Knoxville, Tennessee Lawyers
Being accused of domestic violence is frightening, humiliating, and stressful. The State of Tennessee aggressively prosecutes domestic violence charges and the penalties for a conviction are severe. The domestic violence defense attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC represent individuals throughout the Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Tri-Cities area who are being investigated for allegations of domestic violence or who have been arrested for domestic violence. Our attorneys have the experience and the knowledge to get positive results for our clients who are facing extremely difficult situations.
If you are under investigation or you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important that you invoke your right to remain silent except for asking to speak with your attorney. The desire to “tell your side of the story” will be overwhelming; however, you must refrain from doing so because anything you say can be used against you in court.
Contact the criminal defense attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC at 865-292-2307 as soon as possible so that we can begin an immediate investigation into the circumstance surrounding the domestic violence charges to build a strong defense to the allegations of domestic abuse. The sooner you contact our office the better chance you will have of obtaining a more favorable outcome by allowing us to do our job as efficiently and effectively as possible.
How is Domestic Violence Defined in Tennessee?
Most people assume that domestic violence is one spouse physically assaulting another spouse; however, this assumption is not entirely correct for two reasons. Domestic violence is about asserting power, control, and dominance over another person. This can take place by using several different types of abuse. Domestic violence is typically a pattern of behavior that is designed to intimidate, harm, and control the victim and can take the form of physical abuse and/or psychological abuse.
Examples of domestic violence include, but are not limited to:
Physical Abuse – This is one of the most commonly recognized forms of domestic violence. It involves one party physically harming the other party. The physical abuse can take any form of physical contact, including but not limited to, using physical restraints on the other party, sexual abuse, use of weapons, and use of a person’s own body to inflict physical pain and injury on the victim.
Psychological Abuse – Also referred to as emotional abuse, psychological abuse has the same severe and devastating effects as other forms of domestic abuse. Examples of psychological abuse include, but are not limited to, verbal attacks, continued humiliation, imposed isolation, threats of physical harm to the victim or to others, stalking, neglect, harassment, economic abuse (making the victim financially dependent on the abuser), and, forcing the victim into continued submissive roles that demean and destroy the victim’s ego and self-confidence.
Who are the Victims of Domestic Violence?
The second reason the assumption that domestic violence only occurs between spouses is incorrect is due to the broad definition of “domestic relationship.” According to Tennessee domestic violence laws, domestic violence occurs between parties who share a “domestic relationship.” Tennessee law defines a “domestic relationship” as a relationship between:
- Past or present roommates or other persons who have or who are residing together;
- Former spouses;
- A person with whom you have a child or children;
- Anyone related to you by blood or marriage;
- Someone you are currently dating or have dated in the past;
- Someone you are currently having a sexual relationship with or have had a sexual relationship with in the past; and,
- An adult or a minor child of the offender or a family or household member.
How are Domestic Violence Cases Different From Other Criminal Cases?
In many domestic violence cases, the underlying problem that caused the domestic violence arrest could be a simple argument between family members that escalated to the point that a neighbor or other party called the police. Once the police arrive at the scene, the matter then becomes a criminal investigation. Even in cases where no apparent physical harm has occurred, the police can still arrest an alleged abuser for domestic violence. In other words, you can be arrested for domestic violence due to an intense argument with your spouse or other family member. Physical violence does not need to be present for the officer to arrest you for domestic violence.
Unfortunately, after the parties have calmed down and the victim realizes he or she does not want to pursue charges of domestic violence, the matter is out of the victim’s control. The prosecutor decides whether to proceed with the domestic violence charges with or without the consent of the victim. If the victim refuses to testify, the prosecution has the right to subpoena the victim to testify in court.
Consequences of a Conviction for Domestic Violence in Tennessee
Therefore, if you are arrested on a domestic violence charge, you must take the matter very seriously. Even though you may believe it will “blow over” and the charges will be dropped, this may not necessarily be the case. A misunderstanding that escalated into a heated argument that resulted in the police being called may result in severe penalties if you are convicted of domestic violence.
Penalties for a conviction of domestic violence in Tennessee include, but are not limited to:
- Jail/prison sentences
- Permanent criminal record
- Supervised probation
- Random and regular drug screens
- Mandatory drug or alcohol treatment programs
- Completion of a batterers’ intervention program or domestic violence classes
- Fees for probation, drug screens, and mandatory programs
- Prohibited from future contact with the victim
- Loss of visitation with your children or forced supervised visitation with your children
- Must find and maintain employment
- Loss of the right to own or possess a firearm, including hunting rifles
A conviction on a domestic violence charge can seriously affect your ability to lead the life you want because your employment opportunities and where you live may be limited due to your criminal record. It is extremely important that you seek expert legal counsel as soon as possible if you are charged with domestic violence.
Contact an Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Immediately!
The criminal defense attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC provide comprehensive legal representation to individuals who have been charged with domestic violence in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Tri-Cities area. Our team of legal professionals thoroughly investigates the circumstances surrounding your charges to develop the best possible defense strategy to have the charges dismissed, if possible, or to minimize the consequences of a conviction.
Contact our office today at 865-292-2307 for a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys to learn about your legal rights to a fair and just trial in your criminal case.