During the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic, traffic stops, which are the most common prelude to criminal arrests, decreased dramatically. But as the worst of the epidemic faded, police officers in Tennessee gradually started hitting the streets again. Within a few months, law enforcement activity was almost back up to normal levels. When aggressive police officers got back in the saddle, they were more anxious than ever to make the arrests that were needed to keep their local community safe.
However, as the title of this post indicates, these arrests do not always hold up in court. Furthermore, officers do not always arrest individuals to convict them of crimes. Some officers make arrests to pad their statistics or as precautionary procedure. As noted, others arrest individuals to defuse what they see as a dangerous situation or to prevent something worse from possibly happening.
Even if a criminal case does not make it all the way through the system, the defendant probably needs to get out of jail fast. At Fizer Bonding Company, our Clarksville, TN bail bonds agents are usually able to offer several different bail options. We are available 24/7/365 to not only get you out of jail FAST, but help you stay out of jail before you have your day in court. We also answer your questions about the criminal law process in Robertson and Montgomery Counties.
We mentioned that most criminal arrests begin with traffic stops. Assaults, be they domestic or otherwise, usually begin with responses to disturbance calls. That beginning often creates evidence problems later, which is one reason assault arrests often do not become assault cases.
Before we go further, let’s touch on the four basic different kinds of assault cases in Tennessee, which are:
- ABC: Assault by Contact is essentially a traffic ticket in Tennessee. ABC charges usually apply if an argument escalated into some pushing and shoving, but there was no physical injury. Technically, ABC could also be something like cutting in line at an amusement park.
- Ordinary Assault: If the alleged victim sustained any physical injury, even if the injury did not require first aid, the ordinary assault provision in Tennessee law usually applies. Assault could be verbal as well, but these charges are almost impossible to prove in court.
- Aggravated Assault: AA could apply if the alleged victim sustained a serious injury. Usually, something bad enough to go to the hospital, like a broken bone, is a serious injury. Alternatively, if the defendant used a weapon, AA could apply, regardless of the degree of injury.
- Attempted Murder: These charges are basically enhanced AA. If the injuries are incredibly severe, like the alleged victim is in a coma, attempted murder charges might apply. Alternatively, expressions of intent, like the classic “I’m gonna kill you,” could elevate charged from AA to attempted murder.
In terms of arrests and bail issues, ABC is different from the other offenses. Since it is basically a traffic ticket, many officers simply issue citations. So, this is one situation where there may be no need to work with a Fizer bail bond company near you.
The aforementioned aggressive nature of law enforcement officers also applies to prosecutors. Generally, prosecutors may file the most egregious charges possible in assault cases. So, they may file ordinary assault charges when the facts really only support ABC, AA when the facts merit ordinary assault, and so on. So, when the prosecuting attorney gets the file, s/he may quickly realize that the facts do not support the charges. Since the burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt) is so high in criminal court, court prosecutors often quickly look for a way out. No one wants additional losses on their records.
Frequently, the evidence problems in these cases are just starting at this point. Especially in non-domestic assault cases, alleged victims often lose interest in the case and are therefore uncooperative. Without this material witness, it’s almost impossible to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Most drug possession arrests begin with traffic stops. Frequently, officers pull over a carful of people. During a subsequent search, which might or might not be legal, an officer may find illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. Then, the officer arrests all vehicle occupants, charging them each with drug possession.
These charges rarely hold up in court, and prosecutors know that. In a Tennessee drug possession case, the state must establish three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Illegal substance,
- Control, and
First, let’s talk about the illegality of the substance. This element is normally straightforward. But, believe it or not, substance identity issues come up rather often. Not too long ago, sheriff’s deputies arrested an area college quarterback for possession of cocaine. Subsequent laboratory tests proved that the “cocaine” was bird poop.
The other two elements, control and knowledge, are even more problematic. That’s especially true if the defendant was in the back seat and the drugs were under the front seat, or the drugs were in the glove compartment.
Frequently, prosecutors offer pretrial diversion in weak drug possession cases. Basically, if the defendant jumps through a few hoops, like performing some community service, prosecutors dismiss the charges. That’s usually the best possible outcome in these cases.
The evidence issues we discussed with regard to assault, lack of evidence at the scene and an uncooperative material witness, often plague theft cases as well.
These things are especially true in shoplifting cases. Frequently, store detectives catch defendants before they leave the premises. Therefore, these defendants are only technically guilty of theft. They took the property with intent to derive the owner of its use, but they did not remove the property. In other words, the store lost no merchandise and therefore lost no money. Not many people want to go to court over a technicality.
That’s especially true if, as is usually the case, none or twelve months pass between the theft and the trial date. Not only have many property owners lost interest in the case. In many cases, they have physically moved outside the court’s subpoena range. So, they are unavailable.
Since theft is also a nonviolent crime, prosecutors are usually quick to offer programs like pretrial diversion, which was discussed above.
Fizer Bonding Company, your best friend to get outta jail FAST!
To “get your tail outta jail FAST” and more information about what to expect during the bail bonding and criminal justice process, contact the Montgomery County bail bonds professionals at Fizer Bonding Company. You can find lots of valuable information to your arrest and bail related questions on our website blog library. Contact us 24/7 to get out of jail in Montgomery County fast and easy. We get your “tail outta jail” 24/7 Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents.
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