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Law Enhances Sentences for Undocumented

A new Tennessee law gives judges the power to increase the severity of the sentence for criminal defendants if they are undocumented immigrants. If you or someone you know is undocumented, continue reading to understand more about the impact of this law.


The new provision went into effect in July of 2017. It requires judges to consider the immigration status of criminal defendants convicted of felonies when determining their sentence. It would give the judge discretion in making that determination.

Effect on the Defendant's Sentence

Generally, depending on the offense, sentence enhancements can add between 1 and 10 years to prison sentences. Other States have also adopted, or are considering adopting, similar measures.

Legality of the Law

Many have questioned the law's constitutionality as it appears to go against the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. 


Even if an accused is undocumented, they are entitled to a defense and a fair hearing in accordance with our laws. If you or someone you know has a pending criminal matter, call the attorneys at Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC today to discuss your case, as well as the immigration impact it could have on you and your family. Call (615) 366-1211.

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