Aggravated battery

Understanding Tennessee Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects millions of individuals and families across the globe. In Tennessee, like in many other states, there are comprehensive laws in place aimed at preventing domestic violence and punishing those who are convicted of committing domestic violence. Understanding these laws is crucial for both victims and perpetrators to navigate the legal system effectively. With that in mind, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses Tennessee domestic violence laws.

How Is Domestic Violence Defined in Tennessee?

While we routinely use the term “domestic violence,” the criminal offense is referred to as “domestic assault” in Tennessee. Tennessee law definesAggravated battery domestic assault as any assault, aggravated assault, stalking, sexual assault, or other offense committed against an adult or minor who is a current or former spouse, intimate partner, dating partner, or household member.  This intentionally broad definition encompasses various forms of abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse.

What Are the Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence Offenses in Tennessee?

Domestic violence offenses in Tennessee carry severe penalties that vary depending on the nature and severity of the crime. Examples of domestic violence offenses and potential penalties include:

    • Misdemeanor Domestic Assault: In cases where the violence does not result in serious bodily injury or involve the use of a deadly weapon, the offender may be charged with misdemeanor domestic assault, punishable by a fine, probation, community service, and mandatory attendance at a domestic violence intervention program along with up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.
    • Aggravated Domestic Assault: Aggravated domestic assault occurs when the violence results in serious bodily injury to the victim or involves the use of a deadly weapon. Classified as a felony in Tennessee, the penalties for aggravated domestic assault may include substantial fines, lengthy terms of imprisonment ranging from three to 15 years, and probation upon release. Additionally, offenders may be required to attend domestic violence intervention programs as part of their probation or parole.
  • Violation of Protective Order: Violating a protective order issued in a domestic violence case is a serious offense in Tennessee that may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The potential penalties for violating a protective order can include fines, probation, and jail time, with more severe penalties for repeat offenders or those who commit additional acts of violence while under the order.
  • Related Offenses: Tennessee law encompasses a range of offenses under the umbrella of domestic violence, including stalking, sexual assault, and intimidation with potential penalties that vary depending on the specific elements of the crime but may include fines, probation, and incarceration.
  • Related Penalties: In addition to criminal penalties, a domestic violence conviction in Tennessee can have significant related consequences, including disqualification for future employment, seizure of firearms, and a variety of civil financial consequences. A victim, for example, may pursue a civil lawsuit against an abuser to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the abuse. If the lawsuit is successful, the defendant could face the seizure of assets, wage garnishment, and other attempts at enforcement of the judgment.

What Is a Protective Order?

Victims of domestic violence in Tennessee can seek protection through the legal system by obtaining a Protective Order, also known as a Restraining Order or No Contact Order. A Protective Order prohibits the abuser from contacting or coming near the victim and may include other provisions, such as requiring the abuser to attend counseling or relinquish firearms. Violating a protective order is a serious offense that can result in additional criminal charges being filed and penalties imposed if convicted.

Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you have been charged with domestic violence in the State of 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.


Dinah Michael