It’s not always easy living with family members. Arguments break out, and — depending on the household — things can also get physical. In certain circumstances, police could interpret different types of altercations in the home to be domestic assault, and that can result in arrests and criminal allegations.

It’s vital that every Tennessee resident understands what constitutes domestic assault, so that they can avoid committing it and also avoid becoming a victim of false domestic assault accusations.

The legal definition of domestic assault in Tennessee

Domestic violence is a fairly broad criminal law category in Tennessee. There are a lot of different behaviors — many of which are not physical — that a court could construe to be domestic violence. However, when it comes to violent physical contact — or the threat of violent physical contact — between two people who live together, or between two current or former romantic partners, the court system will refer to it as domestic assault.

According to the state law, domestic assault is defined as (1) intentional injury or reckless injury of a person, (2) offensive physical contact against another person or (3) the threat of committing these. As compared to other forms of assault, domestic assault happens when the above is committed against:

  • A cohabitant
  • A current or former romantic partner
  • A current or former spouse
  • An adoptive or biological relative
  • Current or former relative through marriage
  • Adult or minor children who are related to the above people, or who are related to the alleged abuser

Domestic assault convictions come with grave consequences

Accused individuals who suffer a conviction of domestic assault could spend time in jail, they could lose their child custody rights and they could even lose the right to spend time with their children. Due to these and the many other stiff consequences of a domestic assault conviction, those who have been accused of this crime will want to consider various ways of defending themselves. The more accused individuals understand the facts of their cases and the unique laws that apply, the better informed they’ll be when making decisions about the direction of their criminal proceedings.