Domestic Assault

The Crime

Domestic Assault (also referred to as Domestic Violence, Domestic Abuse, and Domestic Battery) is a distinct and separate crime from Simple (regular) Assault. It may be classified either as a misdemeanor or felony offense and may damage your criminal record and your reputation for the rest of your life. In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Domestic Assault if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person intentionally or knowingly:

  1. Commits an assault
  2. Against a domestic abuse victim.

“Assault” is defined as:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another;
  2. Intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
  3. Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

“Domestic abuse victims” are victims who fall within the following categories:

  1. Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;
  2. Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together;
  3. Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have had a sexual relationship, but does not include fraternization between two (2) individuals in a business or social context;
  4. Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;
  5. Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or
  6. Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in 1-5 above.

If you have been charged with the crime of Domestic Assault, you should immediately contact the Knoxville criminal defense attorneys at the Oberman & Rice Law Firm.

[Sources: Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 39-13-111 and 39-13-101]

The Penalties

Under Tennessee law, the crime of Domestic Assault is a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class E Felony, depending on the circumstances, and may result in some or all of the following consequences:

If a Misdemeanor:

  1. A sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail (up to 90 mandatory consecutive days in jail, under certain circumstances);
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $5,000.00;
  4. Termination of physical possession of all firearms in possession within forty-eight (48) hours and prohibition from purchasing or owning a firearm in the future; and
  5. Court costs.

If a Felony:

  1. A sentence of 1 to 6 years in prison;
  2. A mandatory confinement period of not less than ninety (90) consecutive days;
  3. A probationary period;
  4. A fine no less than $350.00 and up to $3,000.00; and
  5. Court Costs

[Sources: Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 39-13-111 and 40-14-109]

Other Consequences of a Domestic Assault Conviction

In addition to the court-mandated penalties described above, a person convicted of Domestic Assault may also experience serious collateral (other) consequences. A Tennessee Domestic Assault conviction may result in the loss of college scholarships or the ability to seek admission to a higher learning institution. A conviction may also impact one’s ability to maintain or seek employment and may result in negative action to a professional license (e.g. nursing).

Furthermore, a conviction for Domestic Assault may potentially remain on one’s criminal history forever, thus allowing current and future employers to access records of prior convictions. This means that under current Tennessee criminal law and expungement law, one may not erase or expunge a Domestic Assault conviction from public record. Accordingly, current and future employers may access records of Tennessee criminal convictions forever. For more information about Tennessee expungement law, you may wish to review the information contained on our sister website,

Why Hire An Attorney Immediately?

It is important to act quickly in order to gather and preserve favorable evidence. Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time. Certain witnesses need to be interviewed as soon as possible. Also, video recordings and other evidence may be destroyed. Therefore, it is critical to begin an investigation as soon as possible to ensure valuable evidence is not lost. Success or failure in any criminal case may be determined in the decisions of the defendant and his or her Tennessee Criminal Attorney in only a few hours or days after an arrest is made.

Contact Us Today

If you or someone you know has recently been charged, contact the Oberman & Rice Law Firm today so that we can begin preparing a defense for your case. Submit your information for a free case evaluation from our Knoxville defense attorneys or call our office at 865-249-7200.

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Knoxville, TN 37902

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