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New Truth in Sentencing Law Now in Effect in Tennessee

 Posted on July 12,2022 in Criminal Defense

Knoxville criminal defense lawyerTypically, twice a year, any new laws that the Tennessee legislators have passed go into effect – on January 1st and July 1st. This July is no different. One of the most significant new criminal justice system laws that went into effect was the Truth in Sentencing (HB 2656) law that passed that addresses violent crime convictions.

Full Sentence

Many convicted defendants who receive incarceration as part of their sentence are often able to earn reduced time off for good behavior while in prison. The average prisoner can earn up to 54 days off for each year they are in prison. However, that all changes for anyone convicted of a violent crime in Tennessee. The Truth in Sentencing law is just that – such a defendant will now have to serve 100 percent of their sentence with no opportunity for earning reduced time.

The law identifies the following violent crimes where the defendant must serve their entire sentence:

  • Aggravated vehicular homicide
  • Attempted first-degree murder
  • Carjacking
  • Especially aggravated burglary
  • Especially aggravated kidnapping
  • Especially aggravated robbery
  • Second-degree murder Criminally negligent homicide
  • Vehicular homicide

The law also includes the following lesser-violent crimes where defendants are now required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence:

  • Aggravated arson, possessing or using a firearm during a dangerous felony
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated assault against a first responder or nurse
  • Aggravated assault involving the use of a deadly weapon
  • Aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury or death of another
  • Aggravated burglary
  • Aggravated kidnapping, involuntary labor servitude
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Manufacture, sale, or delivery of a controlled substance
  • Trafficking persons for forced labor or services
  • Vehicular homicide, reckless homicide
  • Voluntary manslaughter

Opponents of the new law say that it will only lead to higher prison populations and higher recidivism rates now since it takes away good behavior incentives for those who are incarcerated.

The governor did not sign the bill, however. Under Tennessee law, because the bill passed both the House and the Senate, his signature was not required to make the bill official law.

Call a Knox County Defense Attorney

This new law will have a major impact on the life of anyone convicted of a violent crime in Tennessee. If you have been charged with any of the crimes listed above, do not delay in contacting a seasoned Knoxville, TN defense attorney, like Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney. Call 865-281-1000 to schedule a free consultation and find out what legal options you may have to fight against these charges.



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