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

In a previous post, our blog began discussing how Tennessee's laws relating to domestic assault are likely much broader than people envision, such that they could find themselves being charged with this very serious offense following an altercation with someone they wouldn't otherwise think would be covered by the law.

To that end, we explored how domestic assault charges can apply if the alleged victim is more than just a spouse, child or significant other, but also a blood relative, a relative by marriage and a former romantic partner. We also started discussing how state law essentially defines domestic assault the same as simple assault with the only exception being that the actions were purportedly committed against a person considered family or a member of the household.

In today's post, we'll continue our efforts to provide some basic background information on Tennessee's domestic assault laws.

Understanding more what aggravated domestic assault entails

When it comes to aggravated domestic assault, state law defines it the same as aggravated assault with the exception being that it is perpetrated against a family member or member of the household.

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

  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury to another
  • Intentionally or knowingly attempt to cause bodily injury via strangulation
  • Display or use a deadly weapon during an assault
  • Intentionally or knowingly cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another, or attempt to commit or commit an assault whilst under a probation agreement, order, or diversion prohibiting such conduct

Regarding domestic assault and domestic aggravated assault, it's important to understand that a reckless act, under either definition, is one that is committed willingly without any real concern as to the outcome.

Furthermore, the difference between a bodily injury and a serious bodily injury hinges on the severity of the trauma. A bodily injury includes anything decidedly less serious in nature, such as bruises, scrapes or cuts, while a serious bodily injury includes anything decidedly more serious in nature, such as broken bones or injuries necessitating hospitalization.

We'll continue this discussion in future posts, examining the possible penalties for a domestic assault conviction and alternatives to incarceration.

If you've been charged with domestic assault, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible, as the stakes --  your freedom, your reputation and your future -- are simply too high.   

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Mathis, Bates & Klinghard PLLC
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