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What is Domestic Violence Enhancement?

domestic violence enhancement

Domestic violence is considered a severe crime in Tennessee, and it carries harsh penalties. This is to protect victims of domestic abuse. Some people don’t know that factors called “enhancements” can worsen their sentences in a domestic violence case. A domestic violence enhancement is a reason for a judge to increase your sentence.

Imagine that one night: you get into a fight with your roommates. The argument escalates, and you punch one of them, giving them a black eye. You committed this act in the heat of the moment, but now you deeply regret it. You’ve apologized to your roommate, but they’ve already pressed charges for domestic violence, stating that you’re an unsafe person to live with. In this situation, you are already dealing with grave consequences, but you might not realize that domestic violence enhancements can make your punishments much worse than you anticipated.

Learn what a domestic violence enhancement is to understand your case and how your criminal defense lawyer can help. And if you’ve been arrested for domestic violence, contact Pickford Law in Memphis, Tennessee, today. Our team of trusted criminal defense lawyers can create a defense for your domestic violence enhancements to minimize your sentence.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is when one commits harmful acts against a family or household member. Assault can involve knowingly hurting someone, threatening someone, or causing physical contact to which someone doesn’t consent.

Domestic violence must occur among family members, people you’ve lived with, or partners. Here are some examples of relatives and household members that would fall under this category:

  • Blood relatives
  • Adopted relatives
  • Current or former spouses
  • Current or former roommates
  • Dating or sexual partners
  • Relatives by marriage
  • Parents
  • Children

What Is a Domestic Violence Enhancement?

An enhancement, or an aggravating factor, is a reason that would cause a judge to add to a criminal sentence for domestic violence offenders. Sentence enhancements can be for any crime, but domestic enhancements are factors related specifically to domestic assault charges.

For example, if you were charged with domestic violence and had previous convictions for this crime, your prior convictions could be an aggravating factor. A judge would take note of your criminal record when creating your sentence. A misdemeanor could turn into a felony based on enhancements.

Here are some common enhancements that can affect domestic violence cases:

  • Weapons: You used a weapon to commit domestic violence.
  • Previous convictions: You’ve committed domestic violence before.
  • Serious injuries: You caused serious bodily harm versus minor injuries.
  • Vulnerable victims: You caused harm to a vulnerable victim or took advantage of a vulnerable victim to commit domestic violence.

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Tennessee

The penalties for domestic violence in Tennessee depend on various factors, such as the severity of the crime. Sentences for these crimes include:

  • Class A Misdemeanor: Up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
  • Class B Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • Class C Felony: Between 3 to 15 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
  • Class D Felony: Between 2 to 12 years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Besides fines and time in prison, you may face additional consequences, such as loss of child custody, firearm restrictions, and license suspension. While these are the main consequences, a domestic violence enhancer could increase your sentence.

Domestic Violence: Frequently Asked Questions

What are some defenses for domestic violence enhancements?

When you work with a criminal defense lawyer, they can help create defenses to reduce your sentence, even if you have aggravating factors against you. While domestic violence is a serious crime, some possible reasons include self-defense, defense of property, or defending another person.

Are stalking and harassment considered domestic abuse?

While domestic violence usually involves physical harm toward family members and other close relatives, harassment and stalking can be considered domestic abuse. Harassment consists of speaking to one in a threatening or offensive way. Meanwhile, stalking is when someone repeatedly contacts or harasses someone in a way that makes them fearful.

What are mitigating factors?

As opposed to aggravating factors, mitigating factors are reasons for the judge to reduce your criminal charges. For example, if your case was a first-time offense, you acted out of defense, and you showed regret for your actions, the judge might decrease your charges. A criminal defense lawyer can compile mitigating factors to help improve your case.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

People convicted of domestic violence offenses can face serious charges in Tennessee. With aggravating factors, these punishments can significantly escalate. Working with an experienced attorney can help you understand your criminal charges and how enhancements may affect your case.

At Pickford Law, we aim to protect your rights and reduce your sentence for your domestic violence charges and criminal case. We’ll create a strong defense for you to fight against domestic violence enhancements and related legal issues. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Author Bio

Shalondra Grandberry Pickford

Shalondra Grandberry Pickford is a highly skilled attorney and the founder of Pickford Law. Her legal practice is committed to representing clients on various legal matters, including social security disability, veterans’ disability, estate planning, and personal injury. With over ten years of experience in law and a license to practice in Tennessee and Arkansas, Shalondra is committed to providing personalized and effective legal representation to each client.

Shalondra received her Juris Doctorate from The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and is a member of the Tennessee and Arkansas State Bar Associations. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including the exclusive Rising Stars award from Super Lawyers in 2017 and again in 2022.

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