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Special bond conditions in Nashville DUI cases involving a multiple offense

Posted January 30, 2016Lee Martin - DUI Cases

Nashville DUI attorney explains the “in’s and out’s” of special bond conditions in Nashville DUI cases.  Over the past few years, bond conditions have become quite common in Nashville DUI cases.  This is especially true in cases where the accused is charged as a repeat offender.  These repeat offenders are often confused and assume that they are doing probation after being charged despite the fact that they have not been convicted of a DUI in court.  This is a natural assumption and often leads to numerous questions. 

DUI defendants are still presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in court.  So why are multiple DUI offenders in Nashville meeting with the probation department prior to being convicted of driving under the influence?  Here is the short answer.  This became a reality back in 2011 when the Tennessee Legislature enacted a new law that allowed courts to consider special bond conditions for any person charged with a second or greater drunken driving charge.  In particular, courts may require the accused to:

  • Install an ignition interlock device
  • Use a transdermal alcohol monitoring device (ankle bracelet)
  • Submit to random alcohol and drug screens
  • Order alcohol and drug rehabilitation

Any or all of these conditions could be ordered by the court.  The TN Legislature reasoned that these special bond conditions would help protect the public from continued drunken driving.  I will acknowledge that these conditions can accomplish this objective in some circumstances.  However, this is not true in all instances and can discourage innocent people from going to trial.  It takes several months in order for a DUI charge to be heard before a jury.  In Nashville, it is not uncommon for a DUI charge to remain pending for nearly two years.  When a defendant is order to wear an alcohol sensor around their ankle, this usually costs the accused over $300.00 per month and an ignition interlock device costs approximately $100.00 per month.  These fees can easily total several thousands of dollars while the DUI charge is still pending and the accused is waiting for trial.  This can pose undue hardships and serve as an obstacle for those waiting for their day in court.  Many people find it easier to just plead guilty in order to get it over.  The trial penalty can be even worse for those ordered to take random alcohol and drug screens because the accused will most likely have to take time off from work in order to take several screens over the course of the pending charge.

I usually do not like a one size fits all approach to criminal justice and this seems to be the case when it comes to special bond conditions in DUI cases.  Every case is different and courts should exercise discretion in imposing bond conditions.  Courts do have the ability to alter these conditions if you can show a good reason for doing so.  If you are facing DUI charges is Nashville and strict bond conditions are imposed, talk to an experienced DUI attorney who can assess whether these conditions are reasonable.

To learn more about Nashville DUI defense, I encourage you to watch the videos on my home page and read my blog posts.  If you have questions regarding a pending DUI charge in Nashville or the surrounding counties, please give me a call at 615-345-1988.  You have nothing to lose.  One call could make all the difference in the world.

I help good people restore their lives

-Lee Martin is a nationally recognized DUI and criminal defense attorney.  He provides premier legal services by limiting his caseload exclusively to DUI and criminal matters.  Lee knows how to build a solid defense strategy for your upcoming court date.  Let Lee Martin be your choose as your Nashville area DUI and criminal defense lawyer.   If you have pending DUI charges, give him a call at 615-345-1988.

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