Accusations of domestic violence can irreparably damage your family and result in long-lasting, negative consequences. Your domestic assault charges can lead to imprisonment, fines, and restraining orders. Worse, you face significant loss of reputation that may impact your personal life, make it difficult to secure housing, and thwart potential career opportunities in your future. You may also find that you lose access to your children and have your right to possess a firearm revoked, sometimes for the rest of your life.
The courts take domestic violence very seriously, and you should as well by immediately hiring the services of a Nashville domestic violence defense attorney. As the founding partner of the renowned Nashville law firm of Weatherly, McNally & Dixon, P.L.C., I understand the serious nature of your case. I have more than 35 years of experience defending Tennessee and Kentucky residents against some of the most serious criminal offenses, including all charges related to domestic violence.
If you have been accused of this crime, I can provide the aggressive domestic violence defense counsel you need to protect your future and your freedom. Review the information below to learn the answers to common questions about domestic assault charges in Tennessee, then contact McNally Law today to discuss your case.
Like all other states, Tennessee prohibits acts of domestic violence. State law classifies some assault crimes as “domestic assault” based on the nature of the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim. When a personal relationship exists between these parties, the law describes physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse, or making threats as domestic assault.
Although most incidents of domestic assault occur between romantic partners, domestic assault charges can stem from assault to any member of the defendant’s family or household, including:
The penalties imposed against defendants convicted of domestic assault in Tennessee are similar to the penalties imposed for general assault crimes. Thus, the courts classify domestic assault as either simple assault or aggravated assault. Both crimes often involve serious bodily harm, a term that encompasses significant injuries such as broken bones, lost limbs, disfigurement, or an injury severe enough to require hospitalization or surgery.
Simple assault refers to:
A defendant who intends to injure another person in a domestic dispute may receive an assault charge, which is a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of 11 months and 29 days in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
Aggravated assault also comprises intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing another person to sustain serious bodily harm, but this charge also includes the following:
A defendant who intends to cause serious bodily injury to a household or family member and does so may be found guilty of aggravated assault, which is either a Class C or Class D felony depending on the specific circumstances of the offense. An assault committed intentionally or knowingly is a Class C felony punishable by a prison sentence of 3 to 15 years and a $10,000 fine. An assault committed recklessly is a Class D felony punishable by a prison sentence of 2 to 12 years and a $5,000 fine.
In addition to the penalties described above, being convicted of domestic assault can also result in the permanent revocation of your right to carry a firearm and require you to pay a fine that provides funds to family violence shelters. The court may order you to pay restitution to the victim to reimburse them for any expenses they incurred due to the crime, such as medical treatment, counseling, and property damage.
Yes. If you receive domestic abuse charges in Tennessee, you must attend a court hearing to face a judge who will determine your penalties. Even if the alleged victim chooses not to press charges, the prosecution can decide to pursue domestic abuse charges against you, with or without the victim’s consent or assistance. An experienced Nashville domestic violence defense attorney can create a strong defense to reduce your charges or petition to have them dismissed.
Data collected by the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System found that the courts cleared a full 57.7% of domestic violence cases in the state during a recent year. The majority of domestic assault charges dismissed occur when the alleged victim refuses to cooperate with the prosecution. This situation often results when victims refuse to follow court orders such as avoiding contact with the defendant or appearing for a later trial to offer testimony.
The prosecution can also decline to press charges after further examination of the case. Domestic violence cases may be dismissed by the prosecution if they cannot find sufficient evidence to corroborate the story or if the accuser has a history of making false allegations of domestic violence. Alternatively, the prosecution may learn that the arrest occurred to a mistaken police report made by a neighbor or other person who misunderstood the situation.
Another option for a case dismissal is when the accuser accepts that the altercation was a mutual fight rather than an instance of domestic assault—often upon realizing that they may receive charges, as well. In these cases, accusers usually choose to invoke their fifth amendment right to avoid potentially incriminating themselves. Without testimony from a cooperating witness, the prosecution will likely dismiss the case.
A Nashville domestic violence defense lawyer’s fees depend on the training and skill of each particular lawyer and the complexity of the case. Typically, a criminal defense attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases charges between $250 and $400 per hour, with an increased cost for handling felony charges. Court costs range from $100 to several hundred dollars.
Fortunately, many criminal defense attorneys offer no-cost case evaluations or consultations so you can explore the particulars of your case before committing to representation. In addition, you and your attorney can determine the estimated cost of representation for your case before proceedings begin. It is also important to remember that if you win your case, the other party may pay the applicable court costs.
If you have been charged with a domestic assault crime, contact an experienced Nashville domestic violence defense attorney immediately. For over 35 years, McNally Law has provided the highest quality of legal representation to clients facing serious, sensitive charges like domestic assault. I am an award-winning attorney with a commitment to protecting your rights, aggressively advocating on your behalf, and helping you achieve the best outcome in your case. You have the right to a presumption of innocence, and I will work with you to custom tailor a formidable defense strategy for your benefit.
The intent of a restraining order is the protection of individuals who are experiencing abuse or harassment in any form. If you believe that you could benefit from a protective order, I can help. These measures can ensure that a specific person must not contact you in any way. I will help you seek the protection and security you need, petitioning the courts on your behalf and defending your interests.
Whether you need to protect yourself from domestic violence or you need to defend yourself from accusations of it, your future, your freedom, and your best interests are at stake. When you hire McNally Law, you benefit from my legal knowledge, resources, litigation skills, and decades of experience helping clients just like you. You can learn more about your legal options by calling my office at 866-269-7813 or 615-857-4662 or filling out my online contact form to schedule a free initial case evaluation.