According to the American Bar Association, the purpose of bail is simply to ensure that defendants who have been released will appear for trial and all pretrial hearings for which they must be present. In Tennessee, all persons charged with a criminal offense are entitled to a reasonable bail, except those charged with capital offenses where the proof is evident or the presumption great.

The Court has wide discretion in determining the amount of bail. However, Tennessee Code Section 40-11-115 outlines the factors that the Court must take into consideration. Those factors are as follows:

(1)The defendant's length of residence in the community;

(2)The defendant's employment status and history, and financial condition;

(3)The defendant's family ties and relationships;

(4)The defendant's reputation, character and mental condition;

(5)The defendant's prior criminal record, including prior releases on recognizance or bail;

(6)The identity of responsible members of the community who will vouch for defendant's reliability;

(7)The nature of the offense and the apparent probability of conviction and the likely sentence, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance; and

(8)Any other factors indicating the defendant's ties to the community or bearing on the risk of willful failure to appear.

If a friend or family member is in jail with an unreasonably high bail amount, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get the bail reduced if the above factors indicate that the person is not a flight risk and will indeed appear for all future Court dates. McFarland Law Office, located in Clarksville, Montgomery County, would be happy to review these factors with you and, if appropriate, present a strong argument to the Court to reduce bail to a reasonable amount, allowing your loved one to return home. Consultations are always free and we can be reached at (931) 919-4376.

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