Mr. Wood has successfully tried all kinds of criminal cases from capital murder down to DUI and everything in between.  If you are charged with a criminal offense, do not make a statement to anyone about your matter until you obtain legal advice.

The following are some frequently asked questions and other helpful information about criminal matters and procedures.


When does a person need to contact or hire an attorney?

As soon as you become aware that the police or another state agency
is looking for or investigating you, or if you believe that you may have
committed a crime. The earlier you contact
a lawyer the better. An attorney can intervene with the police and
either prevent an arrest or, if you are going to be arrested, arrange
for your surrender at a time and in a manner that minimizes
embarrassment to you or your family. Retaining a lawyer also prevents
the police from questioning you.


If the person is innocent, why does he or she need a lawyer?

Innocent people do get accused, and convicted, of crimes. Also,
people who may have committed one crime often get accused of committing
additional and more serious crimes. In this country, whether you are
innocent or guilty of committing a crime, you have a right to remain
silent at all times. Even if you have nothing to hide, it is always
better to have a lawyer learn about your accusations and speak on your

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What should someone do if the police want to question or
arrest him or her?

Always be polite and cooperative. Arguing or struggling, even if you
didn’t do anything wrong, will never make the situation better. Don’t
say anything to the police except your name and other identifying
information. DO NOT discuss the situation with them. Many convictions
result from statements made to the police. Whether the officer speaking
to you is nasty or nice, he or she is looking for evidence that can be
used against you. The police, sometimes will attempt to lie or trick you
in order to get you to talk. You should tell the police that you want to
speak to a lawyer, and that you do not want to speak to them until you
have spoken to a lawyer.

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If I am stopped while driving and the police officer asks me
to do field sobriety tests do I have to do them?

The police have an absolute right to ask you to perform the tests.
However, if you don’t perform the tests, your refusal cannot be
introduced at trial. In addition, there are no legal consequences for
your failure to do the tests, i.e., you don’t have your driver’s license
taken away from you.

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Should I take a breath or blood test if I am arrested?

By obtaining a driver’s license, you have consented to taking a
chemical test to determine your blood alcohol level.
The police officer decides which test
you are offered, not you!
  If you refuse to take a chemical
test (breath or blood) your Tennessee driver’s license will likely be suspended for
one year.  Generally unless you absolutely know you will fail the test horribly, submit to the test.
Remember:  the State can convict you of DUI by
proving that your blood alcohol level was .08 or greater,
or by proving your driving was
impaired by alcohol. 

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What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

Most crimes are divided into two categories, based on the severity of
the crime: misdemeanor and felony. State law governs which crimes are
considered more serious than others. Generally speaking, a misdemeanor
crime is one where the maximum penalty is one year or less in state

A felony crime is a more serious crime that can result in jail or
prison time for more than one year. Felony charges also bring a number
of other legal repercussions if the defendant is convicted. In some
states, under certain circumstances, a crime can be considered a
misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specifics of the case. A
qualified attorney can maximize your chance that your crime is charged
as a lesser offense.

When a fine is the punishment for a legal violation, the action is
considered an infraction rather than a criminal offense. For example, a
parking ticket is an infraction rather than a criminal charge. In some
cases, however, a crime may only receive a fine and it will still be
counted as a misdemeanor. For example, possessing a small amount of
marijuana for personal use in some states may be a misdemeanor
punishable by fine.

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Examples of
misdemeanors are:
Examples of felony charges
Assault Murder
Battery Possession, Delivery, or Sale
of a Controlled Substance 
DUI (1st or 2nd
Felony DUI
Domestic Violence Aggravated Battery
Shoplifting Burglary
Driving on
Suspended License
Theft over $500.00

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What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation is a criminal sentence; parole is one
way of completing a criminal sentence of incarceration. In most
jurisdictions, first-time offenders are considered for probation,
particularly if their offense was nonviolent. A person placed on
probation is typically given a jail or prison sentence that is suspended
as long as the person abides by the terms and conditions of probation.
Common terms require the person to contact a probation officer once a
week and to work, go to school, or look for work. Other terms can
include required attendance at alcohol treatment or narcotic-abuse
programs and educational classes on such subjects as anger management or
good driving. The length of probation and its terms are enumerated at
the sentencing and once the person has completed the terms of probation,
he or she is free of court supervision.

Typically, an offender has been sentenced to an
indeterminate or range of years in prison. After the offender has served
the minimum amount of time authorized, the parole board decides if the
offender is ready to be released from incarceration to finish out the
sentence on parole. Parole boards consider the nature and seriousness of
the crime, the views of the victim, the progress the offender made in
prison, how crowded the prison is, and whether the offender has a
someplace to go in the community. If parole is granted, the offender
will have to abide by terms and conditions similar to those for
probation for a specified period of time. If he or she completes the
parole period, the criminal sentence is discharged.

Both probation and parole can be revoked if the
offender commits another crime or seriously violates one of the
conditions of release. The revocation proceeding requires written notice
to the offender, an opportunity to explain and call witnesses, an
impartial decision-maker, and a written decision stating the reasons for
revocation. If parole is revoked, the parolee goes back to prison and
serves the remainder of his or her sentence in jail or prison.

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Are all illegal drugs treated equally when
it comes to punishing drug dealers?

No, the punishment for drug crimes depends not
only on the criminal conduct of the offender but also on the
classification of the drug. Federal sentencing guidelines begin with
forty-three base offense levels and add or subtract levels depending on
certain specified criteria. The higher the offense level, the harsher
the sentence.

The base offense level under the federal
guidelines differs for different drugs and for different amounts of the
same drug. For instance, if the conviction is for the crime of
manufacturing 300 kilograms of heroin, the base offense level is
forty-two. However, if the conviction is for manufacturing 300 kilograms
of cocaine, the base offense level is thirty-eight. Crack is a form of
cocaine and listed on the same schedule of controlled substances.
However, the quantities of crack needed to impose a certain sentence are
much less than the quantity of powdered cocaine. For example, a person
convicted of the crime of delivering 5 grams of crack will receive a
sentence in the federal system of five to forty years. To receive that
same sentence, a person would have to be convicted of delivering 500
grams of powdered cocaine.

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