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Legal Statutes: Tennessee

UPDATED June 16, 2017

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Part 3. Sentences

back to top40-35-303. Probation

(a) A defendant shall be eligible for probation under this chapter if the sentence actually imposed upon the defendant is ten (10) years or less; however, no defendant shall be eligible for probation under this chapter if convicted of a violation of § 39-13-213(a)(2), § 39-13-304, § 39-13-402, § 39-13-504, § 39-13-532, § 39-15-402, § 39-17-417(b) or (i), § 39-17-1003, § 39-17-1004 or § 39-17-1005. A defendant shall also be eligible for probation pursuant to § 40-36-106(e)(3).

(b) A court shall have authority to impose probation as part of its sentencing determination at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing. There shall be no petition for probation filed by the defendant and probation shall be automatically considered by the court as a sentencing alternative for eligible defendants; provided, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed as altering any provision of present statutory or case law requiring that the burden of establishing suitability for probation rests with the defendant.

(c)(1) If the court determines that a period of probation is appropriate, the court shall sentence the defendant to a specific sentence but shall suspend the execution of all or part of the sentence and place the defendant on supervised or unsupervised probation either immediately or after a period of confinement for a period of time no less than the minimum sentence allowed under the classification and up to and including the statutory maximum time for the class of the conviction offense.

(2)(A) Except as provided in subdivision (c)(2)(B), if probation is to be granted to a defendant convicted of any of the misdemeanor offenses set out in subdivision (c)(2)(C), the provisions of subdivision (c)(1) shall govern the length of the term of probation.

(B) Notwithstanding subdivision (c)(2)(A), the judge may sentence a defendant convicted of any of the misdemeanor offenses set out in subdivision (c)(2)(C) to a period of probation not to exceed two (2) years, if the judge finds that the period of probation is necessary:

(i) For the defendant to complete any appropriate treatment program or programs, including, but not limited to, a sanctioned batterer's intervention program, an anger management program or any court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment program;

(ii) To make restitution to the victim of the offense;

(iii) To otherwise effect a change in the behavior of the defendant, including, but not limited to, imposing any of the conditions set forth in subsection (d); or

(iv) To protect and better ensure the safety of the victim or any other member of the victim's family or household, as set out in subsections (m) and (n).

(C) The offenses to which this subdivision (c)(2) applies are:

(i) Domestic assault, as prohibited by § 39-13-111;

(ii) Assault as prohibited by § 39-13-101, vandalism as prohibited by § 39-14-408, or false imprisonment as prohibited by § 39-13-302, where the victim of the offense is a person identified in § 36-3-601(5);

(iii) Violation of a protective order, as prohibited by § 36-3-612;

(iv) Stalking, as prohibited by § 39-17-315; and

(v) A second or third violation of § 55-10-401 if the judge orders a substance abuse treatment program as a condition of probation pursuant to § 55-10-402(a)(2)(B) or (a)(3)(B).

(d) Whenever a court sentences an offender to supervised probation, the court shall specify the terms of the supervision and may require the offender to comply with certain conditions that may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Meet the offender's family responsibilities;

(2) Devote the offender to a specific employment or occupation;

(3) Perform, without compensation, services in the community for charitable or governmental agencies;

(4) Undergo available medical or psychiatric treatment and enter and remain in a specified institution whenever required for that purpose by voluntary self-admission to the institution pursuant to § 33-6-201;

(5) Pursue a prescribed secular course of study or vocational training;

(6) Refrain from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon;

(7) Remain within prescribed geographical boundaries and notify the court or the probation officer of any change in the offender's address or employment;

(8) Submit to supervision by an appropriate agency or person and report as directed by the court;

(9) Satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to the purpose of the offender's sentence and not unduly restrictive of the offender's liberty or incompatible with the offender's freedom of conscience, or otherwise prohibited by this chapter;

(10) Make appropriate and reasonable restitution to the victim or the family of the victim involved pursuant to § 40-35-304;

(11)(A) Undergo an alcohol and drug assessment or treatment, or both an assessment and treatment, if the court deems it appropriate and licensed treatment service is available;

(B) Unless the court makes a specific determination that the person is indigent, the expense of the assessment and treatment shall be the responsibility of the person receiving it. If the court finds that the person is indigent under the same standards as used in § 55-10-402(j), the expense or some portion of the expense may be paid from the alcohol and drug addiction treatment fund provided in § 40-33-211, pursuant to a plan and procedures developed by the department of mental health and substance abuse services; or

(12)(A) Use a transdermal monitoring device or other alternative monitoring device if the court determines that the defendant's use of alcohol or drugs was a contributing factor in the defendant's unlawful conduct and the defendant is granted probation on or after July 1, 2014. If the defendant is granted probation on or after July 1, 2016, and the court orders a monitoring device but determines that the person is indigent, the court shall order that the portion of the costs of the device that the person is unable to pay be paid by the DUI monitoring fund, established in § 55-10-419;

(B) As used in this subdivision (d)(12), “transdermal monitoring device” means any device or instrument that is attached to the person, designed to automatically test the alcohol or drug content in a person by contact with the person's skin at least once per one-half ( ½ ) hour regardless of the person's location, and which detects the presence of alcohol or drugs and tampering, obstructing, or removing the device.

(e) Probation shall be granted, if at all, at the time of the sentencing hearing except for sentences served in a local jail or workhouse, or except during the time a defendant sentenced to the department of correction is being housed in a local jail or workhouse awaiting transfer to the department as provided in § 40-35-212(d).

(f) The trial judge shall not have the authority to require that the defendant either secure or pay the costs accrued in the case at the instance of the state as a condition of conducting a hearing on the defendant's request for suspension of sentence and probation.

(g) The powers granted in this section shall be exercised by the judge of the trial court presiding at the trial of original conviction or by any successor judge holding court in that jurisdiction.

(h) No probationer shall be allowed to leave the jurisdiction of the probationer's probation officer without the express permission of the trial judge.

(i)(1) In misdemeanor cases, as a condition precedent, the defendant must pay not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than forty-five dollars ($45.00) per month as part payment of expenses incurred by the agency, department, program, group or association in supervising the defendant. The payment shall be made to the clerk of the court in which proceedings against the defendant were pending, to be sent to the agency, department, program, group or association responsible for the supervision of the defendant, unless the defendant is found to be indigent and without anticipated future funds with which to make the payment. The clerk of the court collecting the payment is permitted to retain five percent (5%) of the proceeds collected for the handling and receiving of the proceeds. The court may order the payments to be made directly to the agency, department, program, group or association responsible for the supervision of the defendant in lieu of making the payments to the clerk of the court.

(2) In addition to the costs imposed by subdivision (i)(1), the court may require the defendant to pay any or all costs for the defendant's supervision, counseling or treatment in a specified manner, based on the defendant's ability to pay.

(3) Willful failure to pay the supervision fee imposed by this subsection (i) to the supervising entity shall be grounds for revocation of probation and the supervising entity shall report all instances of nonpayment to the sentencing court.

(j) The provisions of this section relative to the payment of a supervision fee shall not apply to any person subject to chapter 28, part 2 of this title.

(k) The commissioner of correction, sheriff, warden, superintendent or other official having authority and responsibility for convicted defendants may contract with any appropriate public or private agency not under the commissioner's, sheriff's, warden's, superintendent's or other official's control for custody, care, subsistence, education, treatment or training of the defendants. The cost of the contract services shall be paid by the appropriate state or local entity to the department or the local jail or workhouse.

(l) A probation officer shall make reasonable and diligent effort to notify a victim of any felony that involved violence or the threat of violence that the defendant convicted of that offense is statutorily eligible for probation and that a hearing will be held to determine whether the defendant should be granted probation. The notice shall be given at least three (3) days prior to the hearing. If the victim is less than eighteen (18) years of age or is otherwise unavailable, the probation officer shall make all reasonable and diligent efforts to so notify the family, if any, of the victim.

(m) In determining whether a person convicted of the offense of stalking, aggravated stalking or especially aggravated stalking, as defined in § 39-17-315, or any criminal offense defined in title 39, chapter 13, in which the victim falls within the definition set forth in § 36-3-601(5), should be granted probation, the court shall consider the safety and protection of the victim of the offense and of any other member of the victim's family or household.

(n) If the court grants probation to a person convicted of an offense specified in subsection (m), it may condition the probation on compliance with one (1) or more orders of the court, including, but not limited to:

(1) Enjoining the perpetrator from threatening to commit or committing acts of violence against the victim or other household members;

(2) Prohibiting the perpetrator from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating, either directly or indirectly, with the victim;

(3) Requiring the perpetrator to stay away from the residence, school, place of employment or a specified place frequented regularly by the victim and by any designated family or household member;

(4) Prohibiting the perpetrator from possessing or consuming alcohol, controlled substances or controlled substance analogues; and

(5) Prohibiting the perpetrator from using or possessing a firearm or any other specified weapon and requiring the perpetrator to surrender and forfeit any weapon currently possessed.

(o)(1) Probation officers meeting the requirements of this subsection (o) shall have the authority to serve warrants and make arrests solely relating to their duties as probation officers. A probation officer shall also have the authority to bring probationers before the court when directed by the court to do so. While acting in the performance of their duties as probation officers, the probation officers shall have the same authority as a peace officer while serving warrants and making arrests that relate solely to their duties as probation officers.

(2) The provisions of subdivision (o)(1) shall only apply to a probation officer:

(A) In any county having a charter form of government with a population of less than five hundred thousand (500,000), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census;

(B) Employed by a probation office operated by a governmental entity;

(C) Who has completed training equal to the training required by the standards of the peace officer's standards and training commission (POST); and

(D) Who successfully completes at least forty (40) hours of appropriate in-service training each year.

(3) Because a probation officer meets the standards and requirements of subdivision (o)(2) does not mean the officer is eligible for the pay supplement for state certified officers authorized in § 38-8-111.

(4) This subsection (o) shall not apply to a state probation officer employed by the department of correction and paid by the state of Tennessee.

(p)(1) If a defendant is granted probation pursuant to this section and is released to the department charged by law with the supervision of probationers, the department may contract with an approved private probation provider to furnish probation supervision and services to such defendant if:

(A) The defendant's conviction offense was for a Class E felony; and

(B) The caseloads of state probation officers where the defendant is being supervised are high, resulting in the likelihood that the probationer may receive increased supervision and services from a private probation provider; or

(C) The private probation provider offers specialized services, treatment or training that would be beneficial to a probationer but would not be available if the probationer is supervised by the department.

(2) To contract with the department for the supervision of felons described in subdivision (p)(1)(A), a private probation provider shall:

(A) Meet all qualifications established by the private probation council for entities providing misdemeanor probation services;

(B) Keep all records in an electronic format that is accessible upon demand by an approved state agency;

(C) Maintain professional liability insurance of not less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) in addition to a general liability policy; and

(D)(i) Have been a private provider of misdemeanor probation services for courts exercising criminal jurisdiction in this state for at least fifteen (15) years; or

(ii) Have been a private provider of misdemeanor probation services for courts exercising criminal jurisdiction in this state for at least two (2) years and a state probation officer for at least thirteen (13) years.

(3)(A) A private probation provider who meets the requirements of subdivision (p)(2) and who wants to contract with the department to provide probation services to felons described in subdivision (p)(1)(A), may register with the department and the private probation council.

(B) At the time of registration, the private provider shall submit to the department and council:

(i) Such documentation as is necessary to demonstrate that it meets the requirements of subdivision (p)(2); and

(ii) A specific plan demonstrating how the use of such provider to supervise and provide services to felons described in subdivision (p)(1)(A), who have been granted probation will further the overall goal of reducing the recidivism rate of probationers. Such plan shall also contain statistics for misdemeanor probation services provided by the private provider for the previous ten (10) years. At a minimum, the statistics contained in the plan shall contain the same information required to be maintained by subdivision (p)(5).

(C) If the documentation and recidivism rate reduction plan presented by the private provider demonstrates that it meets the requirements of subdivision (p)(2), the department and council shall approve the private provider and place such provider on a list of companies eligible to contract with the department pursuant to this subsection (p).

(4) A supervision contract authorized by this section shall be between the private provider and the department. Once the court grants a person's petition for probation, the department shall be the sole entity that determines who supervises the probationer. No probationer meeting the criteria set out in subdivision (p)(1)(A) shall be placed under the supervision of or supervised by a private provider that has not contracted with the department and is not on the list of companies approved by the department and the council.

(5) Any private provider who contracts with the department pursuant to this subsection (p) shall maintain statistics on the probationers supervised pursuant to this subsection (p) and shall submit a quarterly report of such statistics to the person or agency designated by the department. The statistics shall include, but not be limited to:

(A) The number of felony probationers described in subdivision (p)(1)(A) the private provider has contracted to supervise;

(B) The style of the case which resulted in the defendant being placed on probation;

(C) The number of felons described in subdivision (p)(1)(A), whose probation was revoked prior to the end of supervision; and

(D) The recidivism rate of the felony probationers supervision by the private provider under a contract authorized by this subsection (p).

(6)(A) A private provider contracting to supervise felons described in subdivision (p)(1)(A) may charge a supervision fee not to exceed sixty dollars ($60.00) per month. However, if a probationer cannot afford all or part of the supervision fee, the probationer may go before the court placing the defendant on probation and petition that it be waived or reduced. For good cause shown, the court may waive or reduce the supervision fee in appropriate cases.

(B) Willful nonpayment of the supervision fee to the private probation provider shall be grounds for revocation and the provider shall report instances of nonpayment to the department in the manner specified in the contract.

(7) No employee of a private provider of probation services shall supervise a felon described in subdivision (p)(1)(A) unless the employee has a bachelor of science degree from an accredited college or university or at least two (2) years of related work experience.

(8) This subsection (p) shall not apply to offenders who are governed by the Interstate Compact for Supervision of Adult Offenders, codified in § 40-28-401. The supervision of those offenders shall be controlled by the compact.

1989 Pub.Acts, c. 591, § 6; 1990 Pub.Acts, c. 982, § 4; 1990 Pub.Acts, c. 1030, § 32;1991 Pub.Acts, c. 458, § 2; 1992 Pub.Acts, c. 1009, § 1; 1993 Pub.Acts, c. 221, § 3, eff. July 1, 1993; 1994 Pub.Acts, c. 978, § 3, eff. July 1, 1994; 1995 Pub.Acts, c. 410, § 4, eff. July 1, 1995; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 211, § 6, eff. May 13, 1997; 2000 Pub.Acts, c. 740, § 1, eff. May 17, 2000; 2000 Pub.Acts, c. 947, § 8E, eff. June 23, 2000; 2003 Pub.Acts, c. 408, § 1, eff. July 1, 2003; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 353, § 7, eff. June 7, 2005; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 433, § 1, eff. July 1, 2005; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 455, § 1, eff. June 18, 2005; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 482, § 7, eff. July 1, 2005; 2006 Pub.Acts, c. 973, § 2, eff. July 1, 2006; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 311, § 1, eff. July 1, 2007; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 528, § 1, eff. July 1, 2007; 2009 Pub.Acts, c. 186, § 6, eff. May 7, 2009; 2010 Pub.Acts, c. 981, §§ 4, 6, eff. May 27, 2010; 2010 Pub.Acts, c. 1100, § 66, eff. Jan. 15, 2011; 2012 Pub.Acts, c. 575, § 1, eff. July 1, 2012; 2012 Pub.Acts, c. 652, § 1, eff. March 30, 2012; 2012 Pub.Acts, c. 727, § 44, eff. July 1, 2012; 2012 Pub.Acts, c. 848, § 35, eff. May 15, 2012; 2013 Pub.Acts, c. 33, § 1, eff. July 1, 2013; 2013 Pub.Acts, c. 154, § 38, eff. July 1, 2013; 2014 Pub.Acts, c. 567, § 3, eff. July 1, 2014; 2014 Pub.Acts, c. 902, § 5, eff. July 1, 2014; 2016 Pub.Acts, c. 993, § 14, eff. July 1, 2016; 2016 Pub.Acts, c. 1021, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.