Several Tennessee public safety law changes begin on July 1

Published 12:34 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Jon Styff

The Center Square

It will become a misdemeanor to violate bond release conditions and good time can no longer reduce an inmates sentence in Tennessee beginning on July 1.

Email newsletter signup

A series of criminal justice changes passed by the Tennessee General Assembly go into effect at the start of the new fiscal year, including the bond measure, which will allow law enforcement to arrest someone suspected of violating bond release conditions instead of waiting for a district attorney to file a motion and schedule a hearing on the matter.

“Empowering law enforcement to swiftly address violations of bond release conditions is pivotal for upholding public safety,” Sen. Brent Taylor, R-Memphis, said in a statement. “This legislation ensures accountability and expedites justice by enabling timely intervention, safeguarding our communities from potential harm.”

The Department of Correction can issue good-time credits toward release eligibility but they cannot reduce a sentence, according to another new law set to go into effect.

Tennessee’s Back the Blue act will increase the penalty for assaulting a police officer from a misdemeanor to a felony with the mandatory minimum sentence becoming 60 days and the minimum fine $10,000 instead of previous minimums of 30 days and $5,000.

“The enhanced penalties created by this legislation send a clear message that our state values our law enforcement officers and prioritizes their safety, while they work to ensure ours,” Sen. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, said in a statement.

Tennessee will also begin enforcement of a law expediting the removal process of squatters by establishing a process for law enforcement to restore possession within as soon as 72 hours.