One of the most critical parts of Tennessee's criminal procedure process is the plea bargain process. Most criminal cases are resolved in the plea bargain process. Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure sets forth the plea bargain process.
I was recently in Sumner County Criminal Court in Gallatin, TN. The court in the bargaining process asked two different defendants if they could pass a drug test. Both answered they could not pass a drug test. A ten-day sentence for contempt was ordered by the court. It was to run consecutive to the original plea bargain sentence.
My question is can a court ask a defendant to take a drug test. I have not discovered the answer yet. Clearly, Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal procedure requires the question being asked. In most middle Tennessee Counties the drug test question is never asked. The court can inquire if they are under the influence of any substance that affects their ability to enter into the plea.
The takeaway is simple. Charged with a crime in Sumner County, Tennessee, be prepared to answer the question can you pass a drug test.