Few criminal charges come with as much social baggage and legal gray area as domestic violence or domestic assault. Those convicted of domestic violence could face consequences ranging from incarceration and other criminal consequences and social stigma to negative outcomes in an upcoming divorce.
After an arrest for domestic assault, pleading guilty might seem like the best solution because it will be fast and let you avoid the embarrassment of going to court to defend yourself. However, if you plead guilty, you are at risk of all kinds of consequences that come with a domestic violence conviction in Tennessee.
There are going to be criminal penalties
Your previous criminal record and the exact behavior that leads to the charges against you influence what charges and penalties you face. Although some misdemeanor domestic violence charges will be Class B offenses, most domestic assault charges will be Class A misdemeanors that mean up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, as well as fines of up to $2,500.
A criminal record for domestic violence can affect your employment options in the future and also limit where you can live if you try to rent a home.
Any domestic violence charges affect your Second Amendment rights
A conviction or guilty plea stemming from an act of domestic violence will legally end your right to own firearms. Misdemeanor domestic violence charges or even violent offenses stemming from domestic violence still affect someone’s right to own guns. It is the nature of the offense as domestic, not the name of the charge, that determines the impact of the offense.
There can be family court consequences for domestic assault
Criminal proceedings related to domestic assault will make it easier for a former partner to convince the courts to issue them an order of protection against you. That might affect your ability to socialize, force you to change where you live or even affect your employment.
If you share children with the other person involved, domestic violence could have a impact your custody rights. Although the Tennessee family courts usually try to keep both parents involved, cases with credible allegations of physical violence in the family may lead to the courts awarding sole custody to the other parent.
All of these consequences combined to produce a much worse effect than a few months in jail or a few thousand dollars in fines. Fighting back against allegations of domestic violence not only protects you from jail but also from the loss of your relationship with your children and the lingering effects of a criminal record.