IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF A CRIME, the Tennessee Constitution, article 1 section 35, gives you the right to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse throughout the criminal justice system.

Specifically; you have the following rights

  • 1. The right to confer with the prosecution.
  • 2. The right to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse throughout the criminal justice system.
  • 3. The right to be present at all proceedings where the defendant has the right to be present.
  • 4. The right to be heard, when relevant, at all critical stages of the criminal justice process as defined by the General Assembly.
  • 5. The right to be informed of all proceedings, and of the release, transfer, or escape of the accused or convicted person.
  • 6. The right to a speedy trial or disposition and a prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction or sentence.
  • 7. The right to restitution from the offender.
  • 8. The right to be informed of each of the rights established for victims.
  • 9. The right to make a citizens arrest of the assailant (we will transport the assailant on your behalf).

The Tennessee General Assembly has the authority to enact substantive and procedural laws to define, implement, preserve and protect the rights guaranteed to victims by this section. Additionally, IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

  • 1. You may file a criminal complaint with the district attorney general (D.A.).
  • 2. You may request a protection order. A protection order may include the following:
    • a. An order Preventing the abuser from committing further domestic abuse against you;
    • b. An order requiring the abuser to leave your household;
    • c. An order preventing the abuser from harassing you or contacting you for any reason;
    • d. An order giving you or the other parent custody of or visitation with your minor child or children;
    • e. An order requiring the abuser to pay money to support you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so;
    • f. An order preventing the abuser from stalking you.

PROCEDURAL STEPS INVOLVED IN A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

You may apply to a Judicial Commissioner for an arrest warrant after 6:00 PM at the Sheriff’s Department. Be prepared to provide a list of witnesses (if any) with their names, addresses and phone numbers. Once you have filed a warrant against your assailant, you will be given a court date for the initial appearance in the court of jurisdiction for your case. The accused will then have the opportunity to either plead guilty, ask for a preliminary hearing to determine probable cause for his/her arrest, or waive the hearing and bind the case to the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury will make a probable cause to arrest determination and either return a “True” or “No True” Bill. If a True Bill is returned by the Grand Jury, the case is heard by the Circuit Court. Here, persons can either by tried by a jury of his/her peers or settle a case with the D.A. prior to trial. If a person is convicted by trial, then a hearing is held to determine the proper sentence for the convicted person and the crime committed.

THE NAMES AND PHONE NUMBERS FOR VARIOUS HELP AGENCIES:

(931) 685-0889 or (800) 435-7739 Haven of Hope (Domestic Violence Shelter)

(931) 684-7133 Contact Life Line (Crisis Program)

(931) 684-3411 Bedford County Communications Center

(931) 684-3232 Bedford County Sheriff’s Department

(931) 685-2191 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office (Victim Witness Coordinator, Criminal Injuries Compensation Program)

(931) 684-7221 Judicial Commissioners Office