Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
Recognizing the harmful and enduring effects of an abusive relationship, Tennessee treats domestic violence crimes differently than other crimes. In Tennessee, criminal charges for violence or stalking committed against a spouse, relative, or another household member carry increased penalties upon conviction. These well-intentioned laws may have devastating consequences for people accused of domestic violence. Nashville domestic violence attorney Bernie McEvoy is sensitive to the fact that abuse allegations of this nature often arise out of complicated relationships. He is prepared to listen to your side of the events and assess the facts for any potential defenses to a domestic charge in Davidson or Williamson County.Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges in Tennessee
Domestic assault and domestic violence-related offenses are generally crimes against people with a certain type of relationship to each other. In Tennessee, domestic assault is an assault committed against a current or ex spouse, parent, relative, or guardian, a person who shares a child with the defendant, a current or former roommate or sexual partner, or the child of any such person. If the defendant and alleged victim do not have a relationship of the type required under the statute, then the circumstances do not meet the requirements of a domestic assault offense in Tennessee. An assault committed against a co-worker or neighbor, for example, is not a domestic assault. Although the assault charge may stand, asserting the lack of a domestic relationship as a defense may avoid additional penalties for a domestic violence conviction.
Many domestic violence crimes, such as domestic assault, include the use of force or threat of force as an element of the offense. The prosecution may present evidence of the victim’s bodily injury, such as photographs or witness testimony, to establish that an assault occurred. If the victim’s injury was the result of an unrelated event or a previous incident, the defense may argue that the defendant was not responsible for causing the injury. This defense may be supported with testimony from an expert witness, medical records, and other evidence. In some situations, the defendant is falsely accused of domestic violence. Whether the motive is anger, jealousy, retribution, or to get the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings, there may be evidence to cast doubt on the veracity of allegations of domestic violence.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of domestic violence, the prosecution must show that the defendant intended to commit the crime. In cases where the bodily injury of the victim was accidentally inflicted by the defendant, for example, the defendant’s lack of intent may be a defense to domestic assault or another criminal charge. For a violation of an order of protection, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant intended to contact the victim or violate the terms of the restraining order. The defendant’s lack of intent to violate the order of protection may prevent a conviction.
Self-defense or acting in defense of someone else may be asserted against a domestic violence charge in some situations. For example, if the defendant used a weapon to stop her spouse from hurting her or her child, causing an injury, the assault may be justified. To determine whether any of these defenses to domestic violence charges may be available in your case, you may discuss the details of your situation with a criminal defense lawyer.Contact a Nashville Attorney Regarding Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
If you have been accused of domestic violence, there may be defenses available to avoid conviction or reduce the penalties. Nashville lawyer Bernie McEvoy can provide dedicated legal representation to defendants facing charges for domestic assault, stalking, sexual battery, and other felony crimes. He assists people with criminal law matters throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Nashville and Franklin. Request an appointment to discuss your situation by contacting the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy online, or calling our daytime number at (615) 255-9595 or (615) 804-8779 after hours and on weekends.