, or helping you think about succession planning.

We encourage you to call or email, no matter how small your matter or
question, just as though you had your own in-house counsel right
down the hall from your office. As part of our Outside General Counsel services, we can also ensure that if family or criminal law issues arise, we can point you to attorneys in our firm, as opposed to having to look for a new firm or attorney you don’t have a relationship with.

McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC offers the knowledge, skill, and experience needed to help clients navigate the legal complexities inherent in Chattanooga business law matters, large and small. If you are looking for a lawyer, schedule a consultation. (Please do not include any confidential information in your inquiry.)

Do I Need A Prenuptial Agreement?

When mentioning a prenuptial agreement, many individuals think only about the financial side of this contract. However, this type of agreement affects not only your money.

The reality is that prenuptial arrangements (which are called “premarital arrangements” in some jurisdictions) could likewise deal with other important matters, such as distributing the tasks between two spouses during the marriage, taking care of children from a previous relationship and keeping family heirlooms in the family. Sometimes these point can be much more important than just defining  assets division or spousal support after a divorce. Knowing the possibilities of a prenuptial agreement is an essential factor in your choice of whether or not to get one.

Right here are 4 main aspects why may need a prenuptial agreement.


1. You Want to Ensure Financial Safety For Both Parties

Obviously, a prenuptial agreement certainly brings a feeling of financial protection– specifically in cases where one spouse has much higher earnings compared to the other. On the one hand, the wealthy partner wants to protect his/her property as well as limit the amount and also period of spousal support in case of separation. On the other hand, the partner that does not have so many assets wants a guarantee of economic safety or financial support if their marriage finishes. The end outcome ought to be a sensible arrangement that provides security to both parties according to their specific requirements.

2. Your Future Spouse Has Substantial Financial Debt

One spouse bringing a lot of debt into the marital relationship is a rather common situation nowadays. Sometimes, the other spouse doesn’t even know about the financial debt of the other until they have actually got married. Don’t be afraid to raise this topic before the marriage – everyone has the right to feel confident about their future, especially when it hugely depends on another person. Of course, if the marriage ends, the other partner does not want to inherit their ex-spouse’s debt. A prenuptial agreement could limit the non-debtor spouse’s responsibility and also prevent creditors from seeking marital property to pay off the debt.

3. You Want To Protect Your Assets

A prenuptial agreement can be used to get around the laws regulating asset division and spousal support in some states (ask Chattanooga family attorneys if this is the case in Tennessee). The contract could define exactly how specific marital and non-marital possessions will be allocated when it comes to divorce. An excellent prenup can likewise sustain your estate plan. From professional experience of McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC family lawyers,  asset distribution is much less challenging with a legitimate prenuptial agreement, so protect yourself and your assets from messed-up situations later on by signing one before marriage.

4.You Want to Protect Your Business

It’s a natural desire for business owners and entrepreneurs to protect their business they’ve contributed so much into. Divorce can threaten it – both financially and because of interference from ex-spouse (and ex-spouse’s lawyer).  Without a prenup, the marital share of the business can be rather significant, and the non-owner spouse could end up with a considerable portion or even claim to it. This implies that business owner would be forced to buy out their ex-spouse’s share (which could have an extreme impact on the business’ capital) or put up with a potentially vindictive ex interfering in their business’ decision-making process. Developing and signing the detailed prenuptial agreement is vital for business owners; otherwise your business (especially if it’s a small or middle one) can occur under the threat of closing because of conflict or misunderstanding between you and your ex.

These are simply four of the several factors for creating a prenuptial agreement (or a post-nuptial agreement if you’re currently married). When the agreement is finished, you can feel confident that you have actually done your best to protect not only yourself, but also your spouse   in case of future divorce.

At McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC, you will find a Chattanooga family law attorney who will guide you through all of your legal options and answer any questions you may have about how various decisions could impact your future and the future of your family.  Don’t hesitate to contact us to find the solution to your issue.

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