Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney

What Is the Potential Punishment for Domestic Violence in Tennessee?

Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneyIf you were recently arrested and charged with domestic violence in Tennessee, the most important step you can take to protect your rights and your future is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Because every arrest and prosecution involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, there is no way to predict the outcome of your case without consulting with an attorney. Because it is undoubtedly at the top of your list of concerns though, a Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney from Bennett, Michael & Hornsby, however, explains the potential punishment for domestic violence in the State of Tennessee.

Domestic Violence Defined

In the State of Tennessee, allegations of domestic violence are referred to as domestic “assault” and are governed by Tennessee Code § 39-13-111.  Pursuant to that statute, a domestic assault is an assault as defined in § 39-13-101 against a domestic abuse victim. The potential penalties are the same for assault and domestic assault. A “domestic abuse victim” means any person who falls within 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 (2) 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 the previous subdivisions

Next, we must look to Tennessee Code § 39-13-101 to determine what elements make up the offense of assault and what the potential penalties are for a conviction of domestic assault. That statute reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

(a)  A person commits assault who:

(1)  Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;

(2)  Intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or

(3)  Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

Potential Penalties for Conviction of Domestic Assault

Assault is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor unless the offense is committed under subdivision (a)(3) above, in which event assault is a Class B misdemeanor. In Tennessee, a Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of up to $2,500. A Class B misdemeanor carries a maximum term of imprisonment of six months in jail and/or up to a $500 fine. In addition, if conviction of domestic assault you will be required to terminate possession of all firearms that you possess. Another extremely important thing to understand about a conviction for domestic assault is that it is one of the few misdemeanor convictions in Tennessee that cannot be expunged from your criminal record.

Potential Penalties for a Conviction for Aggravated Assault

Sometimes, a domestic violence situation is even more serious, resulting in the defendant being charged with aggravated assault. In the State of Tennessee, a person commits aggravated assault if he or she:

  • Intentionally or knowingly commits an assault as defined above and:
    • Causes serious bodily injury to another; or
    • Uses or displays a deadly weapon; or
  • Recklessly commits an assault as defined above, and:
    • Causes serious bodily injury to another; or
    • Uses or displays a deadly weapon.

Aggravated assault can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, a Class D felony, or a Class C felony, depending on the circumstances. As such, you could face up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted of the more serious charge of aggravated assault.

Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing domestic violence (assault) charges in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.

Dinah Michael