The state's domestic assault definition contains two distinct terms: domestic and assault. The assault portion of the definition matches the general definition of the crime of assault. An assault occurs when a person intentionally or through reckless conduct injures another person or causes the other person to have a reasonable fear that they will be injured. Therefore, an assault can be physical violence, but it can also be the infliction of psychological or emotional harm.
The second part of the definition focuses on the word "domestic." Domestic generally refers to things of the home or of family concern. To this end, domestic assault is assault that occurs between individuals of a family or within a home.
In Tennessee, domestic assault can be alleged against a person who shares blood ties with their alleged abuser, such as a child. It can be alleged by an adoptive child or by a spouse, former spouse, or even a person to whom the alleged abuser was related through a former marriage, such as a former parent-in-law. Individuals who are actively related to their alleged abusers may also bring domestic assault claims against those who they perceive are harming them.
When a person is alleged to have committed domestic assault, the range of charges that they may face can expand beyond that one single offense. For example, if an alleged victim claims that their abuser forced them to stay inside and have no contact with others, then the alleged abuser may face false imprisonment charges as well as domestic assault charges.
This blog has previously discussed how a domestic violence or domestic assault charge can impact a person's family law rights. These are serious legal matters for all of the parties involved, and individuals confronting these and other criminal legal claims are asked to find criminal defense attorneys to support them through their legal matters.