Chattanooga Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence is a serious issue that the criminal justice system takes seriously. Alleged offenders often face more severe punishments for domestic assault than for a non-domestic assault. As a result, contacting a Chattanooga domestic violence lawyer may be highly advantageous to you.

With the help of an accomplished criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to raise the defenses that are applicable in your case. Taking these measures at the outset of your case may enable you to reach a more favorable resolution to the charges against you.

Domestic Assault in Chattanooga

Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-111 sets forth a separate domestic assault offense that pertains solely to domestic violence situations. Domestic assault occurs when individuals commit an assault against a domestic abuse victim.

According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-101, an assault occurs when people intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily harm to others or cause them to reasonably fear immediate physical harm. Assault also may occur in circumstances in which individuals have intentional physical contact with others that reasonable individuals would see as extremely offensive or provocative.

Only specific relationships between the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim qualify for domestic assault charges. Otherwise, the offense is simply an assault, rather than domestic assault.

Defining Domestic Abuse Victims

The code section on domestic assault defines a domestic abuse victim as any of the following:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Individuals who currently live or formerly lived together
  • Individuals who are dating or have dated, or who have or have had a sexual relationship, excluding social or business acquaintances
  • Relatives by blood, adoption, or marriage, whether current or former

Additionally, domestic abuse victims may be adult or minor children of any individuals who currently are or formerly were in any of those relationships. Since the consequences of a domestic assault conviction may be severe, individuals may wish to seek the advice of domestic violence lawyer in Chattanooga.

Penalties for First-Time Domestic Assault Convictions

A first-time domestic assault offense generally follows the same penalty scheme as for regular assault, with a few additional penalties for domestic assaults. Assault is most often a Class A misdemeanor offense, which could result in a jail sentence of just less than one year and a $2,500 fine. If the assault results in bodily harm, however, the fine can increase to as much as $15,000.

On the other hand, if the assault involves only intentionally offensive physical contact, the crime is a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction for a Class B misdemeanor bears the potential for a jail sentence of six months and a fine of $500.

Penalties for Second and Subsequent Domestic Assault Convictions

A second or subsequent domestic assault offense within ten years also follows the general penalty scheme for assault. However, if a second domestic assault involves the intentional infliction of bodily harm on others, the individuals face a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a fine ranging from $350 to $3,500.

A third or subsequent domestic assault conviction within ten years involving the intentional infliction of physical injury increases the potential fine to a range of $1,100 to $5,000 and the minimum jail sentence to 90 days.

Domestic assault charges for individuals with two or more prior convictions within ten years increase to Class E felony offenses if the parties involved are:

  • Former or current spouses
  • Individuals who are dating or have dated, or who have or have had a sexual relationship
  • Minor children of the individuals in one of these relationships

A conviction for a Class E felony domestic assault could lead to a sentence of incarceration ranging from a minimum of 90 days to a maximum of six years. As a domestic violence attorney in Chattanooga may advise, individuals also might face all the collateral consequences of having a felony conviction on their records.

A Chattanooga Domestic Violence Attorney May Be Able to Help

Aside from the severe penalties that individuals face for domestic assault charges, they could face other unwanted repercussions, as well. For instance, individuals with even a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction are no longer able to possess firearms under federal law. Therefore, contacting a Chattanooga domestic violence lawyer when you are facing any domestic assault charges may be highly advisable. To avoid or reduce your exposure to these ramifications, consult legal counsel today.

Get Help From Our Experienced Attorneys