Domestic violence allegations in Tennessee can bring with them serious consequences. These can have a detrimental effect on your professional reputation, your family, and your personal life. You will need to hire an attorney who understands the Tennessee criminal and family law matters that can impact a criminal domestic violence charge.
If you were recently accused of and arrested for a domestic violence charge that involved your spouse, parent, domestic partner, child, sibling or another member of the family, including a pet, you are probably feeling very confused and have several questions regarding what exactly is happening and what you should do to protect yourself.
First, you should know that you are not alone. Our domestic violence attorneys at Griffin & Davis, PLLC have more than forty years of combined experience successfully representing Tennessee residents who have been charged with the crime of domestic violence, in order to ensure that they have the very best outcome in their case. We can help you, too.
What Constitutes a Domestic Violence Charge in Tennessee?
Like all other states in America, domestic violence is illegal in the state of Tennessee. Domestic violence refers to a specific type of assault against current/former family members, romantic/sexual partners, a current/former spouse, a person who an individual resides with or used to reside with, someone the individual is related to by blood or adoption, or an adult or minor child of any of these individuals.
Domestic violence takes on several different forms. This makes it one the broadest types of violent crimes that Tennessee can charge you with. For starters, any situation that involves physical abuse between family members constitutes domestic violence, including the following:
- Throwing items or objects;
- Breaking items or objects;
- Burning; and/or
- Attempted murder.
If you have recently been arrested with domestic violence, you need to hire a criminal defense attorney who has the skills and experience needed to stand by your side throughout the entire criminal process. The lawyers at Griffin & Davis, PLLC have more than four decades of criminal law experience and have successfully represented hundreds of Tennessee residents who were charged with a crime in order to get the best possible outcome in their domestic violence cases. Let us help you, too.
Psychological and Emotional Abuse Are Another Form of Domestic Violence
Psychological and/or emotional abuse are also considered to be forms of domestic violence in the state of Tennessee, which includes:
- Manipulating family members;
- Manipulating words;
- Intimidating family members;
- Sleep disruption to intentionally make someone feel unrested and tired;
- Deliberately disrespecting friends and family members; and/or
- The monitoring of text message, phone calls, emails, and social media.
Financial Abuse is Another Form of Domestic Violence
Financial abuse takes place when the abuser makes sure that their victim is dependent on them for all of their financial needs. The following acts are considered forms of financial abuse:
- Withholding money from the victim;
- Ensuring victims have no say as to how or why money is spent;
- Forbidding that the victim from going to work or classes;
- Incurring huge debts in the victim’s name;
- Sabotaging their victim’s job opportunities;
- Not allowing the victim to use the automobile to get to work or school; and/or
- Destroying work or schoolwork.
If you have been arrested for financial domestic violence, contact a reputable and knowledgeable domestic violence attorney at Griffin & Davis, PLLC to ensure that your rights are protected at all times throughout the entire legal process.
Sexual Abuse is Another Form of Domestic Violence
Believe it or not, sexual abuse between spouses or partners is also considered to be a form of domestic violence in the state of Tennessee. Forms of domestic violence that are considered sexual abuse include the following:
- Coercing the victim into engaging in sexual acts;
- Rape that occurs between spouses or partners;
- Making unwanted calls;
- Making unwanted text messages;
- Tracking the victim’s telephone;
- Tracking the victim’s car;
- Not leaving when asked to leave; and/or
- Harassing the victim.
Being accused of even one of the behaviors listed above can have a seriously disastrous impact on every aspect of your life. That is why it is so important to enlist the services of a highly skilled criminal attorney to represent you if you have been charged with domestic violence in Tennessee.
Police Response to Domestic Violence
If police officers/officials respond to a call about domestic violence, they must arrest someone, even if both individuals do not want to press charges. Tennessee law requires that police officials arrest the “primary aggressor.” This term, however, is very loosely defined. Often, it is up to the police officers to make the decision on whom they deem to be the primary aggressor.
This is likely determined by involved individual or witness stories. Oftentimes, however, stories will be conflicting and people will lie about the facts. Sometimes, police will arrest someone who was actually the victim in the domestic violence case. If you believe police have wrongfully arrested you on domestic violence charges contact the offices of Griffin & Davis, PLLC to speak with a lawyer that can answer all of your questions and help to build a strong defense to the charges you are facing.
Surrendering to the Police
When you surrender to the police or when a detective reads your Miranda rights and they tell you that anything you say will be used against you, that is exactly what they mean. You may feel compelled to explain your side of the story to make them understand the situation better. Do not make that mistake. Never talk to the police without calling and speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Griffin & Davis, PLLC first.
If you have been contacted by detectives because someone filed a domestic violence complaint against you, the police may say, “We’d just like to talk to you briefly,” or, “Can you come down to the police station to talk?” Do not do it without first calling an attorney at Griffin & Davis, PLLC, because what the police really mean is that you will be questioned by their detectives, who will use everything you say against you, and then you will be arrested.
Make sure you are prepared and are no caught off guard when this does happen. Never go to the police station alone if you do not have to. You have the right to speak with an attorney before answering any questions and that is exactly what you should do. Call Griffin & Davis, PLLC to speak with an attorney at any time, day or night.
“Cooling Off Period”
If someone has been arrested for domestic violence in the state of Tennessee, it is required by law that they remain in jail for at least twelve hours, even if they or someone else can pay their bail. This is known as the “cooling off period” and is in effect to allow the suspect time to calm down before attacking the suspect again. This cooling down period is required even if the suspect poses no threat to the victim/victims.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Charge in Tennessee
A domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor that will have a permanent impact on your life. You can face the following consequences if you are convicted of domestic violence in Tennessee:
- Jail or prison time;
- Community service;
- Lose your right to possess or own a firearm; and/or
- Attend anger management classes/rehabilitation.
You may also lose your job because of a conviction for domestic violence which will make it harder to find another job in the future. A conviction can damage or strain your relationship with some family members or friends. That is why it is so important to hire a skilled and experienced domestic violence attorney to protect your best interests. Call Griffin & Davis, PLLC to speak with a qualified lawyer about the charges you are facing.
Defense Strategy for the Charges You Are Facing
In Tennessee, there are some defenses that are used more often than others when it comes to domestic violence charges. Every domestic violence case will be different. The most commonly used defense strategies, however, argue that you acted in self-defense, that the person who accused you of the offense did so in an effort to intentionally falsely accuse you, or that the police arrested the wrong person for the crime.
Your attorney will study and examine every detail of your case to determine which defense will work best in your situation so that you can avoid a conviction that can follow you through the rest of your life. Different counties have different proceedings for domestic violence cases. It is important that you have an attorney that has knowledge of your county’s domestic violence laws and procedures so that they can fight for the best outcome in your case. Some counties have special courtrooms, judges, and policies they use just for domestic violence cases.
Suspects of domestic violence may have to go through a six-month “batterer’s intervention program.” This program seeks to prevent suspects of domestic violence from engaging in future abuse.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
A domestic violence conviction in the state of Tennessee is serious. It is the only misdemeanor that will prevent an individual from buying a firearm in the future forever. This is also the only misdemeanor in Tennessee that cannot be expunged from your criminal record. The offender must also pay a special fine used to fund family violence shelters and shelter programs. They may also be required to pay the victim’s additional expenses. These includes expenses incurred for any physical/health damages, hospital bills, or property damage.
Domestic assault is punishable by six to 11 months of jail time and a fine from $500 to $2,500. This depends, however, on the severity of the crime/assault.
Aggravated domestic assault is a felony in Tennessee. It results in greater penalties and fines. It can be punishable by two to 15 years in prison and a fine from $5,000 to $10,000.
Work With An Experienced Tennessee Criminal Defense Attorney
Being accused and charged with the domestic violence crime can make you feel as if your life is unraveling before your very eyes. If you are actually convicted of this crime, the result could have consequences that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Call Griffin & Davis, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned Tennessee criminal attorneys who specialize in domestic violence cases. We have helped countless residents of Tennessee who have been charged with a crime get the best possible outcome for the charges they were facing and we can help you too. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at 931-837-2050 or 865-354-3333. We can help you build a rock-solid defense to the charges against you.