Reduce violent interactions with police
Misdemeanors are lesser offenses, including things like failure to pay a traffic fine, simple possession and missing a court date. The statute of limitations for prosecution of a misdemeanor is 12 months, and sentences for misdemeanors are less than a year. Yet in Tennessee, a warrant for a misdemeanor can remain active for five years.
This means a person could commit a petty offense in 2016 and be arrested in 2021, even if the police did not bother seeking out the person in the intervening years – and even if the person did not know they had an outstanding warrant. Interactions in which police appear unexpectedly to arrest someone for something minor from years ago while they are going about their daily lives – going to work, taking their child to school, or even dealing with an emergency – could quickly escalate.
The goal of SB 1453/HB 1084 is to reduce adverse interactions with members of the community and police officers by reducing the amount of time in which a warrant or summons for a misdemeanor must be served, returned or quashed before it is automatically terminated and removed from the records.
TAKE ACTION: Urge lawmakers to reduce the potential for violent encounters between police and community members.