Is Domestic Violence a Felony? Understanding the Legal Ramifications

In the realm of criminal law, understanding the implications of domestic violence charges is paramount. The severity of these charges can vary, and it’s crucial to comprehend the legal landscape surrounding them. At Best and Brock, we recognize the gravity of felony domestic violence charges and aim to provide comprehensive insight into this complex issue.

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Defining Felony Domestic Violence

Domestic violence encompasses a range of violent acts occurring between individuals who share or have shared a relationship, live together, or are related by blood. In Tennessee, the scope of domestic abuse victims extends to spouses, former spouses, dating partners, family members, roommates, and household members, along with their children and other individuals as stipulated by law.

While many domestic violence offenses are classified as misdemeanors, certain circumstances can escalate the charges to felonies. Understanding these circumstances is crucial for anyone facing such allegations.

Understanding Felony Offenses

Domestic Assault

In Tennessee, assaulting a domestic abuse victim can lead to a domestic assault charge. If the defendant and the alleged victim have a current or past marital, dating, or sexual relationship, or if the victim is the minor child of such individuals, a third domestic assault offense within ten years may result in a felony charge. This elevates domestic assault to a Class E felony, punishable by up to 6 years incarceration, with a minimum sentencing of 90 days.

Aggravated Assault

Factors such as the use of a deadly weapon, serious bodily injury to the victim, or assault on a child by their parent or caregiver can escalate domestic assault to aggravated assault. The severity of aggravated assault charges varies based on the circumstances, ranging from Class D to Class C felonies, with those convicted facing up to 12 or 15 years incarceration, respectively. 

Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse and neglect are serious offenses. In Tennessee, child abuse involving injury to a child aged eight or younger constitutes a Class D felony. Additionally, aggravated child abuse involves exacerbating factors such as cruelty, serious bodily injury, or exposure to harmful substances, potentially resulting in Class B felony charges, which carry prison sentences of 8 to 30 years.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Navigating felony domestic violence charges requires legal representation. At Best and Brock, our experienced attorneys understand the nuances of these cases and are dedicated to advocating for the best interests of our clients. We provide representation to individuals facing felony domestic violence charges, offering guidance and support throughout the legal process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of evidence are typically presented in felony domestic violence cases, and how can attorneys use this evidence in defense strategies?

In felony domestic violence cases, evidence often includes witness testimonies, medical reports documenting injuries, 911 call recordings, and physical evidence such as photographs of injuries or property damage. Attorneys can use this evidence to challenge the prosecution’s narrative, scrutinize witness credibility, and establish alternative explanations for the alleged events. For example, medical reports may be utilized to demonstrate inconsistencies in injury patterns or refute claims of severe harm.

How do felony domestic violence charges impact child custody and visitation rights, and what legal avenues exist to address these issues during legal proceedings?

Felony domestic violence charges can significantly impact child custody and visitation rights, often leading to restrictions or supervised visitation arrangements to ensure the safety of the child. Legal avenues to address these issues include petitioning the court for modifications to custody arrangements, presenting evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating factors, and advocating for the best interests of the child through legal representation.

Are there alternative dispute resolution methods available for individuals facing felony domestic violence charges, such as mediation or plea bargaining, and what are the potential benefits and drawbacks of these approaches?

Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or plea bargaining can offer individuals facing felony domestic violence charges an opportunity to resolve their cases outside of court. Mediation allows parties to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution with the assistance of a neutral mediator, potentially reducing the emotional and financial costs of litigation. However, plea bargaining involves negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution, which may result in reduced charges or penalties but requires admitting guilt.

What role do restraining orders and protective orders play in felony domestic violence cases, and how can individuals obtain or contest these orders within the legal system?

Restraining orders and protective orders serve as legal mechanisms to protect domestic violence victims from further harm by prohibiting contact or proximity from the alleged perpetrator. Individuals can obtain these orders by filing petitions with the court, providing evidence of domestic violence or threats, and attending hearings to present their case. Conversely, individuals subject to restraining orders can contest them by challenging the evidence presented or demonstrating compliance with court-mandated conditions.

Garth Best was extremely helpful in my case. He explored and explained everything to me clearly and never stopped checking out every option. I am absolutely grateful I chose him as my attorney. Best and Brock are a great choice for representation. Thanks again.

- Jeremy Forgey

Matt Brock did an outstanding job with my case. Very thorough and knowledgeable attorney, highly recommended. Its very obvious through my interactions with him that he has the experience and knowledge to win in court. I will not go anywhere else. Great job, much appreciated.

- Chris Griffin


How do societal perceptions and cultural factors influence the handling of felony domestic violence cases, and what steps can be taken to address biases within the legal system?

Societal perceptions and cultural factors can significantly impact the handling of felony domestic violence cases, influencing everything from law enforcement response to judicial decision-making. Biases based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, or cultural background may affect how victims are perceived, how evidence is evaluated, and the outcomes of legal proceedings. Addressing these biases requires ongoing education and training for legal professionals, implementing culturally sensitive practices, and promoting diversity within the legal system to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all parties involved.

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Fighting for Your Rights

Facing felony domestic violence charges is a daunting experience, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. At Best and Brock, our dedicated team of attorneys stand ready to provide you with the representation and support you need during this challenging time.

If you or a loved one is facing felony domestic violence charges, don’t wait to seek legal guidance. Contact Best and Brock today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your rights and options. Our experienced attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your interests and advocate for the best possible outcome in your case.

Don’t let felony domestic violence charges derail your future. Take action now and enlist the help of Best and Brock to ensure that your rights are safeguarded every step of the way. Call us today to get started.