Under Tennessee Law, Domestic Assault, Tenn. Code Ann. 39-13-111, is defined as a person 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.
A "domestic abuse victim" means any person who falls within the following categories: (1) Adults or minors who are current or former spouses; (2) Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together; (3) 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; (4) Adults or minors related by blood or adoption; (5) Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or (6) Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in subdivisions (a)(1)-(5).
Domestic Assault is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries with it up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Domestic assault or domestic abuse in Tennessee has no minimum jail sentence, however it does require the citizen accused of the offense to remain in jail for 12 hours following arrest. Once a domestic abuse victim who resides with the accused makes allegations of assault, it will likely result in bond conditions that prevent returning to their residence during the pendency of the domestic assault case in criminal court. These bond conditions are in addition to the Ex-Parte Order of Protection mentioned below should the alleged victim choose to seek emergency relief through the civil courts – General Sessions or Circuit Court.
A domestic assault charge can cause serious problems with an existing or future divorce proceeding. Often the spouse alleging the assault will use the criminal charges against their spouse in temporary support hearings or at final divorce trials. These hearings are also opportunities for criminal defendants to testify without being prepared by an experienced attorney and potentially cause damage to their criminal case or expose them to perjury. Additionally, entering a favorable plea agreement that does not result in any admission of guilt or is fashioned in such a way that it will not be admissible in a civil hearing is crucial and if not done properly by an experienced attorney, could be disastrous.
Hiring a team with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the only way to ensure that you are protected in all aspects. Attorney Joseph Fuson has 14 years of experience defending citizens in various counties around the mid-state, including Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, and Maury. Freeman & Fuson Domestic Team focuses on developing one game plan that covers all three areas – Domestic Assault, Order of Protection and Divorce