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NASHVILLE CRIMINAL LAWYERS BLOG

NASHVILLE CRIMINAL LAWYERS BLOG

New TN Domestic Violence Law Requires GPS Device For Bail | Starts 07/01/2024

Governor Bill Lee signed The Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act into law last week. Many bad laws are made from naive yet good intentions. This law is a prime example of the saying, “bad facts make bad law.” Those accused of certain domestic assault, stalking crimes, sexual assault, or violations of an order of protection will be required to wear and have and pay for a GPS monitoring system before being released on bail. No conviction or even findings of fact by the court in a hearing for which the accused is present are necessary to mandate this GPS tracking. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

GPS Requirement For Domestic Assault Bail

Specifically, the law essentially requires the court or magistrate to order a defendant who is arrested for the offense of stalking, aggravated stalking, or especially aggravated stalking, any criminal offense against a person in which the alleged victim of the offense is a domestic abuse victim, sexual assault victim, or stalking victim, or is in violation of an order of protection as authorized by to do the following as a condition of bail:

  1. Wear a global positioning monitoring system device and pay associated costs.
  2. Provide and pay for the accuser to access an app or an electronic receptor device capable of receiving the defendant’s location information and alerting the accuser if the defendant comes near the accuser’s location.

This is a basic summary of the law, but a link to the full text is at the bottom of this article.

Are GPS Devices Required For Bail On Misdemeanor Domestic Assault Arrests?

No, the law says the magistrate “may” order defendants accused of misdemeanor domestic assault charges to wear a device. In legal language, the term “may” is used to imply something is optional for the court. In contrast, the law uses the term “shall” for felony domestic assault defendants. Whether magistrates will regularly choose to require GPS devices for misdemeanor domestic assault arrests remains to be seen. We expect they will. Our domestic violence lawyers will fight hard to ensure our clients are released on bail without having to wear a GPS device.

Call 615-873-5670 to speak with an experienced defense lawyer.

Are GPS Devices Required For Bail On Felony Domestic Assault Arrests?

Technically, yes, because the law says the magistrate “shall” order defendants accused of felony domestic assault charges to wear a device. However, there is one option that TN’s new domestic violence GPS law provides as a way for felony domestic assault defendants to avoid wearing a GPS device: IF the court or magistrate finds the defendant no longer poses a threat to the alleged victim or public safety AND makes such a finding in a written order, THEN the defendant can be released on bail without the GPS system.

Making such a finding in a written order could put the court, and the local jurisdiction in a potentially liable situation should the defendant harm the accuser after their release. As such, the odds of a magistrate doing so are very slim.

However, the odds of domestic assault defendants being released on bail before the mandatory 12-hour hold expires are equally as slim. Yet, our domestic violence lawyers have successfully eliminated or reduced this hold time on multiple occasions. Likewise, our lawyers expect to find success either at the magistrate level or by petitioning the assigned judge to remove the GPS device after the defendant is released on bail.

Have an arrest warrant for domestic assault & don’t want to wear a GPS device?

First, find out for sure that you have an arrest warrant. The process is different county by county, but we have written guidance for determining if you have an arrest warrant in Davidson County. In most cases, your safest option is to contact a criminal defense attorney to assist you. Once you know you do have an arrest warrant for domestic assault, you should definitely hire a lawyer before turning yourself in. Having an experienced domestic violence lawyer with you will give you your best chance to avoid the magistrate requiring a GPS device.

Closing Thoughts On The Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act

The story that was used to justify why this law is needed is a tragic one. You can read about it here, but these incidents are rare, and there are many similar stories where the offender has removed their tracking device. The added protections for actual victims of domestic violence are unlikely to outweigh the violation of privacy this will impose on those falsely accused of domestic assault.

The number of false or exaggerated domestic violence allegations is, in our experience, a lot higher than the 10% that most studies suggest. But maybe our law firm gets a disproportionate share of the innocent clients. Regardless of the actual number, there is a 100% certainty this law will lead to innocent people being forced to wear these invasive tracking devices. I understand how any person who has had a loved one killed or harmed in an incident of domestic violence would see this law as a good thing. But this law applies to those simply accused and is a violation of their rights.

The courts already have the authority to order that a defendant wear a GPS monitor in appropriate cases. Thus, the law stating that a judge “may” order a GPS device can be better interpreted as “encouraged” to order one. This law essentially makes it mandatory in all cases, and it goes too far.

To speak with a criminal defense attorney, either call 615-873-5670 or visit our Contact page.

 

New TN Domestic Violence Law Requires GPS Device For Bail | Starts 07/01/2024

Governor Bill Lee signed The Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act into law last week. Many bad laws are made from naive yet good intentions. This law is a prime example of the saying, “bad facts make bad law.” Those accused of certain domestic assault, stalking crimes, sexual assault, or violations of an order of protection will be required to wear and have and pay for a GPS monitoring system before being released on bail. No conviction or even findings of fact by the court in a hearing for which the accused is present are necessary to mandate this GPS tracking. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

GPS Requirement For Domestic Assault Bail

Specifically, the law essentially requires the court or magistrate to order a defendant who is arrested for the offense of stalking, aggravated stalking, or especially aggravated stalking, any criminal offense against a person in which the alleged victim of the offense is a domestic abuse victim, sexual assault victim, or stalking victim, or is in violation of an order of protection as authorized by to do the following as a condition of bail:

  1. Wear a global positioning monitoring system device and pay associated costs.
  2. Provide and pay for the accuser to access an app or an electronic receptor device capable of receiving the defendant’s location information and alerting the accuser if the defendant comes near the accuser’s location.

This is a basic summary of the law, but a link to the full text is at the bottom of this article.

Are GPS Devices Required For Bail On Misdemeanor Domestic Assault Arrests?

No, the law says the magistrate “may” order defendants accused of misdemeanor domestic assault charges to wear a device. In legal language, the term “may” is used to imply something is optional for the court. In contrast, the law uses the term “shall” for felony domestic assault defendants. Whether magistrates will regularly choose to require GPS devices for misdemeanor domestic assault arrests remains to be seen. We expect they will. Our domestic violence lawyers will fight hard to ensure our clients are released on bail without having to wear a GPS device.

Call 615-873-5670 to speak with an experienced defense lawyer.

Are GPS Devices Required For Bail On Felony Domestic Assault Arrests?

Technically, yes, because the law says the magistrate “shall” order defendants accused of felony domestic assault charges to wear a device. However, there is one option that TN’s new domestic violence GPS law provides as a way for felony domestic assault defendants to avoid wearing a GPS device: IF the court or magistrate finds the defendant no longer poses a threat to the alleged victim or public safety AND makes such a finding in a written order, THEN the defendant can be released on bail without the GPS system.

Making such a finding in a written order could put the court, and the local jurisdiction in a potentially liable situation should the defendant harm the accuser after their release. As such, the odds of a magistrate doing so are very slim.

However, the odds of domestic assault defendants being released on bail before the mandatory 12-hour hold expires are equally as slim. Yet, our domestic violence lawyers have successfully eliminated or reduced this hold time on multiple occasions. Likewise, our lawyers expect to find success either at the magistrate level or by petitioning the assigned judge to remove the GPS device after the defendant is released on bail.

Have an arrest warrant for domestic assault & don’t want to wear a GPS device?

First, find out for sure that you have an arrest warrant. The process is different county by county, but we have written guidance for determining if you have an arrest warrant in Davidson County. In most cases, your safest option is to contact a criminal defense attorney to assist you. Once you know you do have an arrest warrant for domestic assault, you should definitely hire a lawyer before turning yourself in. Having an experienced domestic violence lawyer with you will give you your best chance to avoid the magistrate requiring a GPS device.

Closing Thoughts On The Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act

The story that was used to justify why this law is needed is a tragic one. You can read about it here, but these incidents are rare, and there are many similar stories where the offender has removed their tracking device. The added protections for actual victims of domestic violence are unlikely to outweigh the violation of privacy this will impose on those falsely accused of domestic assault.

The number of false or exaggerated domestic violence allegations is, in our experience, a lot higher than the 10% that most studies suggest. But maybe our law firm gets a disproportionate share of the innocent clients. Regardless of the actual number, there is a 100% certainty this law will lead to innocent people being forced to wear these invasive tracking devices. I understand how any person who has had a loved one killed or harmed in an incident of domestic violence would see this law as a good thing. But this law applies to those simply accused and is a violation of their rights.

The courts already have the authority to order that a defendant wear a GPS monitor in appropriate cases. Thus, the law stating that a judge “may” order a GPS device can be better interpreted as “encouraged” to order one. This law essentially makes it mandatory in all cases, and it goes too far.

To speak with a criminal defense attorney, either call 615-873-5670 or visit our Contact page.

 

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Let us know how Sherwood Boutique Litigation can help you. For the fastest response, call (615) 873-5670 during business hours. If it’s after hours or you’d like us to call you, fill out our contact form or contact us via live chat. We’re located in the heart of downtown Nashville. Check the map below for directions.

The Communities We Serve

We serve all of the Nashville Metro area communities, which includes Davidson County and all the surrounding counties. However, we sometimes take larger criminal and/or civil cases, such as bank or investor fraud, that may involve litigating multiple states. Aside from the larger case exemption, the full list of TN communities we serve are listed below.

Davidson County
General Sessions Courthouse
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Dickson County
General Sessions Courthouse
Criminal Courthouse
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Cheatham County
General Sessions Courthouse
Criminal Courthouse
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Williamson County
General Sessions Courthouse
Criminal Courthouse
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Wilson County
General Sessions Courthouse
Criminal Courthouse
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Robertson County
General Sessions Courthouse
Criminal Courthouse
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Rutherford County
General Sessions Courthouse
Criminal Courthouse
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Sumner County
General Sessions Courthouse
Criminal Courthouse
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Middle District of Tennessee
Federal Courthouse
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