Being charged with domestic assault is a very serious situation. The severity of a domestic assault charge can vary depending on the exact circumstances of the case, but domestic assault is generally a serious misdemeanor, or even a felony.
But what exactly is domestic assault? Domestic assault is generally defined as assault committed against a member of one’s family or household, including children, spouses and ex-spouses, parents, and roommates. A common example of domestic assault is when two partners get into an argument and one slaps the other across the face. In this situation, if/when police respond to the scene, the person who was slapped will be categorized as the domestic violence “victim” and the person who did the slapping will be referred to as the domestic violence “aggressor.”
If the police find that there is probable cause to believe that a domestic assault has occurred, they will seek a warrant to arrest the aggressor. After the aggressor is booked into jail, there will likely be a mandatory hold (usually of 12 hours or less) placed on them. This cool-down period is intended to give time for tensions to ease and for the victim to make arrangements for their safety once the aggressor is released from jail.
Oftentimes, as a condition of the aggressor’s bail, the magistrate who sets their bond will require the aggressor not to contact the alleged victim. This may include being required to move out of a shared residence, refraining from contacting the alleged victim’s minor child(ren), and staying away from any place where the alleged victim is likely to be (such as their workplace). In serious domestic assault cases, the victim may even go through the civil court in their jurisdiction to seek an order of protection (OOP) against the aggressor. However, in many domestic assault cases, both the aggressor and the alleged victim want to have the no-contact order dismissed. Even if the alleged victim in your domestic assault case wants the no-contact order dropped, though, it is crucial that you obey the order until it is formally dismissed. If you are found to be in violation of the court’s order, your bail will be revoked and you will be taken back to jail.
If your belongings are at a shared residence with the alleged victim and you need to pick things up, you can call the police department that arrested you and request an escort to move your stuff out. This will not only ensure that you are not found in violation of your bond conditions, but will also prevent another conflict that could get you arrested again from arising.
Many aggressors will also be ordered to stay away from alcohol and firearms. These provisions are also put in place to protect alleged victims from future harm, since alcohol and firearms can increase the risk of escalation. Just like the no-contact order, it is important that you follow the court’s instruction to not drink, do drugs, or possess firearms until your case is officially closed. As much as we all enjoy a nice drink, it’s definitely not worth going to jail.
Of course, while obeying the conditions of your bond and staying out of other trouble, you should hire a criminal defense attorney when you’ve been charged with domestic assault. A domestic assault conviction is a serious misdemeanor, or can be a felony if you have prior domestic assault convictions. In fact, those convicted of domestic assault can have their right to own or possess a firearm stripped from them in Tennessee, potentially forever. A criminal defense attorney will fight to have your charges reduced or dropped, and will guide you through the process of staying on track both before and after your court date. For example, some people charged with domestic violence are employed at the same business as the alleged victim. A
criminal defense attorney can help people such as this have the no-contact order lifted, or OOP dismissed, so that they can go back to work.
If you’ve been charged with domestic assault, you need an attorney who will listen to your story and your goals. Best & Brock’s experienced legal team is here to help. Reach out through our online contact form or call (423) 829-1043 to set up a FREE consultation!