Some lawyers may have a lot to say but little to show for it. Nashville domestic violence attorney, Amanda J. Gentry, however, is a proactive and deeply passionate legal advocate who delivers real talk with real results. She will provide you straightforward and honest legal advice and help you all the way to the finish line of your case. You can expect accessible and down-to-earth legal guidance, as she facilitates an open office environment and will drive to whichever courthouse near you to champion your defense.
In Tennessee, domestic violence is assault committed against an alleged victim who is a family or household member, such as:
- A current or former spouse of the offender
- A person with whom the offender resides or previously resided
- A person whom the offender has or previously had a dating or sexual relationship
- Someone with whom the offender is related by blood or adoption
- A person with whom the offender is or was related by marriage
- An adult or minor child of the offender
Note that an act of assault could be any intentional, knowing, or reckless act that causes bodily injury to the other person or otherwise causes the person to reasonably fear such bodily injury. The assault rises to the aggravated level if the injury is serious or if the offense involved the use of a deadly weapon.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in TN and Alternative Sentencing
The penalties for domestic assault will depend on the severity of the offense. Simple domestic assault will likely be charged as a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, punishable by the following:
- Class A misdemeanor – up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500
- Class B misdemeanor – up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500
Aggravated domestic assault is punished more severely as a Class C or Class D felony, which carry the following penalties:
- Class C felony – 3-15 years in prison and a fine of up $10,000
- Class D felony – 2-12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
The offender may also permanently lose their right to carry a firearm and be required to pay a special fine used to fund family violence shelters and shelter programs. They may also be required to pay restitution to reimburse the alleged victim for any expenses due to the crime, such as medical treatment or repair of damaged property.
Note that in certain situations, if the defendant has no prior misdemeanor convictions that require jail time and no felony convictions, the court may grant judicial diversion (a deferred sentence). In such a case, the court will postpone sentencing on the condition that the defendant successfully complies with probation and certain other requirements, such as:
- No new arrests or criminal offenses during the conditional period
- Completion of psychological treatment
- Doing volunteer work in the community
If the defendant satisfies all the requirements, the court may discharge them and dismiss the case. (Keep in mind that the arrest, diversion, and dismissal will all be recorded on the defendant's criminal record). If the defendant does not meet all the requirements, the court will impose a sentence and enter a conviction.
Violating a Protective Order in Tennessee
In any domestic violence case, the alleged victim has the right to request protection against their apparent abuser. This is in the form of a court-issued protective order (also known as restraining orders). These orders can be temporary or permanent, and they may establish prohibited behavior from the defendant. For instance, a protective order can require that the defendant:
- Refrain from contacting the petitioner
- Relinquish custody rights
- Move out of the shared home
- Provide suitable alternate housing for the petitioner
Individuals who violate the terms of a protective order against them may be charged with contempt and face the following penalties:
- Class A misdemeanor charge
- $50 civil penalty
- $100-$2,500 in fines
- Incarceration (likely Class A misdemeanor levels)
- Bond of at least $2,500
Contact the Law Offices of Amanda J. Gentry for Legal Support
If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, whether domestic assault or violating a protective order, do not hesitate to take legal action in your defense immediately. You could be facing a permanent revocation of your firearm rights and months behind bars, among other penalties. An experience and tenacious advocate like Nashville domestic violence attorney Amanda J. Gentry can help you stand your ground and argue for mitigated or even dismissed charges, such as through judicial diversion.
“I recommend her when you have a tough case.”
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