So far, it’s been a busy year for Fizer Bonding Company in Roberston and Montgomery county Tennessee. Although Covid-19 illness is still with us, the world wide pandemic shut down is behind us.  Inflation is raging, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, and Khloe Kardashian turned 38 years old (for those who are counting). The spate of new Tennessee laws which took effect on July 1, 2022 may have been more like what comes along each January, and been lost in the shuffle of the July 4th holiday. But, many of these laws directly affect bail bonds in Montgomery County.

The pretrial release process itself remains the same. Clarksville inmates who partner with a Fizer bail bondsman are usually entitled to immediate jail release. Defendants who comply with all conditions usually remain out of jail until the judge’s gavel falls.

At Fizer Bonding Company, we “get your tail outta jail” fast, both for personal reasons and legal reasons. Infectious diseases, like coronavirus, are very common in jails. Additionally, people who are in jail cannot work, spend time with family and friends, or do anything else they currently enjoy doing and need to be doing to keep their families together. Jail release is also important for legal purposes. Most people, including most judges and jurors, naturally assume that if the defendant is in jail, the defendant probably did something wrong.

House Bill 978

This controversial provision, which criminalizes homelessness according to critics, makes it a class C misdemeanor to camp near a highway. HB 978 also makes it a class E felony to camp on state-owned property if the defendant knew the land wasn’t specifically designated for such purposes.

There’s a world of difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, especially in terms of their collateral consequences.

Basically, a C misdemeanor is a traffic ticket. Usually, peace officers cannot arrest people for these violations. Instead, peace officers can only issue citations. These convictions usually don’t go on a person’s permanent record.

Felonies are a lot different. Most felons lose key civil rights, such as the right to vote and the right to own a firearm. People with felony convictions often have a hard time finding a good job, especially one that requires a state-issued license, or finding a nice place to live when a background check is done for lease approval. Many felonies also have serious consequences in family court and immigration court.

So, when felonies go to court, attorneys often focus on reducing the felony charge to a misdemeanor. Some defendants raise their eyebrows in these situations, thinking that their lawyers want them to plead guilty to something they didn’t do. But when it comes right down to the actual court date, an attorney will probably point out that a sure-thing plea bargain, especially a charge reduction plea bargain, is usually better than a risky trial.

House Bill 1018

In the wake of recent mass shootings, many politicians want to “do something about it” without significantly affecting gun owner rights. This legislation is just such a compromise. HB 1018 allows the state to run periodic background checks on concealed weapons licensees and revoke those licenses if the license check makes the person ineligible to possess a weapon.

Lawmakers hope this bill will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. More than likely, however, the bill may increase the number of Clarksville bookings that Fizer Bonding Company will respond to when their friend or loved one calls (615) 667-1109 to get them outta jail quickly and for the lowest cost around, on an illegal weapons possession arrest. In many cases, licensees may not know about the state action. Generally, the state sends the revocation notice to the last address on record, which often isn’t correct. So, a license holder could be in for quite a shock when an officer tries to verify it.

It often happens that possession cases don’t hold up in court because prosecutors must establish three elements (proximity, control, and knowledge). Furthermore, the state must prove each element beyond any reasonable doubt.

House Bill 2270

Nicholas’ Law (we must admit we don’t know who Nicholas is) amends repeat offender guidelines for persons convicted of boating while intoxicated. The biggest change is a requirement to provide a negative substance abuse test as a condition of license reinstatement.

Drivers’ license loss may be worse than jail time or probation in DUI cases. Most misdemeanors include suspensions of nine to twelve months. Felony suspensions are a lot longer. Frequently, the penalty for driving on a suspended license is worse than the penalty for the underlying infraction.

Non-DUI suspensions, like too many points on a license, are common as well. The state can also suspend drivers’ licenses for non-safety reasons, such as nonpayment of child support.

Many people think when the suspension period ends, their licenses magically become valid again. That’s not how it works, at least in this context. The suspension remains in effect until the defendant jumps through some hoops, like paying a reinstatement fee and providing proof of insurance.

Tennessee has very harsh mandatory license suspension laws. Tennessee’s generous occupational license laws tend to balance things out. Most people are eligible for broad licenses which allow them to drive to and from work, to and from school, to and from the grocery store, and for most other essential personal reasons.

House Bill 2657

The “Transparency in Sentencing For Victims Act” requires judges to inform crime victims of all factors influencing a criminal sentence. It also requires them to estimate the amount of time a person serves before becoming eligible for release.

Technically, crime victims are material witnesses in criminal cases. They have no influence over decisions like whether the prosecutor dismisses the case, cuts a deal, or proceeds to trial. That’s why domestic assault victims cannot “drop” criminal charges. This bill gives victims a little more say-so in the process. They still have no direct influence over these decisions. But if they post on social media, they have more ammunition to blast the judge and/or the prosecutor on TikTok.

Speaking of cutting a deal, plea bargains resolve about 98 percent of criminal cases. Criminal trials, except in very high-profile cases, are almost unheard of. Generally, people who are out of jail can bide their time and wait for the best offer. People who don’t call Fizer Bonding Company to get their tail outta jail might be tempted to take the first offer, no matter how unfavorable it is.

Senate Bill 82

As far as Fizer Clarksville bondsmen are concerned, this is the big one. This law requires additional bail conditions in subsequent DUI cases. These conditions include an IID, residential rehabilitation, and other conditions which are currently discretionary. A judge may override the requirement, but only if the action is deemed not “in the best interest of justice.”

IIDs (Ignition Interlock Devices) are basically portable Breathalyzers which mechanics attach to vehicle ignitions. The vehicle won’t start, or won’t restart, if the defendant fails to provide a sample or fails the breath test.

Back in the day, IIDs were relatively easy to circumvent. Anyone could blow into the tube. Nowadays, these gadgets usually have digital cameras. So, an IID isn’t completely foolproof, but it’s close. IIDs are also mandatory in most other states.

Residential rehab usually isn’t appropriate after a first-time DUI conviction. But a second conviction, especially relatively soon after a first conviction, probably indicates that the defendant has an issue with alcohol. So, this additional condition isn’t too over the top either. Given the substantial public safety issues in subsequent DUI cases, we’re basically okay with these changes. However, it’s important that defendants are aware of them from the start, so there are no surprises when it comes time to bail conditions and jail release.

For more information about bookings in Montgomery County and 24/7 bail bond release, contact Fizer Bonding Company. We are family owned and operated and have been serving our community for 40 years with compassion and understanding for the stress it can bring to the family. We work hard to make our bail bond services the lowest price around and get you outta jail fast. 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 and the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce

“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”

Fizer Bonding Company in Montgomery County Tennessee

(931) 449-9351

Fizer Bonding Company in Robertson County Tennessee

(615) 667-1109

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