Knoxville Tennessee Railroad Property Crimes

Crimes Against Railroad Property

If you have been charged with destroying or interfering with railroad property or some other related offense against a railroad in Tennessee, the attorneys at the law offices of Baker Associates will employ powerful defense tactics on your behalf.

Our experience can help you understand the complex legal issues that arise when you have been charged with a criminal offense. By investigating the issues and available legal defenses, we can often find weaknesses and inconsistencies in the government's case that help protect your legal rights. As a former prosecutor, Joseph A. Baker has the knowledge and experience necessary to properly defend you if you have been accused of destroying or interfering with railroad property or some other related offense in the state.

Destruction or Interference with Property Utilized by Railroads

In Tennessee, you can be charged for knowingly destroying or interfering with any property utilized by the railroad company. Under this law, a person can be charged with interference for not only interfering with the operation of the actual train but also interfering with signals, sidings, or anything else related to the train's functioning.

The General Assembly apparently inserted the mental state element "knowingly" in order to preclude charges where a person accidently or negligently interfered with the operation of the railroad. "Knowingly" here refers to when a person acts with awareness that his or her actions will interfere or destroy railroad property. Thus, when a person's car fails on a railroad crossing, he or she will not likely be charged with interference with railroad property unless he or she knowingly caused the car to fail on the railroad crossing.

Persons charged with destruction or interference with railroads are subject to the same penalties as associated with vandalism. Therefore, the amount of fines and length of imprisonment terms vary depending on the amount of damage the interference or destruction caused. The crime is classified as a Class E felony. (However, if the destruction or interference places a person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, the crime is converted to reckless endangerment, which, surprisingly, could carry a lesser sentence depending on the facts.)

Obstruction of Railways

A person who interferes with the operation of a train may also be charged with a lesser offense - obstruction of a railway. To be convicted with obstruction of a railway, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you at least acted with conscious disregard of a high probability that your actions would obstruct a railway. In the broke down car example above, the state may not be able to prove that you knowingly interfered with the operation of a railway, but it could show that you obstructed the railway if it also proves that you drove the car with knowledge of a high likelihood that the car would break down on the railroad crossing.

Moreover, a person can be charged with obstructing a railway if he or she disobeys a reasonable request or order to move issued by any person who has authority to control the use of the premises.

An offense of obstruction of a railway is a Class C misdemeanor.

Throwing or Shooting Objects at Trains

Under T.C.A. 39-14-413, it is unlawful for a person to intentionally throw or otherwise project a stone or other hard object at a railway car. Here, the law uses the word "intentionally"; therefore, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when you threw the object, it was your purpose to hit the train.

Aggravated Criminal Trespass on Railroad Property

Under T.C.A. 39-14-406, a person commits aggravated criminal trespass if he or she fully enters onto property owned by a railroad company, including any right of way, with the specific intent to harm the property. Aggravated criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor.

Protecting the Rights of Our Clients

Our criminal lawyers have the experience necessary to help you mount an effective defense against railroad crime charges. Do not put your case and the quality of your life at risk by making the wrong legal choices. Discuss your railroad crime case with an dedicated criminal lawyer at either of our offices in Sevierville or Knoxville.

To schedule a complimentary evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer at our office, complete the form below.

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Knox County
2126 First Tennessee Plaza
800 South Gay Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37929

Phone: (865) 521-0001
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Sevier County
121 Court Avenue
Sevierville, Tennessee 37862

Phone: (865) 546-6000
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Washington County
300 East Main Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37601

Disclaimer: The property crime defense, railroad crimes, arrest, defense or other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a lawyer at our firm. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State.

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