Absolutely, at least for now. Both Montgomery County and Robertson County have enacted mask ordinances pursuant to Governor Bill Lee’s previous executive order. As per that order, any violation of a county health and safety mandate is a rather stiff Class A misdemeanor.
When the coronavirus crisis began in March 2020 many people thought, or at least hoped, that the virus would dissipate as suddenly as it came and that by Memorial Day, July 4th, or Labor Day at the latest, COVID-19 would be a historical footnote. That’s clearly not the case. The spring 2020 lockdown was set into place to effectively contain the virus, but no one wants another one of those. There was too much collateral damage and all of this is still in motion. So, local mask requirements are the next best thing, at least according to some. According to others, these mandates just add to stress and anxiety about COVID-19. More on this below.
Coronavirus health and safety rules are changing constantly. But you can always turn to the Montgomery County bail bonds agents at Fizer Bonding Company whenever you need us. We offer prompt jail release and we answer your questions about the criminal justice process.
The Mask Controversy
Some people think that masks are absolutely useless and that a mask ordinance just gives people a false sense of security. Others believe that masks could stop the pandemic in its tracks and people who refuse to wear them are essentially acting as bioterrorists themselves. Both sides are right, because there are different kinds of masks:
- Surgical Masks: The disposable, paper masks available at Walmart and elsewhere provide a bit more protection than covering your mouth with your hand, but not much more. The Food and Drug Administration has not said these devices are effective. Medical reports usually state things like surgical masks “might” offer “some” protection “if” nothing else is available.
- N95 Masks: These masks, which are commonly used in healthcare environments, are technically respirators. These masks block 95 percent of small particles, including COVID-19 germs. However, most N95 masks have valves which release unfiltered air. As a result, some places have banned these masks.
- Cloth Masks: Tight-fitting cloth masks trap most particles which emanate from the mouth or nose. As such, they are scientifically proven to halt the spread of COVID-19. Train robber-style handkerchiefs are almost as effective. Tight-fitting cloth masks are also almost impossible to wear in the heat of the high summer season and can be especially difficult for people with breathing difficulties.
Fundamentally, the issue here is pandemic fatigue. In March 2020, 75 percent of Americans worried they would get sick. By June 2020, that figure had dropped to 67 percent. The proportion was even lower among certain ethnic and socioeconomic groups. In other words, more people see coronavirus rules as restrictive. And, more people can be pushed to the brink to be willing to embrace, or at least entertain, fringe theories about the virus.
Mask Arrest Issues
Police officers cannot accost mask-less people on the street. The aforementioned county directives only apply to indoor areas in public buildings. Even then, there are some exceptions.
For example, Montgomery County’s order exempts any person “who has trouble breathing due to an underlying health condition or another bona fide medical or health-related reason for not wearing a face covering.” That’s a rather broad exception, especially since a health-related reason could be physical or mental health.
Therefore, a mask violation is a bit like a criminal trespass violation. Police rarely respond to such calls, or at least rarely respond quickly, unless the trespasser makes a scene. That’s because criminal trespass prosecutions have a lot of moving parts.
For example, an eyewitness, who must also be a store employee, must give a statement to the cops and testify in court. It is usually difficult to subpoena these witnesses for a trial, since this trial often takes place many months or even years after the arrest.
That’s not all. If the witness’ court testimony does not match the initial statement almost word for word, an attorney can claim the witness lacks credibility, and a judge will probably agree.
At that point, the judge might throw the case out of court due to lack of evidence. Alternatively, jurors might believe the witness is lying or does not fully remember what happened.
On a related note, arrests like these often involve search and seizure issues. Officers routinely ask suspicious-looking people for consent to search them. Many of these individuals give this consent instead of asserting their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
These searches are legal, but an “assume the position” pat-down search is illegal, unless the officer had reasonable suspicion to believe the defendant was armed and dangerous. Those facts are rarely present in a no-mask wearing case.
Jail Release Issues During Coronavirus
COVID-19 has affected everyday life, and it has also affected the jail release process. In some cases a defendant may be eligible for release without the assistance of a Clarksville, TN bail bondsman.
Both Robertson and Montgomery County have expanded their pretrial release programs during the pandemic. Most nonviolent, first-time offenders are currently eligible for OR (Own Recognizance) release. If the defendant promises to appear at trial, jailers release the defendant on a promise from the defendant and bypass a bail bond. OR release might mean a brief jail stay while officials process the paperwork, but those who are fortunate enough to get this type of treatment best keep their promise to appear in court on their court due date and time.
Frequently, however, no-mask cases do not qualify for OR. Perhaps the defendant has a criminal record or perhaps the defendant resisted arrest, even if by pulling away from approaching officers.
In these situations, where bail is required, a Fizer Bonding Company bail bondsman is the best option. A bail bond is essentially an insurance policy which guarantees the defendant’s appearance at trial. Most bail bond companies near you charge a 10 or 15 percent premium for such policies. Fizer Bonding Company only charges a flat 10% of the bail bond as their bonding premium. There are other conditions as well, such as periodic check-ins. Our bail bondsmen are flexible in these areas and will work with you to make sure all necessary protocol is met, especially during this global pandemic.
Contact Fizer Bonding Company for more information about the Tennessee criminal justice and bonding process in Montgomery and Robertson Counties.Our professional bonding agents are available 24/7 every day of the year to get your tail outta jail and we practice Covid-19 friendly procedures. Our family-owned bonding service has filled the bonding needs of Montgomery and Robertson Counties for over 40 years. Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. For more info about Fizer Bonding Company bail bonds, click here.
“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
Fizer Bonding Company in Montgomery County Tennessee
Fizer Bonding Company in Robertson County Tennessee
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