Achieving a bond reduction in Tennessee requires a thorough understanding of the factors that courts look at when setting a defendant’s bond (also called “bond”).
A motion for a reduction of the criminal bond can be filed at any time prior to trial. In many jurisdictions, the bond is initially set by a commissioner. The judge to whom the case is assigned can later reduce the initial amount of a criminal bond. Bail reduction motions can be filed in criminal court (also called “circuit court”), as well as in general sessions. Once a motion for bail is filed, the court clerk sets it for a hearing.
When considering altering the amount of a bond, the judge must consider several legal factors. Relevant factors that a judge must consider when deciding on a motion for bail reduction in Tennessee can be found in Section 40-11-118 of the Tennessee Code Annotated. The court is ordered to look at the following factors in determining whether a bail reduction is appropriate: the defendant’s length of residence in the community; the employment status, history and financial situation of the accused; the family ties and relationships of the accused; the reputation, character and mental condition of the accused; criminal record of the accused; the nature of the crime and the apparent probability of conviction and the probable sentence; and, in general, any other factor related to the risk of flight and danger to the community.
At a bail reduction hearing, the defense will often ask family members, ministers, and friends to testify and be physically present to show that the defendant is sufficiently connected to the community and is not a flight risk. In addition to defense witnesses, the prosecution may summon alleged victims or police officers to demonstrate the likelihood that the accused will be convicted. After all the testimony is complete, the judge must decide whether to modify the defendant’s bond. By weighing all the factors, the judge can leave it the same, reduce it or, in especially rare cases, increase it. Depending on the judge, some legal factors may be more important than others. However, if after the court’s decision on the bond, the bond still exceeds $ 75,000.00 after the hearing on the motion to reduce bond, a hearing with the source is required before the bond can be posted.
After the court’s decision is recorded, friends and family can post a bond for the new amount, with reduced luck. If the decision is unfavorable, there is a procedure to appeal to the criminal appeals court. There is also nothing to prevent a defendant from filing multiple motions to reduce bail. In all, to have the opportunity to file a successful bail reduction motion in Tennessee, the experience of a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the law and the court who has control over the bail amount is required. A good criminal defense attorney is always your best option.