It is illegal in the state of Tennessee to physically abuse any current or former family members. The same also applies to any current or former romantic partners. To do so would be to commit domestic assault. Domestic assault is the criminal term that is used in Tennessee to refer to domestic violence.

Properly defined, domestic assault refers specifically to any intentional injury of another person that happens to be a current or former spouse, cohabitants who are living together, sexual partners, relatives – both blood and adoptive, current relatives by marriage and former ones and any children of the aforementioned whether they are adults or still considered minors.

It is also possible to commit domestic assault without physically harming another person as long as any actions committed would lead any reasonable person to harbor fear of potential bodily harm being perpetrated against them.

Domestic violence is a serious offense in the state of Tennessee. As far as penalties go, they are identical to the penalties levied against a regular assault charge and conviction. If the conviction is for causing either bodily injury or being responsible for evoking reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury then it is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If the conviction is for committing either offensive or provocative physical contact then it is considered a Class B misdemeanor.

If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor one may be fined up to $2,500 and may face over 11 months behind bars. If convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, then the defendant can expect a sentence no longer than six months in jail as well as a $500 fine.

Source: Findlaw, “Tennessee domestic Violence Laws,” Accessed June 29, 2015