Domestic Violence Lawyers in Clarksville, TN
Tennessee Domestic Assault Definition
In Tennessee, domestic assault victims must meet the necessary relationship nexus under the statute (T.C.A. § 39-13-111, 36-3-601) menaing the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim must meet one of the following conditions:
- Current or former spouses
- Live together or who have lived together
- Are dating, have dated, or who have had a sexual relationship, but not merely two individuals fraternizing in a business or social context
- Related by blood or adoption
- Formerly related by marriage
- Adults or minor children of a person in a relationship described above
If the requisite relationship status is not met, your attorney will attack the charge and seek to have it amended, at a bare minimum, to the offense of "assault," which carries different ramifications than "domestic assault." Both are misdemeanors, but as you can see below, domestic crimes create more burdens on the accused.
Recent statistics by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation evidence that between 2013 and 2015, more than 232,000 incidents of domestic assault were reported to law enforcement. During that period, 276 of those incidents resulted in homicide.
If you were charged with domestic assault, there are very serious issues of which you need to be aware, not the least of which is your pressing need for a competent defense attorney who is familiar with the law on Domestic Assault in Tennessee. The attorneys at Goble & Yow Attorneys, PLLC represent citizens accused of domestic crimes.
What Constitutes Assault
It makes sense to understand the underlying definition of assault, for purposes of preparing the best defense possible; simple Assaults are defined in T.C.A. §39-13-101 as:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another
- Intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative
Simple assault is a class A misdemeanor, unless it is merely an offensive touching, in which case it is a class B misdemeanor. The most common forms of aggravated assault require the additional element of intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing serious bodily injury, the use or display of a deadly weapon, attempting to cause or causing injury by strangulation, or committing an assault while under an order, diversion, or probation agreement that prohibits such.
Domestic Assaults carry the following potential punishment, according to T.C.A. § 39-13-111:
- First conviction - Class A misdemeanor domestic assault is punished by up to eleven months and twenty-nine days and a B misdemeanor is punished by up to six months, with no mandatory jail time.
- Second conviction - Punishable by a fine of not less than three hundred fifty dollars nor more than three thousand five hundred dollars, and by confinement in the county jail or workhouse for not less than thirty consecutive days, nor more than eleven months and twenty-nine days.
- Third or subsequent conviction - Punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand one hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars, and by confinement in the county jail or workhouse for not less than ninety consecutive days, nor more than eleven months and twenty-nine days.
It is also important to know that anyone convicted, having been charged with a domestic offense, will lose their right to carry, own, purchase, or transport firearms or ammunition.
Pretrial Options & Plea Arrangements
In the majority of domestic crime cases, the state will settle provided they can reach an appropriate agreement. If the case seems weak or lacks merit, it may be dismissed outright, often without court costs being owed. Sometimes, these dismissals are predicated on the defendant remaining out of trouble for a predetermined period of time, completing counseling, completing anger management classes, or some other requirement which both addresses the underlying issues and in some way punishes the defendant. A good attorney can find weaknesses in the case that will allow the defendant to resolve their case amicably without the risks involved in taking the matter to trial.
Choosing the Right Domestic Violence Lawyer in Clarksville, TN
A conviction for domestic crimes becomes part of your criminal record and can be used to enhance penalties for subsequent crimes, potentially resulting in harsher penalties. If you become convicted of a felony, you lose the right to vote, possess a firearm, and you may lose some professional licenses. The criminal defense attorneys at Goble & Yow Attorneys, PLLC have handled hundreds of domestic cases and stand ready and willing to fight for you.