Bail in Tennessee – Revocation
Changes in Tennessee Law Regarding Release on Bail
It has long been held by the law and the courts that when a person is charged with a crime that he or she is entitled to bail – to be released from jail until and pending trial. In setting the amount of bail the courts must consider several factors including the safety of the public. The courts and the public must keep in mind that bail is not to be used as punishment but is to guarantee the defendant’s appearance in court to answer the charge. Otherwise, the presumption of innocence would be in jeopardy. Often times when the crime charged is a relatively minor offense a person is released on an “own recognizance” or “OR bond“. This simply means that the person is deemed to be trusted to appear in court to answer the charges, and face the criminal process.
Conditions of Pretrial Release from Jail
Along with the amount of bail to be posted (paid), the court also will typically require other conditions upon the pretrial release of a criminal defendant. Obviously, if a person is released on bail or an OR bond then it is in the public’s interest that this person not commit any other crimes. In domestic violence case Tennessee law sets many conditions on the defendant including no contact with the alleged victim, or even the requirement to wear a GPS tracking device. In DUI offenses the courts enforce other conditions of release. Other typical conditions of release include a prohibition on the use of alcohol or drugs, and other such restrictions.
Tennessee Law Now Allows Revocation of Bail
Effective January 2012, the Tennessee criminal courts now have the authority to modify or revoke bail. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 40-11-141(b) provides as follows:
If after the defendant is released upon personal recognizance, an unsecured personal appearance bond, or any other bond approved by the court, the defendant violates a condition of release, is charged with an offense committed during the defendant’s release, or engages in conduct which results in the obstruction of the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial or other proceedings, then the court may revoke and terminate the defendant’s bond and order the defendant held without bail pending trial or without release during trial.
Under the previous Tennessee law, the bail bond could only be modified under certain conditions such as appeal or the surrender of the defendant by the bail bondsman. Under the prior law if the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release, then the bail for the new crime was either doubled or set at “no bond” which means no release – stay in jail until trial and during trial.
Now Tennessee criminal courts can revoke the bond or modify it if the defendant commits a new crime or violates any of the conditions of release, even if no new criminal charge arises. To avoid the revocation of bail, comply with the conditions of release, do not commit any further crimes, and seek the advice and counsel of an experienced criminal law attorney.