A Child Support document on a table with a pen

Personal Injury Settlement & Child Support

Most personal injury cases settled out of court without parties appearing in front of a judge. Once you have come to an agreement, you can count on getting every penny of the settlement. Right????? This is not necessarily the case in all situations. One thing that can seriously affect collection of the settlement is child support.

How is Child Support Determined?

Understand the calculation of child support payments before considering what a personal injury settlement might mean. In the state of Tennessee, as well as other jurisdictions, child support payments are generally based on the parents’ combined adjusted gross income (AGI). Child support calculations start with a percentage of income and considers the custodial agreement. Income includes salary/wages collected, social security payments, rental income, etc.

There is a formula to determine how much is required each month to support a child and then how much each parent must contribute, taking the AGI into account, as well as any custody arrangement.

How Debt Collection Laws and Back Child Support Debt Can Affect Your Settlement

Child support agreements have no immediate affect on a personal injury settlement, unless you are in arrears (owe back payments). However, there’s no guarantee the custodial parent of your child won’t try and renegotiate the agreement, if your settlement is substantial, by filing for a modification of child support. Because a drastic change in salary is usually the catalyst necessary for a modification, your settlement may be safe.

This is not the case if you are in arrears. If you owe back child support, keep reading to learn what might happen.

Tennessee law considers a personal injury settlement property. The courts can seize personal property if there is a past-due child support obligation. Like most states, Tennessee takes child support arrangements and the responsibility of parents to care for their children seriously. Because of this view, being in arrears can result in the court putting a lien against this new property to settle your debt. The law requires your attorney to garnish any settlement by an amount equal to your debt.

In any of the above circumstances, you can’t go wrong by scheduling a free consultation with an attorney at McKeehan Law Group. Our firm offers expert representation in both child custody and personal injury law.

10 Common Mistakes Made by Personal Injury Victims

When you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Even if your lawsuit may look easy to win, an injured party should consider many things injured parties need to get the best outcome. Here are some common mistakes to avoid making:

  1. File claim without legal representation. Yes, you can file a personal injury claim without legal representation, but it isn’t wise. A personal-injury attorney can guide you through the process and make successful arguments in court on your behalf. Hiring representation early in the process will help avoid any pitfalls you might encounter listed on this page. Contact McKeehan Law Group today for a free consultation.
  2. Don’t keep track of medical records and other documents (police report, witness statements etc.). One of the first mistakes victims of an injury accident make is related to organization and documentation. This is the failure to keep a file containing medical records, witness statements, police reports and other documents that can help advance their case. Your lawsuit preparation should include an organized and methodical approach.
  3. Miss filing window/don’t file inside statute of limitations. Many claims have a statute of limitations to be placed. Research for this information and file your claim well within the limits.
  4. Not seeing a doctor right away and refusing to follow their orders. If you’ve been injured in an accident, it is important to have a doctor assess that injury right away. Without a medical record that supports your injury claim, you’re not going to get far with the courts. Once you’ve seen a doctor, they are likely to give you orders for continued care and modification of activities to keep your injury from worsening. Following those orders will not only help you heal but will help your case. A plaintiff going against medical advice and behaving as if they have not been injured is not a good look.
  5. Exaggerating injury. It is important to be specific about your injuries and not to claim anything that isn’t true. Proof that a victim exaggerated their injury may negate important evidence. This is true even if you did sustain injury of some sort as result of an accident. Having to explain an exaggeration of injury in court can seriously damage your case.
  6. Give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Never give a recorded statement to an insurance company. Never.  The insurance company is a business and is out to protect its bottom line, instead of having your best interest at heart. Don’t hesitate to negotiate and stick to what you think you deserve.
  7. Settling too early in the process with insurance/taking the first offer. It is possible the insurance company will make an offer early in the process that you consider fair. It is important to remember that insurance likely considers the first offer to be a minimum they’re willing to pay, so you should always reject it and/or make a counteroffer.
  8. Sharing too much on social media. In concert with the need to follow your doctor’s instructions, you should be careful sharing anything on social media during the weeks between filing and your court date. The best advices is to stop posting on social media during your lawsuit. Definitely avoid posting any proof of risky behavior.  For example:  Clients losing a personal injury case after posting ski trip photos or videos only weeks after their accident.

  9. Provide inconsistent testimony. Get your story straight and be consistent at all times. Not only does your story need to be accurate without exaggerating your injuries, any time you tell your story it needs to be the same. Write it down while the memory is fresh and stick to it.
  10. Not taking your claim seriously enough as an adversarial matter. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against another party is an adversarial act, and it must be treated as such. Hire legal representation and follow the above guidelines to prepare.

McKeehan Law Group offers more information on their blog about deciding if you have a valid claim for a personal injury lawsuit and an outline of the seven steps you’re required to take when filing. But instead of doing all the research yourself, take advantage of a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers today.

2021 Tennessee Criminal Law Changes

Each year, the Tennessee government implements new laws to govern and protect the citizens of the state. These laws cover a wide variety of situations, including child custody, the state’s economy, education, and criminal justice reform. There are also many changes to criminal law in 2021, which we’ll review below.

Human Trafficking and Assault Law Changes

The Tennessee legislature passed numerous laws aiming to curb human trafficking in the state, while allowing fuller prosecution and punishment for the criminals accused of it. In addition, these new laws also address a need to increase the protections for victims. Here’s the list with links for more information:

Other 2021 Tennessee laws increase punishment for those committing sexual or physical assault, as well as laws to protect their victims. These laws work with the trafficking laws listed above or can be applied alone. 

Other Criminal Law Updates

Other laws added in Tennessee that apply to less-violent or non-violent offenses include:

  • Animal Cruelty – The new law removes some of the barriers usually encountered when trying to prosecute this crime. Senate Bill 166 
  • Cracking down on “Porch Pirates” – This legislation requires a second or subsequent offense must be charged at least as a Class E felony. Senate Bill 1121 
  • Catalytic Converter Theft — This law applies to those buying unattached catalytic converters, as well as those selling them. Senate Bill 1612 
  • Drag racing — This new legislature is meant to discourage drag racing by bumping it to a Class A Misdemeanor. Senate Bill 14
  • Enhanced penalties for aggravated riots – Applying to those paid to participate or who travel from out of state, this is a new penalty for rioting that causes serious bodily injury or substantial property damage. Senate Bill 451
  • Crime / Good Samaritan – Penalties increased to murder will be leveled against those killing a person acting as a “good Samaritan”. Senate Bill 226
  • Firing a Firearm from a Vehicle – Due to a rise in shootings from automobiles on public roads, the Tennessee legislature decided to act. They passed a new law that increased the charge to a Class C felony, as an act of reckless endangerment. Senate Bill 1373 


If you find yourself in need of a defense lawyer in Knoxville for any of the above offenses or any other criminal charge, call the experienced defense attorneys at McKeehan Law Group at (865)294-8008 or reach out online.

Gavel on wood table

Record Expungement in Tennessee

An arrest or conviction for a crime in the state of Tennessee doesn't always result in a record that follows you through life. Under some circumstances, Tennessee courts will expunge an arrest or conviction from your record.

Free Record Expungement in Tennessee

The eligible circumstances that qualify for free expungement in Tennessee include the following:

  • The court dismissed all charges against you.
  • The grand jury returns a “no true bill”, which means they didn’t find enough evidence to formally charge you.
  • After your arrest, there were no charges against you.
  • Your trial resulted in a not guilty verdict.
  • The prosecutor decides not to pursue your case.

I Qualify, Now What?

Just because your circumstance qualifies for a record expungement, it won’t automatically happen. You’ll have to complete a set of steps to set the expungement process in motion, starting with asking for it. The following steps may differ slightly, depending upon the court, but you’ll get the idea:

  • Asking for the expungement means filing for it in the court where the charge originated.
  • Provide information about the case, such as docket number. It’s probably best to request a copy of your record from the court clerk before you start the process.
  • Did the court make your case “Dismissed” or “Nollied”? If so, here are your next steps,:
    • You must file the request in the court where your case originated. If there were multiple charges, you may need to complete a separate document for each. (Contact the court clerk to get this answer.)
    • When you file your paperwork, you should indicate the charges that qualify for expungement.
    • You can avoid court when filing for expungement because you file the documents and other needed information with the court clerk.
    • With your paperwork leave a self-addressed, stamped envelope for each charge. After the expungements are complete, the court clerk will use the envelopes to send your documentation.
    • This will include a certified copy of the order(s) expunging your record, as well as one of the charging documents. But this will only happen if you leave enough envelopes and request the certified copies. (NOTE: You should absolutely ask for certified copies.)
    •  The judge will be sent your paperwork, and it will be sent to any agency needing to note and record the expungement.

Other Circumstance Expungements 

  • Often the opportunity to expunge your record can look slightly different. Expunging a record marked “dismissed with costs” or “retired” requires extra steps:
    • A charge marked “dismissed with costs” can still qualify for expungement, but it won’t be free. Court costs linger and most often account for the balance to pay. When you pay the debt, the court can expunge your record.
    • The charge was “retired”. When this happens, it reflects that the case has been inactive for a long time. In retired cases, you must have a court change its status to dismissed before starting the expungement process.

Expungement of a Conviction in Tennessee

All the above is great information for expunging a simple arrest or case that didn’t result in a conviction from your record. However, many people have a criminal record that can make life difficult. Recently, Tennessee has moved to improve its recidivism rate by making it easier to have non-violent and petty crimes expunged from your record.

Learn if your record qualifies for expungement using a tool developed in partnership between the Legal Aid Society and Georgetown University Law Center. The Tennessee Expungement Eligibility Assessment can be found here.

You may benefit from legal consultation, even though having your record expunged has become easier and less expensive in recent years. The lawyers with McKeehan Law Group are here to listen and advise. Contact us today online or by calling (865)294-8008.

Close up of a hand with a wedding ring

3 Steps Before Filing for Divorce in Tennessee

After you’ve made the difficult decision to divorce your spouse, you must take some specific steps before divorce proceedings can officially begin in the courts. Complete this three-step process in order to successfully file for divorce in Tennessee.

Step One: Determine the Type of Divorce You Need

Most states only offer no-fault divorces, but in Tennessee there are two kinds of divorce available, agreed or no-fault and contested or fault-based divorce. The state of Tennessee only grants a divorce under specific circumstances with those for an agreed divorce being most restrictive.

A no-fault divorce will only be granted to a couple who mutually agree to end their marriage in the state of Tennessee. The reasons for getting an agreed divorce must be either irreconcilable differences or the couple having lived apart for two years with no minor children. Otherwise known as an uncontested divorce, you can learn more details about these divorces here.

A contested divorce is more difficult to obtain. The state of Tennessee has a limited list of acceptable reasons for filing for divorce without agreement between spouses that includes Adultery, Inappropriate Marital Conduct, Abandonment, Habitual Drunkenness or Abuse of Narcotic Drugs, Irreconcilable Differences, and a few other factors.

Step Two: Meet Tennessee’s Divorce Requirements

Once you determine the divorce type needed, you must consider whether you meet the requirements to file in Tennessee. Those include:

  • Your reason must align with one of the accepted grounds for divorce (agreed or contested).
  • Prior to filing for divorce, one or both spouses must live in Tennessee for the six months prior to divorce filing. Or you both lived in Tennessee when you decided to divorce.

It’s important to note that you do not have to have an official separation to file for divorce in Tennessee. This is different from some other states.

Step Three: Complete and File the Paperwork

You must fill out a few different forms, as required by the state of Tennessee. This divorce paperwork may include all of some of the following:

  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Summon
  • Spouses’ personal information form
  • Any other form required by your local court.

Divorcing Tennessee couples find the required paperwork simple to complete, if there is a mutual agreement.  To get this no-fault divorce they only need to file the notarized complaint document and spousal information packet with their local Court Clerk. This option exists only for those without minor children. More information about the process and those forms can be found here.

You must still appear before a judge and wait 60 days. But if all the paperwork is found to be in order, the waiting is the hardest part.

A Contested Divorce requires some of the same basic paperwork but after that things get complicated quickly. From serving a summons to working out a parenting plan with your spouse, there are a lot of requirements to meet. And you'll find many obstacles to trip you up.  You can learn more about the divorce process here, but it’s in your best interest to contact a divorce lawyer to help you through the process.

The attorneys with McKeehan Law Group have many years of experience in divorce law and offer a free consultation. Contact us today for more information online or call (865)294-8008.

Calculating Damages for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee

If you’ve been injured in an accident through the negligence of another party, you might be considering a personal injury lawsuit. One popular question is how much you can expect to get from a personal injury judgment.

There isn’t a guide that says you’re due a certain amount for a broken bone that keeps you out of work for weeks or for a more serious injury that might keep you from working ever again. In fact, there are so many factors that affect the final amount, it takes a lot of work to determine the correct number. So, the first thing to realize is that you shouldn’t trust any personal injury lawyer who gives you a solid amount up front because there is literally no way they can be sure.

For What Kind of Damages Do You File?

You must first determine the damages against which you’re filing a claim. In Tennessee these include compensatory damages (economic damages and non-economic damages) and punitive damages (for pain and suffering).

Compensatory Damages

Damages that fall under the umbrella of compensatory damages directly relate to the personal effect of your injury. The two types considered compensatory damages are economic damages and non-economic damages:

  • Economic damages include an individual’s financial losses, both current and estimated future. Financial losses can be related to medical expenses, paycheck/job loss or damage to a vehicle or other personal property. Also included are expenses related to ongoing medical treatment or future income loss, when injury prevents the plaintiff from making the same income that they did before the injury. This applies even if they can return to work in another field or income level.
  • Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for non-monetary damages tied to your accident. These can include pain and suffering, emotional distress (mental anguish) and loss of consortium. Damages of this nature are difficult to prove. It helps to keep a detailed record of the losses and to have friends and family members ready to be witnesses in support of the claim.

Punitive Damages in Tennessee

The law does not award punitive damages to compensate for loss, like the compensatory damages. Instead, courts level them to punish the person or entity who caused the injury (the defendant). Awarding punitive damages can also serve as a deterrent to doing the same thing again.

In Tennessee there are many restrictions around filing and collecting punitive damages. The plaintiff must produce untarnished and convincing evidence to courts that the defendant acted in a malicious, fraudulent, or reckless way. Here are those definitions: 

  • Malicious actions require a defendant to consciously intend to harm the victim.
  • The proof of fraud requires plaintiff to show intentional deceit used to leave their victim without their property or legal rights.
  • Proving reckless behavior in a grossly negligent manner that caused harm, which can include firing a gun in public or driving drunk. 

Calculating Damages 

Your best bet to put together the correct demands is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, like those at McKeehan Law Group. To get you ready, we’ll review the basic things that you’ll need to consider. 

Calculating Economic Damages requires hard data, so keep your invoices, receipts, and insurance claim information. Start documenting quickly, so you’ll have everything. Also, you must provide proof of lost wages.

Working with your personal injury lawyer, you compose a demand letter that contains the compensation sought for your personal injury. Usually, your demand letter sets a place to start negotiations by stating an amount a lot higher than the amount with which you’d be satisfied. A common practice is to state an amount of 75% to 100% higher than you need and work from there.  In your demand letter be sure to include a summary of the strongest factors of your claim to encourage negotiation. Don’t forget to include the attorney fees you’re likely to incur as part of any settlement amount. Those bills can add up quickly.

It’s important to note that Tennessee caps most non-economic damage amounts at $750,000. The law allows a higher cap of $1 million for some extremely serious injuries, like amputations, paralysis, or wrongful death of a child.

Tennessee Punitive Damage Cap 

Asking for punitive damages is rarely successful, but you can try. In the circumstances that qualify, it’s important to know some specific information regarding this in Tennessee. The law limits the amount a plaintiff can recover in punitive damages. For punitive damage the Tennessee cap is $500,000 or twice the compensatory damages awarded.

Shared Negligence

Keep in mind that any finding of shared negligence can impact the damages you can recover. Tennessee follows a rule called “modified comparative fault”. If the accident was your fault in any way, the amount will be reduced by the percent of fault found. For example, if a driver pulls out in front of you and causes a wreck and you’re found to be texting at the time, the court might say you bear 25% responsibility for the wreck. In this case you can only collect 75% of the total economic damages you might need. 

If you find yourself contemplating a personal injury lawsuit, call an attorney at McKeehan Law Group right away at (865) 294-8008 or send a message through the website. Remember that you only have one year after the date of the accident to file.


2021 Tennessee Handgun Carry Bill

The state of Tennessee’s updated gun law to allow permitless open and concealed carry of legally owned firearms takes effect in July 2021. That sounds pretty cut-and-dried, but before you head out the door read this overview of what has changed…. And what hasn’t.

Changes to Tennessee Gun Carry Law

Starting with the ‘new’ rules around carrying a firearm in Tennessee with its new “constitutional carry” law:

  • Basically, anyone over the age of 21 can open- or conceal-carry a handgun without a permit.
  • The law also grants members of the military (active or honorably discharged) who fall into the 18-20 year old age group the right to permitless carry.
  • There are some exceptions to this rule for certain people with specific mental issues or criminal convictions.
  • Penalties for gun thefts have increased, making the theft a class-E felony rather than a CLASS-A misdemeanor.
  • There can be enhanced charges if theft occurs from a motor vehicle.
  • Sentences for gun theft increase from no less than 30 days confinement to no less than 180 days.
  • The constitutional carry bill changes the licensing requirement for handguns only and does not apply to long guns.

What Tennessee Gun Laws Didn’t Change

It is also important to note what hasn’t changed in Tennessee gun law:

  • The permitless handgun carry law pertains only to law-abiding citizens who have been able to legally purchase a gun.
  • Permits are still available for citizens to attain, which can be necessary to legally carry in other states.
  • Private property owners still determine if carrying a firearm on their property is allowed. Those who are not members of law enforcement are required to abide by their rules.
  • The new permitless carry law does not change laws in Tennessee that prohibit certain persons from possessing a gun. Nor does the new law alter any laws prohibiting the misuse of a firearm, including threatening, brandishing or discharging without cause.
  • The law does not change the places where carrying a firearm is prohibited. And it does not change when it can and cannot be used in the defense of self and others.
  • There is no change to Tennessee’s reciprocity laws for handgun carry for visitors.

What Exactly Does the New Tennessee Open Carry Handgun Law Say?

Full Bill, as published by the state of Tennessee in their 2021 Legislative Report:

SB765/HB786 Handgun carry permits and offenses involving handguns.

Sponsors: Sen. Johnson, Jack , Rep. Lamberth, William

Summary: Creates an exemption for unlawful carrying of a firearm if the person meets the qualifications for an enhanced handgun carry permit, lawfully possesses the handgun and is in a place where they have a right to be. Clarifies that a person who has a valid enhanced handgun carry TCCY Legislative Report 5/27/2021 23 permit, a concealed handgun carry permit or lawfully carries a handgun is allowed to transport and store a firearm and ammunition in their vehicle. Changes the requirements for carrying a handgun carry permit to only being required to do so when carrying a handgun in a location or manner that would otherwise be prohibited if not for the person's status as a permit holder.

Upgrades the charge of theft of a firearm from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony for thefts valued at less than $2,500. Changes the sentence for theft of a firearm from no less than 30 days confinement to no less than 180 days confinement. Allows the court to consider if an offense involved the theft of a firearm from a motor vehicle as a sentence enhancement factor. Establishes that for certain firearms offenses there is to be no release eligibility before the offender serves 85 percent of their sentence. Part of Administration Package.

Amendment Summary: Senate amendment 1 (004122) deletes and adds language to the original bill such that any person at least 21 years old or at least 18 years old and is a member of or honorably discharged or retired from the United States Armed Forces or any National Guard or Reserves is exempt from the offense of open or concealed carrying of a firearm with the intent to go armed if legally in possession and not prohibited from carrying a firearm.

Creates a Class B misdemeanor offense for a person to carry a handgun who has been convicted of stalking, aggravated stalking, or especially aggravated stalking, convicted of two or more DUIs within the last ten years or one within the last five years. Creates a Class B misdemeanor offense for a person to carry a handgun who has been adjudicated as a mental defective, judicially committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution or has had a court appoint a conservator for the person by reason of a mental defect.

Senate Status: 03/18/21 - Senate passed with amendment 1 (004122).

House Status: 03/29/21 - House passed.

Executive Status: 04/12/21 - Enacted as Public Chapter 0108 effective July 1, 2021.

If you find yourself in a situation related to this law or others, contact the attorneys of McKeehan Law Group to schedule a free consultation at (865) 294-8008.

New Tennessee Family Laws in 2021

Each year, Tennessee’s government enacts legislation and laws that changes the legal landscape across the state. The new laws range from slight adjustments and clarifications to rather monumental changes. Most of these laws go into effect in July 2021, while others are already valid, so keep them in mind as the year unfolds.

There were a number of laws enacted that make adjustments to existing rules for Child Custody and Parental rights. They address a variety of factors, including the following:

In addition to the above new laws governing Child Custody in Tennessee, there are a couple of more general protection laws passed.

  • SB270/HB389: Submission of medical records of adopted child. This law is a measure to protect adopted children from abuse. It requires adoptive parents who receive financial adoption assistance from the government to confirm their child’s wellbeing by submitting medical records from their child’s annual physical, proof of full-time school enrollment or other verification method.
  • SB621/HB434 : Creates lifetime order of protection. Allows for an issuance of a lifetime order of protection to a victim of certain felony offenses.
  • SB327/HB384: Evelyn Boswell's Law.If a parent does not report a child under their charge and care as missing to a law enforcement agency or the TBI within 24 hours of discovering that the child is missing, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

If you have any questions regarding any of these laws or find yourself in a situation to which they might apply, call the attorneys of McKeehan Law Group to schedule a free consultation at (865) 294-8008.


(Click here for the full official list of new Tennessee laws from which the following were pulled.)

Parental Rights and Child Custody:

SB205/HB200 - Termination of parental rights.

Sponsors:    Sen. Haile, Ferrell , Rep. Carter, Mike

Summary:    Requires courts consider relevant and child centered factors applicable to the particular case before the court. Clarifies that the court is not required to consider all factors and may consider relevant factors other than those listed.

Fiscal Note: (Dated January 26, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT

Senate Status: 03/25/21 - Senate passed.

House Status: 04/08/21 - House passed.

Executive Status:    04/26/21 - Enacted as Public Chapter 0190 effective April 22, 2021.

SB274/HB326 - Removal of custody rights for parent convicted of statutory rape.

Sponsors:    Sen. Rose, Paul , Rep. Moody, Debra

Summary:    Removes custody, visitation, or inheritance rights for a parent who has been convicted of statutory rape, aggravated statutory rape, statutory rape by an authority figure, or lesser included offenses of rape, from which crime the child was conceived.

Fiscal Note: (Dated January 23, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT

Senate Status: 03/01/21 - Senate passed.

SB750/HB765 - Adjustment of child support orders.

Sponsors:    Sen. Johnson, Jack , Rep. Lamberth, William

Summary:    Removes the requirement that the significant variance amount established by the department provide the lower threshold for modification of child support orders for low-income persons and allows the department to review and seek an adjustment of an obligation once aware of a change in circumstances for a party to a Title IV-D child support case.

Fiscal Note: (Dated February 24, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT

Senate Status: 04/05/21 - Senate passed.

House Status:  03/22/21 - House passed.

Executive Status:    04/26/21 - Enacted as Public Chapter 0227 effective July 1, 2021.

SB1366/HB237 - Written findings of fact and conclusions of law to support a custody arrangement or parenting plan.

Sponsors:    Sen. Bell, Mike , Rep. Littleton, Mary

Summary:    Requires a court to include written findings of fact and conclusions of law to support a custody arrangement or parenting plan, unless both parents have agreed. Requires the department of children's services to consider a child's other natural or adoptive parent before considering any other relative when placing a child who has been removed from one parent's home.

Amendment Summary: House amendment 1 (006842) removes the public policy statement in the bill that specifies the it is the public policy of the state to maximize the participation of both parents pursuant to present law. Adds that a child's other natural or adoptive parent will not be eligible for the kinship foster care program or any payments for kinship foster care under the program. This amendment also adds to the bill and revises the present law provision defining of abandonment for the purposes of terminating the parental or guardian rights of a parent or parents or a guardian or guardians of a child in order to make that child available for adoption.

Present law provides that abandonment means, among other things, that a child, as a newborn infant aged 72 hours or less, was voluntarily left at a facility by such infant's mother, the mother failed to visit or seek contact with the infant for a period of 30 days after delivery, and for a period of 30 days after notice was given and no less than 90 days cumulatively, the mother failed to seek contact with the infant through the department or to revoke her voluntary delivery of the infant. This amendment changes the applicable age of the infant from "72 hours or less" to "two weeks or younger."

Fiscal Note: (Dated February 2, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT

Senate Status: 04/22/21 - Senate passed.

House Status:  04/19/21 - House passed with amendment 1 (006842).

Executive Status:    05/04/21 - Signed by governor.

SB1388/HB1168 - Determining custody of a child based off of a parent's disability.

Sponsors:    Sen. Kyle, Sara , Rep. Harris, Torrey

Summary:    Establishes that the disability of a parent cannot be the sole factor considered by the court when determining custody of the child unless the disability impacts the parent's ability to meet the child's needs. Specifies that the disability of a parent or guardian cannot be the sole factor considered by the court in a termination of parental rights proceeding unless it impacts the parent's ability to meet the child's needs or the psychological welfare of the child. Broadly captioned.

Fiscal Note: (Dated March 4, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT

Senate Status:         04/05/21 - Senate passed.

House Status:          03/29/21 - House passed.

Executive Status:    04/26/21 - Enacted as Public Chapter 0235 effective July 1, 2021


SB270/HB389 - Submission of medical records of adopted child.

Sponsors:    Sen. Yager, Ken , Rep. Littleton, Mary

Summary:    Requires the department of children's services to require a person receiving federal or state-funded adoption assistance from the department for adopting a child to submit medical records from the adopted child's annual physical examination, full-time school enrollment, or other verification of the child's well-being. Specifies that the department may initiate a visit to ascertain the well-being of the child if the person fails to provide the required documentation.

Amendment Summary:      Senate amendment 1 (004174) allows a person receiving adoption assistance to provide the department with verification from the adopted child's current medical or mental health professional provider or verification of full-time school enrollment from the school the child attends. This amendment specifies that the verification forms must not require any records from those providing the verification.

Fiscal Note: (Dated February 19, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT

Senate Status: 03/11/21 - Senate passed with amendment 1 (004174).

House Status: 04/05/21 - House passed.

Executive Status:    04/26/21 - Enacted as Public Chapter 0163 effective July 1, 2021.

SB621/HB434 - Creates lifetime order of protection.

Sponsors: Sen. Bell, Mike , Rep. Lamberth, William

Summary:    Permits service of ex parte orders of protection for up to one year from issuance. Creates a lifetime order of protection that can be issued to a victim of certain felony offenses, which prohibits the respondent from coming about the petitioner for any purpose, from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly.

Amendment Summary:      Senate amendment 1 (003874) deletes language of the original bill without making any substantive changes to the legislation.

Fiscal Note: (Dated February 19, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT

Senate Status: 03/11/21 - Senate passed with amendment 1 (003874).

House Status:  03/15/21 - House passed.

Executive Status:    04/06/21 - Enacted as Public Chapter 0060 effective July 1, 2021.

 SB327/HB384 - Evelyn Boswell's Law. 

Sponsors: Sen. Lundberg, Jon , Rep. Crawford, John

Summary: Enacts the "Evelyn Boswell Law," which requires a parent who knows, learns, or believes that a child under the parent's charge and care is missing to report the child as being missing to a law enforcement agency or the TBI within 24 hours of determining that the child is missing. Specifies that failure to report a missing child is a Class A misdemeanor. 

Fiscal Note: (Dated January 25, 2021) NOT SIGNIFICANT 

Senate Status: 03/22/21 - Senate passed. 

House Status: 03/25/21 - House passed. 

Executive Status: 04/12/21 - Enacted as Public Chapter 0107 effective July 1, 2021.

Can You Sue a Business for Requiring a Mask?

Yes, But You Probably Won’t Win

As mask mandates are lifted and society moves forward past Covid-19, questions linger about the rights of customers and employees. Some private businesses stick to their Covid rules and/or begin vaccine requirements. These produce two separate questions about mask mandates and vaccination records, and Jed McKeehan addresses each in this story from Knoxville’s WVLT News.


Private businesses are well within their rights to require customers to continue wearing a mask while in their space. As Jed points out, you can sue them, but you’re ultimately going to waste your time and money with a lawsuit. It’s unlikely any judge will rule against private business owners making rules for their own business.

The other question is about requiring proof of vaccination, whether for customers or employees of a business. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule does not apply to businesses asking about the Covid-19 vaccine. So any lawsuit filed based on this will not succeed. Jed points out that HIPPAA does not apply to vaccinations, as it does to other medical records. It does not prevent employers from requiring proof of vaccination or businesses from requiring it of customers or clients.

For more information about filing a lawsuit, give the attorneys at McKeehan Law Group a call at (865)294-8008.





Can you get a DUI on a bicycle ini Tennessee

Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bike & Other Popular Tennessee DUI Questions

Most DUI arrests result from people driving an automobile while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. So when most Tennesseans think of DUI, they think of driving a car or truck. However, there are other modes of transportation to avoid when drinking. Read on for answers to some of the most popular DUI questions related to getting around.

Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bike?

This is the most popular question regarding DUIs not in an automobile. Unlike some states, including California and Louisiana, you cannot get a DUI on a bicycle in Tennessee. The statute for DUI specifies operation of an automobile or other motor-driven vehicle. Since a bike does not have a motor a DUI cannot be a consequence of riding one when impaired. That doesn’t mean you should ride a bike after a night of drinking because it can be dangerous for many reasons, but getting a DUI is not one of them.

Other Modes of Transportation and DUI Laws

Because the law is very specific to motor-driven vehicles, it excludes many modes of transportation. Consider this list of popular questions asked specific to modes of transportation and their DUI risk:

  • Can you get a DUI while kayaking? No, but you should always wear a lifejacket when drinking and kayaking.
  • Can you get a DUI on a riding lawn mower? Yes, even when mowing your own lawn, but certainly if you drive it to the store.
  • Can you get a DUI for driving a golf cart? Yes. See lawn mower….
  • Can you get a DUI when riding a horse? No, but try not to fall off.
  • Can you get a DUI when riding an electronic foot scooter, like those for rent in downtown Knoxville and Nashville? Yes. The state added these to the statute in July 2019.
  • Can you get a DUI when driving a motorcycle? Absolutely.
  • How about when sitting in your car? You can even be arrested and convicted for a DUI for simply sitting in your parked car. The charge can be made that you were in the position to drive the motor vehicle.
  • Can you get a DUI for driving a motor vehicle under the influence of something other than alcohol or recreational drugs? Intoxication from taking OTC drugs to manage things like allergies occurs, so DUI laws not only apply to alcohol consumption and illegal drug use.

Now you have a general overview of the more obscure modes of transportation and how the Tennessee DUI laws apply to them. Being stopped on suspicion or arrested for a DUI is very serious with potential life-altering results if convicted.

Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Tennessee

While true the application of DUI laws to transportation options is narrowed to only include motor-driven vehicles, be aware that the rest of Tennessee’s DUI laws are quite strict. In case you need some extra-incentive to avoid driving while intoxicated, consider these facts and potentially life-altering consequences of being convicted of a DUI in Tennessee:

  • A Tennessee DUI conviction remains on your record forever.
  • Being arrested for a DUI gets expensive quickly. An arrest will cost you at a minimum a towing fee, bail and court costs, if the case gets that far. Add to that any attorney fees you may incur. If convicted of DUI, you will be responsible for additional expenses, including fines.
  • A single DUI conviction will result in suspension your driver’s license to revocation of it. This is in addition to jail time from 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days.
  • Having a DUI on your record may keep you from traveling to certain countries, including Canada.

There are many more things to consider before you get behind the wheel after having a few drinks, and some to remember if you find yourself being pulled over and arrested. Click here for more information about DUI Laws in Tennessee.

What to Do If You’ve Been Charged with a DUI?

A DUI conviction in Tennessee can come with serious, life-altering consequences. It is important not to go through the process and trial alone. Hiring a reputable DUI attorney is important to improve your chances of winning or receiving lesser charges. 

Hire one of the attorneys from McKeehan Law Group as your personal DUI attorney, so they can evaluate and fully examine your DUI arrest to formulate a defense for your case. You’re sure to appreciate having a well-practiced and expert attorney that cares about you. Call MLG today at (865) 294-8008 for your free DUI consultation.