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We are all innocent of something until proven guilty, right? Generally, that is right. However, that does not mean that if you are accused of certain criminal offenses that authorities will not take action against you.

A particular area of law in Tennessee where your rights are quickly put at-risk if accused of a crime is domestic violence. Basically, if a family member, romantic partner or roommate claims that you have committed domestic assault, you will be taken away by police, even if you know you did nothing wrong.

From a logical standpoint, it might seem understandable that officials want to deescalate a situation and get the parties involved in an alleged domestic dispute away from each other. From a criminal law and civil liberties viewpoint, being detained for a crime of which you have not been convicted can feel unfair. The legal reality of the situation can immediately damage an accused individual’s trust in the system as well as his or her reputation within the community.

In many domestic abuse cases, an accusation comes out of an emotional place rather than from a place of truth. Maybe a couple is fighting about a sensitive issue. Anger, sadness and/or resentment cause some people to make false reports of assault, reports that they might regret and want to take back down the road.

Whatever is the circumstance behind an allegation of domestic violence in Tennessee, you have rights and legal options to try to best protect your future. Protecting your future in a domestic abuse case not only means avoiding jail time and fines but also protecting some important personal freedoms. A conviction could take away your right to own a firearm. And on an even more personal level, a conviction could cost you your parental rights. 

There is a lot to lose if a spouse, ex-spouse, significant other, child, other family member or cohabitant accuses you of domestic violence. Protect yourself as soon as possible by working with a criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight to preserve your freedom and rights as a citizen and parent.