23 Oct

Domestic Assault is an issue that comes up in our practice quite often.  It comes up both in the criminal and divorce areas of our practice.  Many times it is real and what actually leads to a divorce action.  Some of the more frustrating cases are when a party assaults the other (or not) then calls it in as domestic assault.  The standards are probable cause, which is low for an arrest.  Then it takes time to unravel it all in criminal court.  Especially when it is done out of spite, neither of the parties want to take it all the way to regular criminal jury trial, where you have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, because that takes a lot of time and expense. Assault is found at T.C.A. Section 39-13-101, et seq. “Domestic Assault” is committed against someone who is a :  (1) current or former spouse; (2) cohabitant; (3) dating or sexual partner; (4) blood or adoptive parent; or (5) adult or minor child of any of the above individuals.  Related offenses include, but are not limited to: rape, child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment or false imprisonment. As we have discussed in our divorce sections, when you are a victim of domestic assault, and you do not have an attorney and/or have not filed for divorce, then you should go to your local police department and file for an order of protection.  If you have retained an attorney, then you can handle it in order, which we think is the better option. An assault occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly causes:  (1) bodily injury to another person; (2) another person to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or (3) physical contact with another person and a reasonable person would consider the contact as extremely offensive or provocative. Domestic assault is a Class A misdemeanor unless if falls under the third category, then it is a Class B misdemeanor.  Pursuant to T.C.A. Section 40-35-111, a class A misdemeanor is up to 11 months, 29 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $2500.  A Class B misdemeanor is not more than 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. Should you have any questions, call us at (423) 424-6208 or email at  You can visit us on the web at our temporary website:  jonesand

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