Under Tennessee Law, all persons charged with criminal offenses are entitled to a reasonable bail amount with the exception of those charged with murder, in which Tennessee law does not require that bail be set if the evidence is strong that the defendant commmited the offense.
The factors the court should consider when setting a bail are found in Tennessee Code Annotated 40-11-115 and include:
1. The defendant’s length of residence in the community
2. The defendant’s employment status and history and financial condition
3. The defendant’s family ties and relationships
4. The defendant’s reputation, character and mental condition
5. The defendant’s prior criminal record, including prior releases on recognizance or bail
6. The identity of responsible members of the community that will vouch for defendant’s reliabilty
7. The nature of the offense and the apparent probability of conviction and the likely sentence, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance, and
8. Any other factors indicating the defendant’s ties to the community or bearing on the risk of willful failure to appear.
If a friend or family member is behind bars with a very high bail amount, a criminal attorney may be able to help you get the bail amount reduced if the factors stated above suggest that the amount is excessive.