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Domestic Assaults, Motions to Amending Conditions of Release, and Missed Court Dates During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Montgomery County, TN

Maybe it is because we are all cooped up at home during the Covid-19 situation but whatever the reason there has been a noticeable increase in Domestic Assault cases. A Domestic Assault is defined in TCA 36-13-111 but it is basically just like a regular assault except there is some sort of relationship between the accused and the alleged victim such as spouses, roommates, or family members.

Domestic Violence

A Domestic Assault is a Class-A misdemeanor which comes with a maximum punishment of eleven months and twenty-nine days incarceration. However, there are some additional problems that come with being charged with a Domestic Assault as opposed to an assault that is not domestic. The first major difference is that a person convicted of a Domestic Assault may never own or possess a firearm. This is a major problem for persons whose career requires them to carry a firearm such a soldiers, law enforcement, or security. The second major difference is that a person that has been charged with Domestic Assault will have Conditions of their Release upon bonding out of jail. These Conditions of Release typically require you not to return to the address of the victim, prevent you from contacting the victim, and prevent you from carrying a firearm….etc. These conditions are especially problematic if they prevent you from going home where all your belongings are located.

Why You Need an Attorney

Currently, during the Covid-19 pandemic, these Conditions of Release cannot be amended to allow you to go home or contact the alleged victim without the assistance of an attorney. Even with the assistance of an attorney there are special requirements that need to be met in order for one of our General Sessions Judges approve a modification and everything is being done through paperwork as opposed to going in front of the Judge in person. Further, no Pro Se motions will be granted. Meaning, that if you are unrepresented and try to do the paperwork yourself then your motion will be denied. The Judges want the attorneys to assure them that the Amended Conditions of Release, if granted, along with the new bond amount will be read to the Defendant. A Pro Se litigant does not have an attorney to assure that the new amended conditions will be read thus they will be unable to successfully amend their own conditions of release. The need an attorney!

What is a Blue Motion?

Another problem that has arisen during this time is what happens when Defendants in a criminal case miss court?? Well, the usual resolution is for that person to file what is called a Blue Motion. A Blue Motions is our court system’s equivalent of asking for forgiveness by providing a legitimate excuse for your absence. Without a Blue Motion the Court will likely issue a capias for your arrest (a warrant). When you are arrested you will then have to bond out of jail or remain there until your next court date. The granting of a Blue Motion will cause the Capias to be recalled and the Court will provide you with a new court date. However, the problem is at this time the court is not hearing Pro Se Blue Motions either. You will need an attorney to file one of these motions on your behalf if you miss court.

Here at Hibbeler and Associates we can help you with all these issues. We can defend you in a Domestic Assault, modify the Conditions of Release, or file Blue Motions in situations where you have miss court for a legitimate reason.