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What Tennessee law has to say about domestic assault charges - III

Over the summer, our blog started taking a closer look at Tennessee's domestic assault laws in order to illustrate just how easily a person could find themselves facing these rather serious charges following an altercation with a loved one that they might classify as only minor.

Specifically, we took a closer look at what domestic assault entails, what aggravated assault entails, and who can be victimized by either offense. In today's post, we'll conclude this discussion by examining the possible penalties for a domestic assault conviction and the possible alternatives to incarceration.    

Understanding how domestic assault is punished

Here in Tennessee, domestic assault is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, meaning a conviction is punishable by anywhere from 29 days or up to 11 months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

However, if the underlying act was committed intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, and resulted in physical contact that a reasonable person would consider extremely offensive or provocative, it is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction for this level of offense is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

As for aggravated domestic assault, it can be classified as either a Class C felony or a Class D felony depending upon the circumstances.

For instance, if a defendant is found to have intentionally or knowingly committed an assault against a family member that resulted in serious bodily injury, this is a Class C felony punishable by anywhere from three to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Conversely, if a defendant is found to have recklessly committed an assault against a family member that resulted in serious bodily injury, this is a Class D felony punishable by anywhere from two to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

In terms of possible alternatives to incarceration, Tennessee permits everything from suspended sentencing and judicial diversion to other pre-trial options.

What all of this really serves to underscore is that anyone who has been charged with domestic assault should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible. As we've said before, the stakes -- your freedom, your reputation and your future -- are simply too high.  

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