Domestic Assault and Standard Assault: What’s the Difference?

The law can be tricky. One degree to the left or right can completely change a situation. This can be a big problem when it comes to criminal charges. Take assault, for instance. An assault charge is never good, and it looks bad on your record, but a domestic assault charge can destroy your whole life.

The line between standard and domestic assault may not be as clear as it seems. Imagine two men getting into a bar fight. These men are strangers, and the fight began when one accidentally bumped the other.

Now, imagine a bar fight between two men, only this time, they are brothers. Technically, this fight could end in a domestic assault allegation.

Here are some general rules that separate a domestic assault charge from a standard assault charge.

Standard Assault

Regular assault charges happen between strangers, friends, coworkers, and so on. Mainly, assault becomes “domestic” when there is a deeper relationship between the parties involved.

Domestic Assault Can Involve an Intimate Relationship

In Tennessee, domestic assault can happen between romantic partners. The relationship can be new or old, or it could be in the past. If, for instance, someone attacks an ex-boyfriend they haven’t seen in years, this could still be classified as domestic abuse. A clever prosecutor could drum up domestic assault charges between people who shared a one-night stand.

Domestic assault also involves family members. Again, it doesn’t matter how close the alleged attackers and victims are. If siblings who never speak get into a fight at Thanksgiving dinner, domestic assault charges could follow.

Domestic Assault Can Involve Housemates

When any two people live together, violence between them can be defined as domestic assault. It doesn’t matter if they have any kind of relationship outside the home.

Defenses Against Domestic Violence

If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you need to secure legal representation right away. Consider the situation above. You get into a fight with your roommate, and the police accuse you of domestic violence. If you are found guilty, that charge stains your record. Potential employers and landlords won’t know the full story, they will simply see that you have a domestic assault charge.

Here are some defense strategies you can discuss with your attorney.

Challenge the Evidence

If you truly didn’t assault someone, there should be clear evidence of this fact. Even if there was no one else involved, and it’s just your word vs. your accuser’s, there is likely something that can back up your claim. For instance, your attorney can investigate medical records. If reported injuries do not match up with treatments, then your accuser is most likely lying.

Of course, if you weren’t even present for the alleged event, you may have a strong alibi., Witnesses can testify to your true whereabouts, or neighbors can explain that your car wasn’t present on the day in question.

Physical evidence can help, too. If your accuser claims you attacked them with an object, for instance, your attorney can scrutinize that item. They may find a lack of fingerprints or a lack of damage, contradicting your accuser’s tale.

Challenge Intent

A good criminal prosecution does not rest on technicalities. Prosecutors must also show that the alleged offender purposely committed a crime.

In the heat of an argument, it’s easy to point, yell, and gesture wildly. Sometimes, these movements catch the other person on the cheek, sending them sprawling. Angry, the person who fell uses this accidental contact to accuse the other of domestic assault.

Your attorney can help explain your situation, revealing to the court that the alleged attack was an accident.

Intent can also apply to intentional contact. Imagine you are in a heated fight, and your partner backs you into a corner. They’ve lost all reason, and they are screaming wildly. You don’t necessarily feel like you are in danger, but you don’t know what else to do to calm the situation. Out of desperation, you give them an open-handed slap, just to stun them back to reality.

Situations like these can lead to not-guilty verdicts. When someone feels like they have no other choice, a light degree of violence may be justified.

Our firm is here to help defend you against domestic assault charges. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at (931) 361-4477.

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