Domestic Assault - Tennessee Law
The criminal defense attorneys at Baker Associates have successfully represented individuals charged with assault offenses in Tennessee, including Domestic Assault. The distinction between Assault and Domestic Assault is that the “domestic abuse victim” must have a certain type of close or family relationship with the alleged perpetrator. In many cases, alcohol and/or drugs are a common factor in charges of Domestic Assault.
According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-101 and -111, a person commits Domestic Assault who:
(1) Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a “domestic abuse victim”;
(2) Intentionally or knowingly causes a “domestic abuse victim” to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
(3) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with a “domestic abuse victim” and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.
A “domestic abuse victim” means any person who falls within any of the following categories:
(1) Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;
(2) Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together;
(3) Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship (not including fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context);
(4) Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;
(5) Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or
(6) Adult or minor children of a person described in sections (1) through (5).
“Bodily injury” includes a cut, abrasion, bruise, burn or disfigurement, physical pain, temporary illness, or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.
Domestic Assault under sections (1) and (2) is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum penalty of eleven months and twenty-nine days and a fine up to $2,500.00. Domestic Assault under section (3) is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum penalty of six months and a fine up to $500.00. Additionally, the judge may assess an additional fine up to $200.00 to fund family violence shelters and shelter services for any charge of Domestic Assault.
In addition to imprisonment and fines, a person convicted of Domestic Assault may have to complete anger management classes, family counseling, and alcohol/drug assessment with treatment. A conviction for Domestic Assault will further affect one’s ability to own or possess a firearm, even for first-time offenders.
It is important to hire a Tennessee criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with Domestic Assault. A conviction of Domestic Assault carries severe penalties. If you or a relative has been charged with Domestic Assault, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. Our team of attorneys will work quickly and utilize our legal staff, private investigators, and experts to investigate and prepare your defense.
Sources: Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-101, -111; T.P.I. Crim. 6.08.