How To Dress Properly For Court

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It doesn’t matter if you’re in civil or legal court, you want to make sure you’ve dressed appropriately. The good news is that getting dressed for court isn’t difficult. It’s also likely that you have most of the items needed to make a good impression so you don’t have to worry about the expense of a shopping trip.

The first thing to consider is the color of the clothing you’re going to wear. It’s suggested that you stick to conservative, neutral colors. Most people opt for dark colors.

It’s a good idea to layer. Some courtrooms run hot and some are cold. While you’re in court you want to be paying attention. You don’t want to worry about freezing or overheating. Layers allow you to peel off a jacket or cardigan if the courtroom is warmer than expected.

Choose clean clothing. In addition to making sure that everything you wear to the courtroom is clean, take a few minutes to check for stains and tears. Depending on the type of material your court clothes are made out of, you might have to give yourself enough time to iron them before leaving court.

You want to appear nicely dressed while you’re in court, but since you could be sitting for a long time, you also want to choose comfortable clothing. Avoid anything that bunches, twists, is too tight, or that tends to pinch. You want to pay attention to the judge and the lawyers, you don’t want to be playing with your clothing.

When dressing for court, you should strive for a professional look. If you don’t own a suit, at least consider a nice button-down shirt and a pair of slacks. If you don’t own slacks look for a dark pair of jeans that fits well.

If you must wear jewelry, keep it simple, tasteful, and minimal. There are two reasons for this. Clunky and jangly jewelry is distracting in a courtroom setting. It can also make you look less serious. The second reason to wear as little jewelry as possible is so that you have less to remove when going through metal detectors.

It’s likely that you’re supposed to be in court relatively early in the morning and you don’t want to be late. Decide what you’re planning on wearing to the court the night before and lay everything out. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and still arrive in the courtroom on time.

 

How To Get Free Legal Assistance In Tennessee

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Nearly everyone has a point in their life where they need some sort of legal advice. If you’re lucky, you have enough money that you can pay a lawyer for their time. Sadly, not everyone is in this position. The good news is that whether you need answers to a few legal questions involving how to care for an elderly parent or need a good defense lawyer for an upcoming trial, Tennessee does have free legal assistance programs.

Public Defenders

Every American should know that if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law, they’re entitled to a defense attorney. There’s a well-known line in the Miranda Rights that states, “If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” The reason the line is in the Miranda Rights is so that you understand that getting a good lawyer on your side is an extremely good idea.

It doesn’t matter if you are or aren’t guilty of the crime you’ve been charged with, you should have a lawyer in your corner. Even if you plan on pleading guilty they can advise you of your rights and even help negotiate a plea bargain. A court-appointed lawyer is better than no lawyer at all.

Legal Assistance And Advice

While the courts are required to assign a court-appointed lawyer to you if you’re charged with a crime, no one is obligated to provide you with free legal assistance. The good news is that there are several organizations scattered throughout Tennessee that have created programs that will provide you with either free or low-cost legal advice and assistance. If you contact an organization that doesn’t have the experience needed to help with your specific issue, they’ll likely provide you with the contact information of a group that does.

The biggest problem with using free legal aid programs is that they are usually only found in cities. Individuals who live in rural areas and small towns will usually have to look in more heavily developed areas when they need free legal counseling.

Don’t ever think that a lack of money makes it impossible for you to get your legal questions answered. There are resources out there that are far more reliable than posting your questions on social media sites and hoping for the best.

 

Understanding Tennessee’s Jury Duty

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U.S. citizens who reside in the United States can receive a letter in the mail that summons them to serve on a jury. This is called jury duty. If selected to serve on the jury you’ll listen to a court case and use what you learned during the trial to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

Who is Eligible For Jury Duty?

In Tennessee, there are some people who aren’t required to respond to a jury duty summons. People who are exempt include:

  • Residents who aren’t U.S. citizens.
  • Anyone under the age of 18.
  • Anyone who demonstrates that they don’t have a strong enough grasp of the English language to adequately understand/discuss the details of the case.
  • Anyone who has been convicted of a felony and not yet had their civil rights restored.
  • Anyone who lacks the ability to care for themselves and is under a conservatorship.
  • Anyone who has received a jury duty summons within the last 12 months.

You can only be asked to serve on a jury that is taking place in the county you legally reside in.

How Long Does Tennessee Jury Duty Last?

Tennessee has what is called a one-day or one-trial policy for jury duty. This policy was adopted in 1999 in an attempt to make things simpler for jurors and their employers. The way this works is that a juror is not required to serve more than one day of on-call jury duty. This means that if the person is called into the courthouse for jury duty selection and isn’t selected, they have still fulfilled their one-year requirement and can’t be summoned for jury duty for a full twelve months.

If the juror is assigned to on-call or standby jury service they only have to remain on-call for five days. After that, they are released from jury duty for a year.
If you’re selected as a jury member for a trial case, you will have to sit through the entire trial. Once the trial is over, you’ll be released from jury duty for a full year.

Are You Paid For Jury Duty?

Tennessee does have a policy in place to make sure that anyone who responds to a jury duty summons is paid, but you won’t make enough to cover the cost of not going to work. The policy is that you’re paid $15 a day for jury duty. You’ll also receive a $0.34 reimbursement for each mile you have to commute to the courthouse. The mileage reimbursement only covers your commute to the courthouse, not home, and only kicks in if you’re assigned to a trial and have to make the commute more than one day. Some counties have a policy in place that covers the cost of public/mass transportation.

The exception to the $15 a day payment is government employees who receive their full pay plus their benefits.

What If You Neglect To Respond To A Jury Duty Summons?

While it’s easy to understand that urge to ignore a jury duty summons, it’s something you’ll later regret. You’re legally required to respond. A failure to respond to the summons will result in you potentially being fined up to $1,500 and possibly even have to serve some jail time.

If an emergency comes up, you can’t simply fail to show up for jury duty. In the event of an emergency, you have to contact the courthouse as quickly as possible. If the judge feels the emergency is valid and severe, they will excuse you. This is true even if you’re in the middle of a trial jury. Be prepared to provide proof of the emergency.

 

What Happens If You’re Accused Of Extortion In Tennessee

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California lawmakers consider the act of using a threat or force to compel someone into giving you something, usually money or property, that they’d prefer to keep for themselves. In Tennessee, extortion and blackmail are considered the same thing.

In Tennessee, extortion is considered an extreme situation. It is a felony with none of the wiggle room that’s connected to Tennessee’s wobbler laws.

Over the years, several extortion cases have made their way through the Tennessee court system. Some of these cases involved a burglar threatening the life or physical safety of the homeowner unless the owner revealed the location of valuables. There have been cases of public officials being blackmailed in an attempt to influence their vote. Some athletes have found themselves involved in extortion cases after someone placed a large bet that hinged on a certain team winning or losing. Eldercare extortion cases are also common. In these cases, care is withheld until the elder provides money to the caretaker.

The problem with extortion cases is that it’s not easy to put together a good defense. The most commonly used defenses are that the extortion didn’t happen and that the defendant was falsely accused. There have occasionally been people who’ve beaten extortion charges when it was revealed that the person or victim who filed the charges ultimately didn’t give in to the extortion.

If you’re charged with extortion, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced defense attorney right away and start preparing your case. If you want to argue mistaken identity or false accusations, you’ll have to find witnesses and prepare documented proof that there is no way you benefited from the alleged extortion. In the case of false accusations, it’s a good idea to have proof that the individual who filed the charges stand to gain in some way if you’re convicted or that they have a history of making your life difficult.

Because extortion in Tennessee is a felony offense, if you’re convicted, you’ll serve time in a state prison.

If convicted you could be forced to:

  • Serve a maximum of a four-year prison sentence
  • Be required to pay a $10,000 fine
  • Have to make restitution

In some cases, particularly first-time extortion offenses, the judge has opted to allow the defendant to serve felony probation rather than prison time.

If you’re convicted of extortion, the felony record not only damages your reputation, but it can also make everything from getting a job, to acquiring a house, and even securing a line of credit difficult.

 

About Our Online Bail Bonds Program

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If you live out of state, struggle with transportation or aren’t in a position where you can make a trip to the Action Bail Bonding office, but also need to arrange to bail a loved one out of jail, you should seriously consider our online bail bonds program.

What Is Our Online Bail Bonds Program?

Our online bail bonds program is quite similar to an online car insurance program. Instead of calling, you use the Chat With Us link which immediately puts you in touch with one of our bail bond experts. During the FREE bail bond consultation, our expert will listen to the unique details of your situation. They will also discuss how the Action Bail Bonding program works. If you want us to provide the bail for your loved one, the next step is going through our online bail application process.

How Our Online Bail Program Works?

Don’t worry. You won’t be overwhelmed by our online application. It’s quite straightforward and simple. First, you’ll have to provide some basic information which includes:

  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Current Employment
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Phone Number

The most complicated part is explaining the circumstances of your loved one’s arrest. Most people find it that it only takes them 10 or 20 minutes to complete the application. Since our bail expert has already discussed the situation, it doesn’t take long to approve the online bail application.

Once you’ve completed the application, we review it and discuss bail bond payment plans. At this point, you’ll be sent a copy of the contract that you’ll have to sign. You can do this by either using an electronic signature program or by printing the contract, signing it and scanning the newly signed form. In addition to the signed contract, we’ll also need a photo of your driver’s license or state-issued identification card.

How Long Before Your Loved One is Free?

We can’t predict how long it will take the courthouse to file the paperwork, but we can assure you that as soon as we approve your bail contract, we work as quickly as possible to pay your loved one’s bail and get them released from jail. In most cases, the entire bail process doesn’t take long at all.

Why Choose Our Services?

In addition to creating a simple, straightforward online bail bonds program, there are several other reasons you should consider using Action Bail Bonding when you or someone you love requires Tennessee bail.

Additional reasons to contact Action Bail Bonding include:

  • 24/7 Bail Bond Service
  • FREE Consultation
  • 20% Discount
  • 0% Interest Payment Plans
  • Over the Phone Approvals
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Collateral with Working Co-Signer
  • Easy to Understand Contracts
  • Discrete Service
  • Se habla Español

We have people on hand who speak Spanish.

Here at Action Bail Bonding, we’ve done everything in our power to make the entire bail process as fast and stress-free as possible.

For a FREE bail consultation with a professional bail agent and to get additional information about how our online bail program works, just call Action Bail Bonding at 901-476-2245 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

 

Understanding Proper Court Etiquette

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Proper etiquette is essential for making a good impression on other people, and this is especially true in the courtroom, especially for the defendant. The defendant is already in the courtroom with a disadvantage; this is the person who is being accused of a crime and is fighting against the charges so the jury finds him or her not guilty. While the jury and the judge deliberate and come to a decision based on the arguments brought forth from the defense and prosecution, the defendant’s appearance and overall courtroom etiquette leave an impression.

Here are some helpful tips on proper courtroom etiquette, which are especially helpful for the defendant:

  • Arrive a little earlier than the start time of the trial so that you can have a few moments with your lawyer.
  • If the defendant is out on bail, they should come to court dressed professionally and muted. This means no distracting and flashy clothing and jewelry. Hats and sunglasses should be removed. If the defendant was denied bail, then they will appear in their orange jumpsuit since they do not have access to their personal clothes.
  • Sit and stand straight. Do not slouch.
  • Speak only when asked to and speak clearly.
  • Answer only what is asked; do not freely provide other details and information.
  • Make eye contact with those who are speaking to you and when you are answering them.
  • Acknowledge the judge as “Your Honor.”
  • Act and speak calmly and with courtesy. Do not let your anger grow.
  • Make sure your cell phone is off or at least on silent. If applicable, leave your young children at home with a sitter. You do not want any disruptions.
  • Use the restroom beforehand so you do not have to use it in the middle of the trial.
  • As much as possible, let your lawyer do the talking. Again, speak only when asked to.
  • Do not interrupt or speak over others. If there is an objection, your lawyer will be ready.
  • It is okay to ask to have the question repeated or reworded. It is okay to say you do not understand or do not remember, but you must be honest.

A defendant’s appearance in court offers insight towards how seriously they are taking this situation. If they show up dressed sloppily, sit slouched in the chair, and make small gestures like smirking, rolling eyes, twiddling thumbs, tapping shoes, and constantly looking around and checking their watch, the judge and the jury will take this to mean that they are not serious about the situation. This could hurt them.

However, if the defendant shows up dressed properly and presents him or herself in court with the right courtesy and mannerisms, then the jury and judge will see that this is a person who is mature and ready to face this situation the right way.

How You Should And Shouldn’t Conduct Yourself In Court

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How you represent yourself in your court hearing is nearly as important as the case your lawyer is making. Your body language, dress, and overall presentation, speaks volumes to the jury, the judge, and others. Granted, some defendants will not be able to present themselves as neatly and professionally as others because they were not able to post bail, but our team at Action Bail Bonding will make sure that is not you. We will help bail you out of jail. Then, you will be able to live at home and better prepare for court. After posting bail with us, follow these general rules of how you should and shouldn’t conduct yourself in court.

  • The night before court, try and get some good sleep.
  • Dress professionally and conservatively, do not overdo the makeup and jewelry.
  • Remove sunglasses and hats.
  • Do not chew gum.
  • Arrive to court early and use the restroom before court begins.
  • Acknowledge the judge as “Your Honor.”
  • Speak and stand when asked to.
  • Answer only what you are asked.
  • Answer yes or no verbally rather than nodding or shaking your head.
  • Turn your cell phone off.
  • Leave young children at home.
  • Remain calm and poised; do not become angry or argumentative.

You and your lawyer will go over court procedures beforehand as preparation, including questions they will ask, questions the prosecution will likely ask, and how to answer both. During court, your lawyer will protect you as much as possible, but remember to leave everything in their hands and not get frustrated.

That being said, if you need a bail bond now, for yourself or a loved one, contact Action Bail Bonding immediately. We can be reached 24/7, online and at 901-476-2245. Consultation with one of our helpful bail agents is always FREE, so do not hesitate to ask any questions and inquire about our no down payment bail bonds and discounts we offer. They will be more than glad to help you.

To learn more about our services, feel free to call Action Bail Bonding at 901-476-2245 or Chat With Us now. Consultation is FREE!

The 3 Different Levels of Crimes

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When it comes to breaking the law, most people know they shouldn’t do that because if they do, they will face consequences. However, while people may understand this concept pretty easily, what they may not realize is that there are varying levels when it comes to breaking the law. Different crimes earn different consequences. This is why people who speed receive different penalties than people who commit murder.

There are three different types of crimes, and they are:

  • Infractions – Infractions are the low level offenses. These include most traffic violations and other smaller offenses such as jaywalking. These crimes are only punishable by small fines. A person will not receive jail time for an infraction.
  • Misdemeanors – The middle level crimes are misdemeanors, and in the state of Tennessee, most crimes fall into this category. Some common misdemeanor crimes include petty theft, shoplifting, drunk in public, and drug possession. Misdemeanors are punishable by anywhere from 6 months to a year in jail, and/or a fine of no more than $1,000.
  • Felonies – Felony crimes are the worst of the worst. Some examples of felonies include rape, murder, and vehicular manslaughter. Since these are some of these worst crimes possible, they also receive the harshest penalties. A person accused of a felony faces more than a year in prison, and/or a fine no larger than $10,000.

Breaking the law is never a good idea, no matter what kind of penalties a person may face. Nobody wants to have to pay fines, or face possible incarceration. That is why most people choose to follow laws rather than break them.

What Happens If You Give A Police Officer False Information

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It doesn’t matter if you’re pulled over for a routine traffic violation or if the police knock on your front door and ask to talk to you, there’s something about face-to-face interactions that causes most of us to panic. This panic can result in us making some bad choices. A perfect example of this is not thinking before providing the officer with false information.

It doesn’t matter if you give the officer the wrong home address or if you pretend to be your younger sibling. If the officer finds out that you have provided them with false information, they will likely arrest you for violating Tennessee’s Penal Code 148.9. This is a misdemeanor offense. If you’re convicted, the judge can sentence you to six months in jail and charge a $1,000 fine. Since this charge will be on your permanent record, if the police ever question you again, they’ll likely be very suspicious of any information they get from you.

The good news is that Penal Code 148.6 clearly states that you have to knowingly give the officers the false information. That word “knowingly,” could be the key component to your defense, particularly if you made an honest mistake, such as forgetting your current home address and providing the police with a previous address. The same is true if you have given them the wrong information regarding your work history, or answered a question wrong during an interview.

If you realize that you’ve provided the police with the wrong information, it’s important to correct the situation as quickly as possible. The faster you alert the police to the mistake, the more the incident looks like a casual mistake as opposed to a deliberate attempt to mislead the police.

Another interesting thing about Tennessee’s Penal Code 148.9 is that you can only be charged with providing the police officer with false information if you provide the false information after you’ve been legally detained or arrested.

Don’t assume that just because you gave the police officer some false information before them formally detaining or arresting you that you have nothing to worry about. Giving false information before the arrest/detaining creates an opportunity for the police to charge you with interfering with an investigation and obstructing justice.

A guilty conviction for those charges results in getting fined up to $1,000, as well as spending up to 12 months in a county jail.

When it comes to the police, it’s in your best interest to be honest.

 

Consequences Of Ignoring A Jury Summons

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The idea of a jury sounds like a great aspect of democracy right up to the point when you get a jury summons. It’s perfectly natural to wonder what would happen if you choose to ignore the letter telling you that you need to report to the courthouse and be considered for jury duty.

While ignoring a summons to appear for jury duty might not seem like a big deal to you, state’s are starting to really crack down on those who do. The exact consequences of skipping out on a jury summons can vary from one district to another, most courts will issue a bench warrant. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the cops will knock on your door, but it does mean that if you get pulled over, when the patrol officer runs your name through their computer system, they’ll discover the warrant and arrest you on the spot.

Even if you get lucky enough to never cross paths with a police officer after a failure to appear for jury duty bench warrant has been issued, the bench warrant can have an enormous and negative impact on your life. There’s been at least one report of someone from Tennessee getting denied when they tried to rent an apartment. When the person investigated the reason, they found that skipping jury duty resulted in a bench warrant that had popped up when the landlord ran a background check. That person hadn’t even lived in Tennessee when the court sent the summons. It took some time, but the individual was able to prove that they hadn’t been a Tennessee resident. They worked closely with the Tennessee state patrol and were eventually able to get the bench warrant dropped.

In Georgia, a woman who ignored a jury summons was sentenced to three days in jail. In Massachusetts, approximately 48,000 residents were charged a $2,000 fine after they failed to obey a jury summons.

A recent report indicated that Action County collected more than $940,000 from people who didn’t honor a request to sit on a jury.

When all is said and done, it’s in your best interest to obey the jury summons. If you have a exceptionally good reason for not being able to honor the request, talk to the judge. They may accept your excuse and let you off the hook.