Tennessee treats domestic assault allegations seriously, and the severity of the consequences on whether it’s classified as a misdemeanor or felony charge.
In this article, we cover the circumstances that can make domestic violence a felony charge in Tennessee. This information can help if you’re ever accused of this crime, as it can mean the difference between a light or severe sentence.
Definition of Domestic Assault Under TN Law
Tennessee defines domestic assault as any act or threat of violence against an intimate partner, family member, or household member.
Pay attention to the broadness of these categories. An “intimate partner” can include anyone from a one-night stand partner to an ex you haven’t seen in years. A “family member” includes children, parents, and other family members, even a sibling you haven’t seen in years. A “housemate” includes anyone in your home, even a roommate with whom you have no outside relationship.
Misdemeanor Domestic Assault in Tennessee
Domestic assault without bodily injury can carry punishments of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and fines up to $2,500.
When Does Domestic Assault Become a Felony in Tennessee?
Aggravated domestic assault is a felony. It involves the use of a deadly weapon, serious bodily injury, or strangulation. A conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defenses Against Domestic Violence Accusations
False allegations: The accused can argue that the accusations are baseless, made in bad faith.
Self-defense: If the accused acted in self-defense or the defense of others (such as the children), this is a valid legal defense.
Lack of evidence: The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence, the charges may be dismissed.
Alibi: The accused can provide evidence that they were not present at the time of the alleged offense.
Seeking Legal Representation When Facing Felony Charges
Facing felony charges can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. These are the most severe crimes in any state, so you must seek legal representation to preserve your rights and your very freedom.
When looking for a good attorney:
- First, research and gather information about lawyers in your area. Patton & Pittman Attorneys has helped defend clients for years, so that’s a good place to start.
- Secondly, schedule a consultation with a few selected lawyers to discuss your situation and ask questions. This meeting will help you decide which attorney can best represent you and your case.
- Finally, sign a contract with your lawyer of choice, and make sure to stay in contact with them throughout the case.
Our firm is here to help defend you against domestic violence allegations. If you’ve been accused of this crime, reach out to us today for a free consultation. We may be able to review your case, take you on as a client, and fight these accusations on your behalf. You can contact our team online, or you can call us directly at (931) 361-4477.