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Criminal Defense FAQs

If you have been arrested or are wanted for questioning related to a criminal offense of any kind, you probably have a lot of questions. Our Nashville criminal defense attorneys can offer the insight you need. At May McKinney, we deliver the highest quality defense representation by taking a holistic approach to our clients’ cases. We address the underlying issues and fight for the best possible result – which translates to brighter futures for our clients. For answers to your questions, review the following FAQs. You can also call (615) 265-6383 to speak with an attorney about your concerns.

What is a motion?

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 on 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 at or excluded from trial. Motions can also apply to certain procedural aspects of the trial, such as a motion to sever the offense. The State also sometimes files a motion to revoke bail bond.

What is a motion to revoke bond?

In Tennessee, 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 his or her liberty.

Do undercover police have to reveal their identity when asked?

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 must reveal their identity when asked.

What happens if I run from the police?

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, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Evading arrest by motor vehicle makes it a felony, 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 or resist.

What is a nolle prosequi?

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.

What is an alibi?

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 to trial if they are going to claim an alibi defense.

What is the burden of proof?

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 until proven guilty. The burden of proof rests on the state of Tennessee to prove every element of the charges. After the prosecutor has presented such evidence, the defendant may need to challenge it, even though the burden of proof never shifts to the defendant in criminal cases.

What is a proffer?

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. Often, a proffer is a tool used in representing those charged with drug trafficking charges in Tennessee.

What is an open court bond?

In Tennessee, any person who is charged with a crime is entitled to a bail bond, apart from death penalty cases and probation violations. 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.

For more answers to your questions and to schedule a free strategy session with a skilled Nashville criminal defense lawyer, call (615) 265-6383 or contact us online.

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  • Nearly 80 Years of Combined Experience

    Our accomplished attorneys bring almost eight decades of combined criminal defense experience.

  • Educated In Our Field

    Our team believes in ongoing training in the criminal defense field. Our attorneys are educated in the latest forensic science technology and Attorney Riddle is Trauma Certified.

  • A Team Approach

    Our attorneys work each case as a unit, which is extremely beneficial to our clients. No matter the case size, it's integral to get the experience and knowledge of a team.

  • An Aggressive Defense

    When you choose May McKinney, you are choosing a team that will fight tooth and nail for your rights, your freedom, and your future.

Firm Accolades

  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • American Bar Association
  • TN Bar Foundation
  • Trial Lawyers College
  • Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Nashville Bar Foundation
  • Nashville Bar Association
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