Fizer Bonding Company would like to congratulate the successful continuing a trend that began in 2017, the Clarksville crime rate dipped about a half a percent in 2021 and the residents of Montgomery and Robertson counties in Tennessee are thrilled. This decline is all the more impressive given that Clarksville’s population increased significantly during this same period.
Clarksville Police Chief David Crockarell commended the department’s Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation for much of this success. “As a CALEA-accredited agency, we work together to hold ourselves accountable and hold ourselves to a higher standard,” he remarked. Public initiatives such as “Slow Down Clarksville” and “Park Smart” are still being promoted to help assist and continue this trend, city officials added.
Common Crimes in Tennessee
Much of the aforementioned decline was in extremely non-violent crimes, like vehicle burglaries, and extremely violent crimes, like murder. Police officers still arrest many people for the offenses in the middle, and prosecutors aggressively pursue these cases in court. The availability of these defenses usually hinges on the efforts of a Clarksville Fizer bondsman.
During the pandemic, many people self-medicated with alcohol and, in many places, traffic enforcement dropped off significantly. The combination of these two things created a lot of pandemic drunk drivers. Frequently in life, bad habits are easy to start and difficult to break. Drinking and driving is no exception.
Once again, in most criminal cases, the matter begins with a traffic stop. And once again, DUI is no exception. Typically, it’s almost impossible to challenge the legality of a stop. In one rather famous case, a federal judge upheld a traffic stop when the defendant was traveling 1mph over the speed limit. So, police officers have lots of leeway. However, there are some times when it’s possible to successfully challenge the DUI stop:
- Training Day: If the officer is riding with a rookie, a civilian, or someone else who’s learning the ropes, officers sometimes use motorists as test cases. In other words, they pull over drivers to demonstrate the technique, not because the driver did something wrong.
- High Enforcement Periods: During STEP campaigns (Selective Traffic Enforcement Programs), like “Slow Down Clarksville” and “Park Smart”, as well as specialized DUI patrols, supervisors take officers off their normal duties, send them to a certain part of town, and tell them to write as many DUI or other citations as possible.
- Cart Before the Horse: If a driver commits a traffic or other violation, no matter how ticky-tack (aka…ridiculous) it is, that violation probably justifies a stop, unless the officer followed the defendant until s/he made a mistake. That’s not enforcing government traffic laws, but more along the lines of illegally profiling defendants.
Some say that public trust in police officers is at an all-time low. There seems to be a lot of conflicting data on this point. People can do a lot of trash-talk, but when a bad thing happens they usually call the police and put all of their faith into hoping they will help. Therefore, people may be willing to say that a police officer crossed the line, when in fact it may be hard to prove that they did.
Often, procedural defenses like this one take time to develop. So, they’re probably unavailable unless a defendant worked with a Fizer bail bondsman near you and is out free pending trial because, “We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
Assault cases, especially domestic battery cases, increased during the pandemic as well. Now that the lockdowns are over, the domestic battery rate has declined a little, but not much. This may be due to the stress of people having to return to a new work situation, or just having trouble getting back to the workforce and establishing a regular routine.
In the old days, the spousal testimony privilege was very broad. Alleged victims could simply say, on the record, that they didn’t want to testify against their spouses in domestic battery or other criminal cases. Now, this evidentiary privilege is much more narrow. Now, it usually only applies to confidential communications which pass between husbands and wives.
Therefore, in most cases, spouses can no longer “drop” charges in domestic battery and other such cases. Instead, the spouse is only a material witness. Material witnesses don’t have the power to stop government prosecutions. Only government lawyers, and to some extent judges, have that power.
However, the spouse’s cooperation, or lack thereof, may still be an issue. If the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with prosecutors, they basically have two choices, if they want to go forward with the case.
The state can subpoena any witness, including reluctant spouses, to testify against their will. But that’s a very bad scene. Forcing a woman to act against her will isn’t much better than physically striking a woman. Both are going to turn out bad.
An obscure loophole in the hearsay rule, the excited utterance doctrine, may be available as well. According to this doctrine, out-of-court statements made in the heat of the moment are admissible in court, because they’re reliable. People normally don’t lie in situations like that. However, a police officer usually takes the complainant’s statement at least an hour after the alleged assault. By that time, everyone has calmed down, so the exception doesn’t apply, at least arguably.
Once again, such procedural defenses are often effective. But they’re only available if the defendant works with a Clarksville, TN bail bondsman with Fizer Bonding Company. Being out on bond and pretrial release gives a defendant the time and opportunity to build a defense with their attorney.
DUIs and domestic assaults often have procedural defenses, and so do drug possession cases. Simple possession accounts for over 80 percent of the drug crime arrests in Tennessee.
Search and seizure issues regularly plague drug possession crimes. Usually, the seized drugs are inadmissible unless officers have a valid search warrant.
Most drug possession cases are bang-bang cases. Officers pull over a driver for a traffic stop, they see drugs in the car, or the defendant admits s/he has them, and that’s that.
The plain view exception only applies in limited situations. First, officers must be legally at that place and at that time. In other words, the stop itself must be legal. We touched on some common problems in traffic stops, like profiling, above. Additionally, furtive movements, like acting nervous when a squad car appears in the rearview mirror or throwing something out the window, don’t constitute reasonable suspicion. Second, the contraband must be wholly in view, or almost entirely in view. If only the corner is visible, a baggie could contain a rock of crack or a bologna sandwich.
Procedural defenses could apply to the defendant’s statements as well. Usually, these statements are inadmissible, and so is any evidence they lead to, unless officers properly Mirandized the defendant (you have the right to remain silent, etc.). The law in this area is complex, so you need a good lawyer when you are out on bond and go to court.
Again, our congratulations to the law enforcement professionals, dropping the Clarksville crime rate. Fizer Bonding Company is family owned and serving its community in bail bonds for over 35 years. For more information about the bail bond process, contact the Montgomery County bail bondsman at Fizer Bonding Company. We offer fast, respectful, and courteous 24/7 bail bond service! More value added FREE information can be found in our online articles. Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents.
“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
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