Domestic violence is a common misdemeanor crime in Memphis, Tennessee. Sometimes it truly is a situation where one party fears the other, but frequently it occurs when the “victim” does not want to press charges but the other person is charged anyway, is arrested, and must go to court. Memphis police take these cases very seriously and they aren’t going to just tell the two people to calm down after a domestic call. Once they get to your door, someone’s going to jail. If you or someone close to you has been charged with this offense, you probably have many questions about what happens next. This article will address some of those questions.

Will I (or the accused) have to go back to jail? Probably not. The first thing you need to do is talk to a lawyer who handles Memphis domestic violence cases. While these charges are serious they can be worked out favorably for first-time offenders. The court isn’t going to just drop the charges because that’s what the victim wants, but they understand that a solution needs to be reached when the victim does not want to prosecute.

What are the penalties for a domestic assault charge in Tennessee? It’s a class A misdemeanor punishable up to 11 months and 29 days, though if a deadly weapon was used it will be charged as a C felony with a minimum 3 years in jail.

How can I keep it from going on my record? If you’re a first-time offender you have options. It may require probation for that period I just mentioned. If the victim does not want to prosecute, though, you may be able to enroll in an anger management course with a dismissal of the charges upon completion of that. It’s going to depend on what the victim want, whether the state agrees to it, the facts of the case, and also perhaps taking a domestic violence assessment. When possible, I like to meet with the victim and have them sign an affidavit that he or she won’t press charges and wishes to see the case dismissed. This can be helpful in dealing with the prosecuting attorney.

How much is a Memphis domestic violence charge going to cost me? You can’t put a price on your freedom and having a clean record, so what you’ll pay to have your case taken care of is money well spent. Attorney fees are just going to depend on that particular lawyer’s skills and the complexity of the case. Court costs could be anywhere from $100 to several hundred. If you have to go on probation you pay $45 a month, and that could be from six months to a year. Finally if you have to pay an expungement fee then that’s $450. You only have to pay that if you go on diversion, but if the charge is dismissed by the state then there’s no expungement fee. Patrick Stegall is a Memphis domestic violence lawyer. He has helped many first time offenders in Memphis, Germantown, and Collierville with their cases. To see how he can help you, call him at (901) 205-9894 or send an email to pstegall@stegall-law.com.

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