Like all criminal offenses, there are penalties associated with a conviction for domestic assault. If you were recently charged with domestic assault in Tennessee, however, it is in your best interest to fully understand all the potential penalties and consequences should you be convicted of that offense. Toward that end, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains the consequences and penalties for a domestic assault conviction in Tennessee.
How Is Domestic Assault Defined in Tennessee?
The criminal offense of domestic assault, also referred to as domestic “abuse,” is governed by Tennessee Code § 39-13-111. That statute differentiates domestic assault from assault based on the status of the perpetrator and the alleged victim. For the offense to be a domestic assault, the relationship must fall into one of the following categories:
- Adults or minors who are current or former spouses.
- Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together.
- Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship but does not include fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context.
- Adults or minors related by blood or adoption.
- Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage.
- Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in subdivisions (a)(1)-(5).
It is important to note that domestic assault is not limited to romantic relationships. You can be charged and convicted of domestic assault if the victim is your parent, sibling, or another family member, including family members by marriage.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Domestic Assault Conviction in Tennessee?
The potential judicial penalties you face if convicted of domestic assault in Tennessee will depend on the facts of the case and whether you have a previous conviction for domestic assault. A first-time offender without aggravating circumstances will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and face up to 11 months and 29 days in jail; however, your entire sentence can be suspended. A second conviction for domestic assault if that assault caused bodily injury, requires you to serve a minimum of 30 days in jail, meaning that at least 30 days of your sentence cannot be suspended. For a third or subsequent conviction for domestic assault the penalty includes a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail, and you may be convicted of a felony offense. Along with increasing terms of imprisonment, subsequent convictions also subject you to an increasing fine.
What Other Consequences Might I Face If Convicted of Domestic Assault?
If you are convicted of domestic assault in Tennessee, there are negative consequences you should consider that go above and beyond the sentence imposed by the court, such as:
- Firearms prohibition. Both state and federal law prohibit you from owning or possessing a firearm if you have been convicted of domestic violence. Typically, the court will order you to surrender any firearms you possess at your initial appearance if you are charged with domestic assault in Tennessee.
- Deportation. If you are not a U.S. citizen, a conviction for domestic assault can prevent you from becoming one. If you are in the process of becoming a citizen, a conviction for domestic violence could lead to the loss of your legal status in the U.S. and a court order for your deportation.
- Custody and parenting time. If you have minor children and are currently divorced or you decide to end the marriage in the future, your conviction for domestic assault could be a factor in a custody dispute or a dispute over parenting time.
Given how serious these consequences are and how they could dramatically impact your life, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away if you have been charged with domestic assault in Tennessee.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with domesticassault in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling . 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.