If you have $29 and an idle curiosity about your new neighbor, you can obtain that individual’s Tennessee criminal history record. You can also run checks on current or potential employees and current or potential roommates. You could also do the same thing for your son’s or daughter’s friends, provided they are over 17 years of age. Juvenile records are unavailable through this service, at least for now.
Speaking of employment-based criminal checks, negative information usually falls off credit reports after about seven years. But criminal history information is permanent. Unless the conviction is expunged, it will be on your record forever.
That being said, most employers, landlords, and other interested parties only care about the last several years. In fact, if you have an old conviction, you can turn it into an advantage. This is America, and we love a comeback story.
At Fizer Bonding Company, we help arrestees get out of jail quickly, so they are in a better position to fight their criminal cases. Even if you were morally guilty, with the help of a Fizer Bonding Company bondsman (bail bond near me), an attorney can often ensure that you do not have a criminal conviction record.
The Difference Between An Arrest And A Conviction
Before officers arrest suspects, the officers must have probable cause. This standard of proof has no clear definition. United States v. Fuehrer, a 2015 Iowa case, is a good illustration of the nature of probable cause.
Officers had been watching a suspected drug dealer for quite some time. But they could not make a case against him. Finally, surveillance officers clocked him going 1mph above the speed limit. They stopped him, and a drug-sniffing dog was on the scene less than two minutes later.
The arrest was clearly a setup. Officers cared nothing about the speeding violation. They were just trying to trap the defendant. Furthermore, that RADAR gun’s margin of error was plus or minus 1mph. So, officers knew the speeding ticket charge would not hold up in court.
Nevertheless, the judge said officers had probable cause. Even though “the government concedes the officers had an ulterior motive in conducting the traffic stop,” the judge ruled the underlying motive was irrelevant. Additionally, “it is only necessary for the government to show probable cause that the defendant was driving in excess of the speed limit. It has done so here.”
So, this defendant did not do anything legally wrong, at least with regard to speeding, but he was arrested anyway, and that arrest was valid, according to the judge. For that reason, many people do not put much stock in arrest records. But they pay attention to conviction records.
Keeping Convictions Off Your Record
Before we go on, we should talk about using criminal convictions for employment, leasing, and other purposes. People on both sides of this issue should know the basic law.
The state of Tennessee has a ban the box law which applies to public employees. Some municipalities in the Volunteer State have broader bans which apply to public and private employers. These laws usually make it illegal to use criminal records during the screening process. It’s illegal to ask about criminal history, and it’s also illegal to pull a criminal history record. However, employers can use criminal records during second interviews, even in a ban the box jurisdiction.
Furthermore, many landlords refuse to rent to people who have criminal backgrounds. These policies are semi-legal. Technically, landlords can only apply this ban if the criminal conviction is relevant to the lease. Pretty much any conviction could be relevant. An assault conviction means the person is violent, a theft conviction means the person could be late paying rent, etc. Of course, these conclusions might or might not be true.
As for keeping convictions off your record and avoiding this issue altogether, if a not-guilty verdict or a dismissal of charges is not possible to obtain, your options are normally:
- Pretrial Diversion: If the defendant stays out of trouble for about three or four months, pays restitution (if any) plus a program fee, completes some self-improvement classes, and completes other program requirements, prosecutors dismiss the case. There is no downside to pretrial diversion. If the defendant does not complete the program, the process just starts over.
- Deferred Adjudication: The defendant pleads guilty, but the judge’s gavel does not fall. Instead, the judge places the defendant on probation. If the defendant successfully completes probation, the judge dismisses the charges. The downside of deferred is that if the defendant messes up in any way, the judge could sentence the defendant to anything up to the maximum incarceration term.
As mentioned earlier, it’s critical to work with Fizer Bonding Company, a Montgomery County bonding company early in the process. Unless the defendant is out on bond, these options are normally unavailable.
The Future of Arrests and Convictions
All these things, especially arrests, are up in the air right now. Although the movement has lost some steam recently, there is still a push to defund the police. Essentially, a defunded police department might resemble the National Guard. A few officers are on duty, but most of them are on call in case of a natural disaster or other emergency.
If that happens, officers will not arrest nearly as many people. That could lead to a watershed effect of criminal behavior in society and also affect the way people view arrest records as well as criminal conviction records. But once again, but since this will be something new to our society, no one is really sure what will happen.
For more information about the criminal justice process of bonding out of jail, contact the Clarksville, TN bond professionals at Fizer Bonding Company. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact the Fizer Bonding Company and “We’ll get your tail outta jail!” (bail bond Clarksville TN) with oue fast and professional 24/7 bail bond.
Our team truly cares about your health and safety. That’s why we do what we do. Our family owned company has been serving the bonding needs of Montgomery County over the past 40 years and is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. We offer our bonding services for only 10% of the bond amount. For more info about Fizer Bonding Company bail bonds, click here.
“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
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