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What Tennessee law has to say about domestic assault charges

Most people who hear the term domestic violence or domestic assault automatically envision scenarios in which a husband or wife is arrested on suspicion of having physically battered their significant other. While this is by no means an inaccurate depiction, it's also somewhat limited.

Indeed, the law here in Tennessee addressing domestic assault is significantly broader, such that a person may find themselves unwittingly facing these very serious charges after an altercation with someone they wouldn't have imagined would be covered by the law.

In recognition of this reality, today's post, the first in a series, will start providing some basic background information on Tennessee's domestic assault law.

Understanding who can be victimized by domestic assault

Under Tennessee law, domestic assault charges apply if the alleged victim fits under any of the following categories:

  • Former or current spouse
  • Adult or minor children of the accused, or a household or family member
  • Person with whom the accused is currently residing or has previously resided
  • Person to whom the accused is related by blood or adoption
  • Person to whom the accused is or was related by marriage
  • Person whom the accused is or was dating
  • Person whom the accused is or was having a sexual relationship

Understanding what domestic assault entails

Tennessee law essentially declares that a person commits domestic assault whenever they commit an assault against any of the aforementioned parties. This naturally begs the question then as to how the state defines an assault.

In general, a person is found to commit assault whenever they do the following:

  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another
  • Intentionally or knowingly cause another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury
  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause physical contact with another that a reasonable person would consider offensive and/or provocative

We'll continue examining this subject in future posts, exploring what kind of conduct could be considered an assault ...

In the meantime, please don't hesitate to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you've been charged with domestic assault. Your freedom, your reputation and your future are all at stake.

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