Criminal Defense FAQ

Q: What is a motion to revoke bond?

A: Under Tennessee criminal procedure, either party can file a written motion to the court asking for a change in the bail or conditions of the release. It must be by written motion and it must be of a reasonable time before the hearing of the motion. In granting or denying a motion to change the bail or other conditions of the release, the court shall set forth in writing the reasons for its action. The most common occurrence in the state of Tennessee to file a motion to revoke bond is when a person charged with a crime is accused of committing another crime. For example, a person who has a pending DUI charge and then gets arrested on another DUI charge is likely to have a motion filed by the state of Tennessee to revoke his or her bond or to place more restrictions on the one's liberty.

Q: Do undercover police have to reveal their identity when asked?

A: No. Undercover police officers do not have to reveal their true identity if asked. That is why they are called undercover police officers. If you are engaging in patronizing prostitution, an undercover officer will always say they are not the police. In a drug investigation, a police officer does not have to reveal their identity. It is an urban myth that police officers have to reveal their identity when asked.

Q: What happens if I run from the police?

A: Only bad things will happen to you if you run from the police after they have tried to make an arrest. Under Tennessee law, you can be charged with an additional crime of evading arrest. Running away from a police officer is a misdemeanor evading arrest charge and can be punished up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Evading an arrest by motor vehicle makes it a felony evading arrest, which compounds your problem. If a law enforcement officer gives you a command that he or she is placing you under arrest, please follow that command, and do not run away from the police.

Q: What is a motion?

A: A motion is an application to the Court requesting action or some type of relief in a pending criminal case. Usually, a motion addresses an issue that is within the Court's discretion to order some form of guidance on how the trial will proceed or some evidentiary issue. The judge may order some act to be done or not done by the State of Tennessee or the citizen accused. In terms of pretrial motions, these are challenges to certain evidence being presented to the jury or judge due to some legal challenge that requires either evidence be allowed to be used at trial or that it not be considered. Motions can also apply to certain procedural aspects of the trial such as a motion to sever the offense or the State sometimes files a motion to revoke bail bond.

Q: What is a Nolle Prosequi?

A: A nolle prosequi, commonly referred to as nolle, is a formal declaration or motion by the prosecuting attorney that he or she will not prosecute the case further as to some of the counts of the indictment or to the entire case. A nolle is a discharge without an acquittal and is not a bar to a subsequent prosecution unless it is entered after the defendant has been put to trial before a jury duly sworn and impaneled. The most important thing about a nolle disposition is that it can be expunged from your criminal record.

Q: What is an alibi?

A: An alibi is a lack of presence defense. The defendant need not prove that he was elsewhere when the crime happened. Rather, the prosecutor must disprove an acclaimed alibi. A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was present. Under Tennessee criminal law, the defendant must notify the prosecutor prior trial if they are going to clam an alibi defense. An alibi defense is not present in all cases such as a DUI or drunk driving case.

Q: What is the burden of proof?

A: The burden of proof refers to the evidentiary obligation of a party to legal proceedings having to carry the burden of proof to prove his or her allegations during a trial. Different levels of proof are required depending on the type of case. In criminal cases, every citizen is presumed to be innocent till the contrary is proved. The burden of proof rests on the state of Tennessee to prove each and every element of the charges. After the prosecutor is presented such evidence, the defendant may need to challenge the prosecutor's evidence even though the burden of proof never shifts to the defendant in criminal cases.

Q: What is a proffer?

A: Sometimes the District Attorney General will offer a favorable plea bargain offer if the accused makes a proffer. A proffer is simply an offer of proposed testimony or the assistance of providing information for the exchange of gaining a more favorable plea bargain offer. In most cases, the district attorney's office will agree to grant the defendant qualified and non-derivative use immunity for the statement he or she provides in the proffer. The district attorney general usually agrees that the statement proffered to law enforcement authorities cannot be used against the defendant as evidence in any criminal proceeding, unless he or she should testify differently under oath as to any material facts contained in the statement. Basically, a proffer is another tool in representing those charged with drug trafficking charges in Tennessee.

Q: What is an open court bond?

A: In Tennessee, everybody charged with a crime is entitled to a bail bond with the exception of a death penalty case. If you are arrested for a probation violation, you are not entitled to a bail bond. An open court bond is when the judge orders that you be held without a bond pending the probation violation hearing. A lawyer can request that a bail bond be set. In certain cases, a judge may set a bond.

Free Consultation With A Lawyer

To learn more about the legal aspects of criminal defense, please visit our Criminal Defense Overview page. To arrange a free initial consultation with the Law Office of Rob McKinney in Nashville, Tennessee, please contact us online, or call 615-686-2115.