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Here in Tennessee, if a heated argument between a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend takes place and Memphis police are called and it appears that an assault has taken place, someone is going to be arrested – even if both people say that they don’t want the other charged with domestic violence.

Officers are supposed to arrest the “primary aggressor,” but they can often have difficulty determining who that might be, especially when accounts of events are contradictory. In some cases, police will arrest both people and sometimes they will arrest the person who was actually the victim in the case.

An arrest for domestic assault is in one of two classes:

  • Class A misdemeanor: punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2.500.
  • Class B misdemeanor: punishable by not more than six months behind bars and a $500 fine.

Additional tangential punishments can also be in store for those accused and convicted of domestic violence, including loss of a job, damage to personal relationships and damage to a person’s reputation, among others.

We read recently of a Tennessee police officer arrested on a charge of domestic assault after he and his girlfriend were in an early morning dispute. The woman told responding officers that her boyfriend refused to leave her apartment and had knocked a phone out of her hand.

She also said he damaged a coffee table in her apartment. The result of her allegations is that the 32-year-old officer was not only arrested, but later that day was decommissioned by the Nashville Police Department. The department has also launched an investigation into his behavior.

Clearly, his job and career are on the line – a prospect many others arrested for domestic assault face as well.

Anyone in this predicament should resist the urge to try to talk their way out of the arrest.

Rather than say something that can inadvertently damage your case, speak with an attorney who understands domestic violence law, the court system, evidence and how to protect client rights and freedom.