We all know the importance of getting out of jail quickly when the handcuffs go on. The Fizer Bonding Company family owned and operated bail bondsman, have been helping everyone, from rich and poor, to young and old, bond out of jail in Robertson and Montgomery counties Tennessee, for over 40 years. We also know getting out of jail quickly and having legal representation for charges is critical to a powerful legal defense. This becomes even more important if the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation disagrees with a court’s record expungement order, because today it is bound to follow it, per a recent decision from the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In February 2019, the defendant applied for record expungement in McNairy County Circuit Court. The judge granted that petition. A few months later, the defendant learned the TBI hadn’t erased its records in accordance with the court order. TBI bureaucrats maintained that, per the statutes, the defendant wasn’t eligible for expungement.

The Supreme Court basically ruled that the judge, and the judge alone, has the final word as to who is eligible for expungement and who is ineligible. Additionally, the TBI cannot ignore a court order, even if the agency believes the order is incorrect. Let’s take a look at some of the areas around this order and how it can affect a person who has been arrested. 

Expungement and Jail Release

An expungement order erasing a criminal record doesn’t appear out of nowhere. Instead, it’s the end result of a long process that begins with “getting your tail outta jail” 24/7 with Fizer Bonding Company (615) 667-1109. Generally, defendants who stay behind bars before trial, even if that detention only lasts a few days, quickly plead guilty, so they can get it over with.

As far as many judges are concerned, expungement isn’t available to people who roll over and play dead, even if they meet the minimum qualifications. Taking responsibility for one’s actions isn’t enough. Additionally, defendants must show mitigating circumstances and genuine repentance. 

Basically, mitigating circumstances aren’t a legal defense. Instead, these circumstances put the crime into context. If Max shoots Rick, because Rick was off alone with his lady, that doesn’t change the fact that Max shot Rick. But, that explanation does make Max seem less violent.

Genuine repentance is a self-motivated repentance. One where others truly believe that if Max had taken the time to make a different decision, that he would most certainly have done so, and he regrets the actions as he committed them. Incarceration motivates people not to get caught again, but it doesn’t motivate them to change their lives, at least in most cases. Pretrial release gives defendants an immediate opportunity to demonstrate positive life changes. Remember, pretrial release begins with a quick and easy call to Fizer Bonding Company

Pretrial release is available in a few situations. Cash bail is an option for some people that have several thousands of dollars just laying around. But for most people, pretrial release means working with a Clarksville, TN bondsman with Fizer Bonding Company.

The bail bond process usually starts with a phone call (615) 667-1109 to Clarksville TN Fizer bail bondsman where they clearly go over all the terms and conditions of pretrial release with simple, affordable and easy payment options. These terms vary in different jurisdictions and for different offenses. Some common conditions include:

  • Remaining in the county at all times,
  • Working and/or attending school full time,
  • Regularly paying child support and any other such obligations, 
  • Avoiding further trouble with the law,
  • Checking in with a supervision officer, and
  • Appearing at all required court hearings.

Some of these conditions involve a little wiggle room for special accommodations that your bondsman can try to secure for you. For example, if the defendant lives in one county and works in another one, a bail bondsman near you may be able to modify that condition with the permission of the court.

The conditions of bond last until the case is resolved. Guilty pleas resolve most criminal cases. This means probation is given in most cases. Frequently, probation conditions are very similar to bail conditions. So, a Fizer bonding agent sets their clients up for success. The big difference here is, a supervision officer from Fizer Bonding Company is always on your side, unless you break bail conditions…

The terms and conditions of bail aren’t set in stone either. An attorney can modify them later, if need be. Additionally, if the defendant fails to uphold all conditions, an attorney can advocate for a defendant during bail forfeiture proceedings.

Informal Expungement

As mentioned, mitigating circumstances are different from a legal defense. This defense is usually necessary to guarantee informal expungement. If a possible defense exists, prosecutors are more likely to offer pretrial diversion or deferred disposition, the two most common informal expungement vehicles.

If an attorney has time to thoroughly investigate a matter, a lawyer may try to uncover at least one defense in one of the following areas:

  • Procedural: Miranda warning issues and search warrant issues are the most common procedural defenses. Officers must administer Miranda warnings very early in the process, and searches must be based on probable cause.
  • Substantive: Many defendants are morally guilty but not legally guilty. They did it, but the state can’t prove they did it. And, in this context, what the state can or cannot prove is the only thing that matters.
  • Affirmative: Self-defense in an assault or other such case is one example of an affirmative defense. If Max argued with Rick and Rick pulled a gun on Max, he might have an affirmative defense. Other affirmative defenses include insanity, coercion, the statute of limitations, and entrapment.

The defense doesn’t have to be strong enough to hold up in court. It just needs to be strong enough to make prosecutors think twice before they take a case to trial.

Prosecutors have almost complete discretion when it comes to pretrial diversion. Usually, if the defendant complies with basic program requirements, like performing community service and completing some self-improvement classes, such as a substance abuse evaluation or anger management class, prosecutors may dismiss the case. Most of these programs last a few weeks. 

Prosecutors could also offer deferred disposition, a special kind of probation in the Volunteer State. Basically, deferred disposition is extended pretrial diversion. Deferred disposition probation is usually several months in a misdemeanor and several years in a felony. Once again, if the defendant successfully completes the program, the judge dismisses the case.

Speaking of judges in deferred disposition cases, a judge could also unilaterally grant deferred disposition, if the prosecutor doesn’t offer it. Both forms of informal expungement erase the judicial record, but the arrest record remains. 

Formal Expungement

In 2017, one of the most generous record expungement laws in the country took effect in Tennessee. Eligible defendants may erase a prior conviction, even if they have a criminal history. As mentioned in the above story, this erasure applies to both judicial and law enforcement records.

Only some offenses are eligible for expungement. Click here to see a list. In case you’re wondering, and you probably are, DUI isn’t eligible for expungement, but DWI (driving while impaured, a lesser-included offense) is expungeable. Defendants must wait five years to file expungement petitions. The clock starts ticking when the defendant is released from court supervision, not when the judge’s gavel falls.

These minimum qualifications are quite straightforward. However, the judge has the final say, which is why the aforementioned additional requirements are important.

Speaking of importance, it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. Generous expungement laws, like the one in Tennessee, usually don’t last long. So, if you have been convicted of a criminal offense since 1989 and you meet the minimum requirements, reach out to a lawyer ASAP.

For more information about the bail bond process for Clarksville arrests, contact the Montgomery County bail bonds professionals at Fizer Bonding Company. Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. More value added FREE information can be found in our online articles.

“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

**Disclaimer**Be advised that www.fizerbailbonds.com or Fizer Bonding Company LLC is not an attorney or law firm and does not provide legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice consult with a competent attorney in your jurisdiction. www.fizerbailbonds.com provides information only and the site may include inaccuracies or typographical errors. No guarantees are made and the use of the website, content, and any information provided is at your own risk.