Successful Criminal Defense and DUI Cases Throughout Middle Tennessee
The Law Office of Bryan Stephenson has handled a wide range of cases in the areas of criminal defense, DUI, drugs, weapons, and more. While every case is different, and a variety of factors determine the outcome of each specific case, Bryan has obtained successful results for many satisfied former clients.
Here are some examples of the casework undertaken by Bryan that show his approach to navigating the criminal justice system on behalf of his clients:
Downtown Nashville is a destination for tourists, bachelorette parties, and for local Tennesseans looking for a night out on the town. A woman who had come to Nashville for a wedding was in a downtown bar, when she had a dispute with a member of the staff. She was arrested for assaulting a bouncer.
Bryan negotiated with the ADA in advance of the court date. The ADA agreed to dismiss the assault charge once Bryan’s client showed proof of having completed an anger management course. The case was dismissed, expunged, and the client never had to fly back to Nashville to appear in court.
After a home burglary where a victim was shot, a man was charged with 11 felony counts including Attempted 1st Degree Murder, Robbery, and Kidnapping.
During the course of a four-day jury trial, Bryan exposed glaring inconsistencies in statements from witnesses, as well as police failure to properly investigate the evidence. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of “Not Guilty” on five of the counts, including the Attempted 1st Degree Murder charge, and came back with a lesser-included offense on one of his six remaining convictions. The remaining convictions and sentences were appealed.
A student had just moved to Nashville when he was charged with Reckless Driving through a parking lot. A conviction for this is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine, and potential points on the driving record.
In court, Bryan successfully explained to the prosecutor that the client’s car was having mechanical difficulties, causing it to drive in an erratic manner, and that therefore, the client should not be prosecuted. The case was dismissed.
A loving spouse and mother who had never been in trouble with the law before, was charged with two federal crimes involving misappropriating government funds. On just one of the charges, the client was facing up to ten years in prison.
Bryan’s plea negotiations with the prosecutor facilitated the client pleading guilty to one of the charges, while the other was dismissed. The sentence was to make restitution to the government and be placed on three year’s probation plus six months of home confinement (aka “House Arrest,” “Home Detention,” or “Electronic Monitoring”). No jail time was served.
A woman got into a verbal altercation with her then-boyfriend at their residence. During the brief commotion, she picked up a knife, the boyfriend was cut with the knife, and the client was arrested and charged with a class-C Felony Aggravated Assault.
Fortunately, the client had no prior criminal history. Bryan was able to work out a deal wherein she pled conditionally guilty to simple assault with just one year of probation and an anger management class. Aside from getting a felony knocked down to a misdemeanor, the best part of the deal is that the entire case is eligible for dismissal and expungement after probation is successfully completed. Thus, she can go about her life without a permanent criminal conviction hampering her ability to obtain employment and other privileges in life.
A working professional with a family, who had never been in trouble before, was charged with 37 counts, including 15 felonies, including Invasion of Privacy and Identity Theft. She faced a potential maximum sentence of 73 years, if convicted as charged.
Bryan’s plea bargaining on behalf of his client resulted in a guilty plea to only three charges, being placed on probation for six years, and serving only thirty days in jail. Once the client successfully completed probation, the entire case became eligible to be dismissed and expunged from public record, pursuant to Tennessee’s Judicial Diversion law.
A client was charged with assaulting his co-worker in their office.
Bryan reviewed the case thoroughly, and it became apparent that the “victim” had actually instigated the assault. After Bryan shared his findings, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the assault charge against the client, and to prosecute the first aggressor instead.
A client hired Bryan after already proceeding to Criminal Court. The charge was a class-E felony Statutory Rape; a teenage victim told police that she had consensual sex with the client. The police detective interviewed some supposed witnesses, and obtained what he assumed was corroboration to the alleged victim’s story.
Bryan reviewed all the evidence. He noticed that one of the witness’ stories had changed, which meant there appeared to be no evidence corroborating the alleged victim’s story. Bryan presented the case law on accomplice corroboration in statutory rape cases to the court. The State decided to “nolle prosequi,” meaning, they dropped the case without prosecuting. The case was immediately eligible to be expunged from public records.
After being stopped for having a headlight out — which can be a perfectly legal reason for the police to stop a vehicle — a man was charged with a DUI. Bryan obtained the dash cam video and reviewed it – something many lawyers never do. During his review, he realized that, although the client’s truck had a burned-out bulb, it also had auto-running lights. The state law on headlights provides that as long as two lights are burning, the vehicle is in compliance.
From this review and his knowledge of the law, Bryan raised the issue with the ADA, and also sent a photo of the client’s headlight configuration. Bryan’s proactive legal challenge to the case, his credibility with the DA’s office, and his willingness to comb through the evidence, meant that a fast dismissal of the case was granted by the ADA. The ADA agreed that the officer had unlawfully stopped the client, invalidating any evidence uncovered during the stop, and the issue of whether or not the client was under the influence never entered into the case resolution.
Client was arrested for DUI. The government crime-lab’s report came back showing a BAC under the legal limit of .08%, and the presence of a non-narcotic OTC medicine. The prosecutor didn’t drop the case. We weren’t going to plead guilty to anything, and so we fought it, first by having a preliminary hearing. After the case arrived in Criminal Court, the ADA made threats about seeking the maximum penalty allowed against this client with no priors, all because client exercised his constitutional rights to file pre-trial motions and eventually, seek a jury trial. This ADA’s baseless threat was met with our defense Motion to Dismiss Indictment or Disqualify the ADA based on Prosecutorial Vindictiveness. After a contested hearing, the judge found that the prosecutor was vindictive and removed her from the case. Later, the elected DA threw out the case.
A man was charged with a DUI and Resisting Arrest, and would not submit to the field sobriety tests or a blood test. The police officer at the scene had pulled him out of his car when he refused to immediately cooperate. The case went through a preliminary hearing, suppression hearing, and ultimately went before a jury.
Bryan focused the jury on the inconsistent statements of the witnesses, and the overall failure of the prosecution to meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence of guilt just wasn’t there.
At the trial, after closing arguments, the jury began deliberations. In less than 30 minutes, the jury came back with a verdict of “Not Guilty” verdict on both counts. The client’s charges were immediately eligible to be expunged, and he walked away from the courthouse without any of the mandatory minimum penalties that come along with a DUI.
Driving home from dinner with friends, a recent transplant to Nashville was stopped by a police officer due to a traffic violation. The officer smelled a slight odor of alcohol coming from inside the car full of people, so he asked the driver to submit to field sobriety tests. She complied. The officer later decided to arrest her for DUI; she was also charged with violating the implied consent law for not agreeing to a breath alcohol test.
Bryan obtained the dash cam video and reviewed it. The client had performed quite well on the field sobriety tests. Bryan knew that the uncontroverted evidence contained in the video would benefit his client, so he set up an appointment with the ADA. In this way, he could highlight some of the discrepancies between the video and what the police officer swore to in the affidavit. The ADA agreed that the case for DUI was weak, and the DUI charge was dismissed.
A local college student was arrested at a party, and charged with underage consumption, public intoxication, escape, and theft. The police alleged that while they had him cuffed for being underage and intoxicated, the client attempted to flee the scene. The theft charge was because he had the officer’s handcuffs still on his wrists when he supposedly tried to flee!
Bryan’s plea negotiations with the ADA resulted in the client having all four charges dismissed and expunged after attending AA meetings and completing community service work. The client was able to continue college, and his career, without a conviction on his record.
A truck driver from out of state was traveling through Nashville in his personal vehicle. Seeing a deer, he swerved to avoid hitting it, crashing his car. When the police came, they ran him through field sobriety tests. He agreed to a breath test, and registered a .13%. He was faced with mandatory minimums of a DUI-1st offense (48 hours in jail, a year of probation, revoked license, and other consequences), as well as a threat to his livelihood.
Bryan negotiated with the ADA to reduce the offense to Reckless Driving. The client received no jail time and did not have his license revoked.
A client was arrested for DUI-2nd offense, and agreed to give a blood sample to the police officer for testing. She faced a minimum of 45 days in jail and a two-year license revocation.
The client hired an attorney for General Sessions Court. That attorney did not request the blood test results, did not have the blood independently tested by a private lab, and never obtained or reviewed the dash cam video of the client’s arrest. Perhaps worst of all, that attorney never had a preliminary hearing on behalf of the client, but instead advised the client to waive the right to a preliminary hearing and voluntarily send the case to Criminal Court. Once the client’s case got to criminal court, the client realized that this attorney had not been an effective advocate and had not advanced the case.
The client then hired Bryan.
Bryan quickly obtained the blood test results, and upon seeing that they were just barely over the legal limit, advised the client to have the blood independently tested by a private lab. The results came back just BELOW the legal limit. Bryan also obtained and reviewed the video of the incident. Presenting the newly obtained lab results and putting forth his best arguments about the case regarding margins of error and other facts to the ADA, Bryan got the ADA to agree to throw out the case completely. She entered a “nolle prosequi,” which means that the State declined to prosecute, making the case immediately eligible to be expunged from public record.
A young working professional and college graduate was pulled over near Vanderbilt University for a broken taillight. The DUI officer who made the stop ran the client through a series of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and made a determination that she was under the influence of alcohol. She later blew a .15% on the breath machine.
In addition to arguments about the police conduct in the case, Bryan brought certain medical conditions the client had to the attention of the ADA. The result of the negotiations was that the client plead guilty to a substituted charge of Reckless Endangerment with minimal jail time, one year of probation, and the use of an ignition interlock device on her vehicle. She completely avoided a DUI conviction and her license was not revoked.
Although we don’t think about it often, piloting any vehicle under the influence can result in a criminal charge. A client was charged with BUI (Boating under the Influence) after being stopped on a pontoon boat. The field sobriety tests were not terrible, and the client cooperated with the officer.
When negotiating with the ADA, Bryan was able to use these two things to convince the ADA to dismiss the case after client completed boating safety and alcohol safety classes. His charges were expunged from public record.
The police made a traffic stop, and gained consent to search the vehicle from the driver. The client was a passenger in the car. Drug paraphernalia – needles and spoons – were found in a bag near the backseat of the car, where the client was seated. There was no proof that he possessed the bag containing the contraband. Though he did not own the car and had not been driving the car, he was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Bryan got the charge retired in just one court appearance, with no penalties assessed against client. The entire case was subject to dismissal and expungement.
A client and his friends were on their way to Bonnaroo in Manchester from out of state, when the police came upon their RV in a parking lot. The police discovered that he was in possession of three different types of drugs (Schedules I, II and VI), including marijuana. The client was charged with three counts of simple possession and one count of drug paraphernalia.
Bryan knew his client had a clean record. When they went to court, Bryan was able to enter into an agreement for judicial diversion, a special type of expungeable probation. The client was able to report by telephone to his probation officer since he lived out of state. He received no jail time. After one year, he was eligible to have his entire case removed from public record.
A client was indicted for Class-A Felony Possession of Methamphetamine (over 300 grams), facing 15 to 25 years in prison as one of several co-defendants. The evidence the State had against her was very weak compared to the others charged in the case.
Bryan’s plea negotiations resulted in the client pleading guilty to the much lesser offense of Conspiracy to Deliver under .5 Grams (D-felony). The client received a two-year sentence, time-served.
Pursuant to a search warrant, narcotics officers obtained drugs at the site that a woman was visiting. She was charged with drug possession, even though she did not live there.
Asserting that the police relied upon a defective search warrant, and thus the “fruits of the search” would likely be found inadmissible, Bryan made arguments on behalf of his client. The ADA agreed with the defense arguments and dropped the case, making it eligible for dismissal and expungement.
In Nashville for business, a man was blowing off some steam after a long workday, when he found himself in an argument with the staff at a local restaurant/bar. In the course of the altercation, a glass door was shattered. Police were nearby, and arrested the client for felony vandalism. During the arrest, they also retrieved a marijuana pipe, and a handgun.
Once the client made restitution to the restaurant for the broken window, and completed some community service work, the ADA agreed to dismiss the drug paraphernalia and vandalism charges. The client was allowed to enter a six-month diversion program on the firearm charge, and was able to have it dismissed and expunged. He left the courthouse with no jail time and no convictions on his record.
At the Nashville Airport, the x-ray machine revealed a gun in a client’s laptop bag. The client was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
Bryan convinced the ADA to dismiss the charge, because there was no way they could prove that he intentionally or knowingly had the gun in his bag. He had accidentally left it in there. Because of the swift resolution, he had no disruption to his job and never even had to appear in court.
After throwing knives were found in her carry-on luggage at a security checkpoint at BNA Airport, a mother and business owner with a clean record was charged with having a prohibited weapon. There was no proof that she was intentionally or knowingly bringing the weapons on the airplane. As often happens in cases such as this, the traveler forgets that contraband is contained in the luggage.
Bryan argued to the DA that the knives were curios or collector items under the law, and were not intended to be used as weapons. The case was dismissed in just one court appearance, with no penalties, or even court costs, assessed to the client.
Following a road rage incident in which a client used his gun for self-defense purposes, a “victim” and his witness gave police only one version of the story, which resulted in the client being arrested. The client, a law-abiding citizen with a handgun carry permit, was charged with felony Aggravated Assault.
Bryan hired a Private Investigator to do some work on the case, find and interview witnesses, and assist in background checks. This evidence was then presented to the District Attorney. After the “victim” did not come to the first court appearance, Bryan convinced the Judge to dismiss the case with no objection from the District Attorney. The case was expunged from public record and the judge ordered the client’s gun be returned to him from police custody.
As a result of an altercation between roommates, a woman was facing both a domestic assault charge and a petition for an order of protection (a civil restraining order).
Bryan undertook an extensive investigation of the case, and began negotiations with the ADA. The result was that the client’s charges were dismissed and expunged upon completion of an anger management course. Additionally, the order of protection was dropped.
A mother was attempting to have a conversation about the house rules with her college-aged daughter. Her daughter ignored her, and tried to walk past. In order to make sure her daughter was aware that they would be having a conversation, the mother placed her hands on her to stop her from leaving the room. The daughter called the police, who arrested the mother on a domestic violence charge of assault.
Bryan’s defense arguments in court were uncontroverted by the police and the ADA dismissed the charge completely. Bryan’s office submitted expungement paperwork the same day.
A working professional was charged with Domestic Assault against his wife, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days. He and wife had resolved their differences by the time the court date arrived.
Bryan’s successful negotiations resulted in the client’s charge being “retired” for six months, without the need for a guilty plea or a trial. After six months, he was eligible to have the case dismissed and expunged.
A client got into a domestic argument with his fiancée. When police responded to the scene, they watched surveillance video from a nearby business, which showed the couple arguing, followed by what appeared to the police as the client forcing his fiancée into his car, and driving away. As a result of this, the client was charged with Aggravated Kidnapping, an offense that carries a minimum 8-year prison sentence upon conviction and is not eligible for probation or parole.
When Bryan got onto the case, he interviewed the alleged victim; it was obvious that she left with the client voluntarily. Bryan got the detective to show him the video, which made it clear to Bryan that the police claim of kidnapping was an exaggeration of the evidence. Then Bryan asked the prosecutor to review the video with him, and pointed out all the factors that showed it was not a kidnapping. Once the ADA watched the video and heard Bryan’s arguments, the ADA decided not to prosecute the kidnapping charge, proving the adage, “Just because the police say something is true, does not necessarily make it so!”
A felony of this severity normally isn’t resolved for many months, or sometimes years, and usually must be transferred to criminal court. However, because of Bryan’s quick and thorough work, the case was resolved in less than three months, and it stayed in General Sessions Court.