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Tennessee domestic violence charges have a ripple effect

When Chattanooga police officers are called to a house or apartment where there’s been a domestic dispute between boyfriend and girlfriend, or husband and wife, and there is evidence of an assault, they must make an arrest – even when both people say that they don’t want the other arrested.

Police arrest who they believe to be the “primary aggressor,” but in many instances where there are contradictory versions of events, it is difficult to determine who that is. So in some cases, both people are arrested. In others, the confusion over contradictory stories can mean that the victim is actually arrested and charged with domestic assault.

In all cases, there is peripheral damage to the person arrested and convicted of domestic assault. That person can lose their job and career, or personal relationships, their reputation or their standing in the community.

In Tennessee domestic assault charges are in one of two categories:

  • Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2.500.
  • Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by not more than six months in jail and a $500 fine.

We read recently of a Tennessee police officer who has been charged with domestic assault after an early-morning dispute with his girlfriend. She told responding officers that he had knocked a cellphone from her hands and damaged a coffee table.

She said he also held her arm underwater in order to prevent her Bluetooth-enabled watch to function properly.

After the officer’s arrest, the Nashville Police Department decommissioned him and launched an investigation into the incident.

The best thing for anyone in this type of situation to do is to refrain from trying to argue their way out of their predicament. Instead, they should speak with an attorney experienced in domestic violence defense about the evidence and their best legal options.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association
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