The court system in Tennessee has enacted several new laws passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, one of which will hold public employees to a higher standard when it comes to breaking the law.
Of the 133 new laws passed by the General Assembly which went into effect July 1, the one government employees will be directly impacted by is a law that will make it more difficult to get off with just a slap on the wrist if they are charged with a crime.
Under the previous law, defendants, either civilian or public employees, had the right to apply for a pretrial or suspended prosecution in cases up to a Class C Felony. There were certain criteria the applicant had to meet, such as not having served jail time in the past and having a minimal criminal record. Diversions, both pretrial and judicial, are not offered to sex offenders.
Now, thanks to the new law, diversions will also not be offered to public employees who are charged with misdemeanor crimes. The law does not bar the public employee from asking for a diversion in the case of a felony.
In other areas affecting the courts, a new law will require all new sex offenders who are convicted of molesting a child to wear a satellite tracker that tracks their movements. The requirement is for those offenders who do not have a permanent address. The tracker would have to be worn for the extent of their probationary sentence.
Also in the area of protecting children, a new law has expanded the child endangerment code, making it a crime to knowingly expose a child or to fail to protect it from any issue that presents an imminent danger to their health and safety.
And, in a move that could affect more people than the aforementioned three changes in the law, the amount of a texting while driving ticket will go up by $5 to cover clerk’s fees.