In the wake of a City Paper article highlighting the changes in state law affecting how bail bondsmen operate, Davidson County Criminal Court judges have put bondsmen who operate in Nashville on notice.
The issue is a change to state law that opens up the possibility that bonding companies could make a person pay twice for the same bond before they are sentenced to a crime they have pleaded guilty to.
The Criminal Court for Davidson County, that comprises six judges, have unanimously issued an order stating that bonding companies that executed a bond contract before May 6, 2013, have 10 days (starting July 12) must send notice to their customers that they may contest the surrender of their bond if done before the resolution of their case and may be entitled to a refund of some premium previously paid.
For bonds made on or after May 6, 2013, all bonding companies must notify their customers in writing of the new law. They must do so on bonding contracts no more than one inch above the signature line of all future contracts and must add the notice to contracts within 10 days of the order.
If a bonding company chooses not to comply with the notification conditions, they have 10 days to notify the courts of their intention. The judges also stated that bonding companies that do not comply with the order risk losing their bonding privileges.
Davidson County Criminal Court Judges Steve Dozier, J. Randall Wyatt, Cheryl Blackburn, Seth Norman, Monte Watkins and Mark Fishburn all signed the order.