TN Domestic Violence Lawyers
Whether you have been accused of domestic assault or abuse or are a victim needing the legal know-how to strengthen your case, a domestic violence lawyer at Sherwood Litigation can help. We understand that you may be feeling scared, anxious, embarrassed, and even betrayed. Before talking to anyone about your situation, please consult with a criminal attorney.
TN Law: Domestic Violence Charges Explained
What Is Domestic Violence In TN Law?
Domestic violence is not a criminal charge. It is merely a label the courts put on certain “domestic” crimes. The “domestic violence” label tends to enhance the penalties you may face. It also tends to enhance the prosecutor’s efforts to convict you.
Having an experienced domestic violence lawyer who knows all the ins and outs of how to defend against criminal charges with the “domestic violence” label is the best move.
Case Types Affected By The “Domestic Violence” Label
The types of cases commonly affected by the “domestic violence” label are domestic assault, DCS investigations, harassment, stalking, child endangerment, child abuse, kidnapping, false imprisonment, orders of protection, and violations of orders of protection.
Cynthia Sherwood has been a criminal lawyer in Nashville for over 20 years. She is very experienced with all of these types of cases, having represented clients with virtually every combination of two or more of these charges.
Expectations For Your Domestic Violence Lawyer
Your case is about you, your story, and your future. From the start, we work with you to understand how a domestic charge could affect your life now and in the future. You define what success looks like for your life and, together, we determine the goals for your case.
Your lawyer’s role is to meet your expectations and to be doggedly relentless in that pursuit. Our approach is methodical, tactical, and continuously refined through experience. Learn more about our approach here.
We have significant experience handling charges with the “domestic violence” label. Cynthia Sherwood was also the Chair of the Domestic Violence Project for several years. Personally, she has over 20 years of experience defending people charged with crimes related to domestic assault and abuse. That experience has been methodically distilled into the lessons, best practices, methods, and tactics that will guide every action and decision we make to achieve your goals.
You do not have to fight this alone. We can and will help guide you through this challenging time. All you need to do is take the first step. Find out exactly how we can help by setting up your free consultation today or call (615) 873-5670.
How To Avoid A Domestic Violence Conviction
There are a multitude of ways to avoid a domestic conviction in Tennessee. When looking to get domestic assault charges dropped, there are 5 general defenses that our attorneys look for first. Keeping those in mind, we want mount an overall vigorous and thorough defense. to cover all the angles.
Mounting A Vigorous Criminal Defense
The key to a great criminal defense is gathering all the facts and being able to tell those facts in a complete and compelling narrative that favors your side of the story.
Often domestic violence offenses are simply overstated by the victim. At the time the crime allegedly occurs, emotions are high, and the parties may speak out of anger rather than fact. Many domestic violence charges stem from situations where tempers flare but no real crime has been committed.
Officers who respond to domestic violence calls typically believe the story of whoever contacts the police first without hearing both sides of the story. One of the most essential parts of defending a domestic violence case is to identify and interview any witnesses to the incident other than the alleged victim or the defendant. A witness could be a friend, family member, or even a neighbor who overhears the argument through the apartment walls.
Credibility & Context
In many cases, however, the only witnesses are the alleged victim and the defendant, and there is often little or no physical evidence of a crime. In these cases, it is usually a battle of credibility between the victim and the defendant. We collect and review every social media post, DM, text message, email, and call log, to help us paint the picture. A victim with a history of repeated calls to the police may be less credible. Equally so, a victim with no calls to the police may be less credible. It all depends on the context and we know how to provide that to the court.
Often times, all the witnesses and all the evidence still doesn’t get us to where we need to be to achieve our goal. In these situations we need to be creative and we are nothing if not creative. For example, this domestic assault case study shows how our domestic violence lawyers get results by thinking creatively.
Resolutions: Drop, Dismiss, Diversion, & Trial
Depending on your situation, there quite a few ways to reach your goals once you have hired a defense lawyer. DISCLAIMER: It is strictly prohibited for any lawyer to guarantee results. While we may share some of our results, we do not guarantee any result.
- Charges Dropped – Fight the charge from the start. Getting the charges dropped is always the best outcome and our goal. Mounting a vigorous defense from day one will give us the best chance for getting any criminal charges dropped. Even when it is not a reasonable expectation, setting the bar here gives you the best chance of keeping the charges off your record. For every case, we thoroughly investigate the situations, the parties, available witnesses, and evidence. While each case is unique, many domestic violence-related charges can be dropped completely, even with a criminal history. In April of 2021, we successfully got felony aggravated domestic assault charges dismissed while our client was on probation for a separate domestic assault offense (we did not represent him on the offense he was on probation for).
- Get a retirement or dismissal of the charge by agreement with the prosecutor. The deal is accomplished by mounting a vigorous defense, as discussed above, and convincing the prosecutor that you have not committed the crime or that you have such a strong defense that it will be difficult or impossible for the state to convict you.
- Negotiate a diversion agreement to have the charge dismissed and expunged. You can also avoid a conviction by negotiating a diversion plea to the charges. With a diversion plea, you plead ‘guilty’ or ‘no contest,’ which is held in abeyance until you comply with certain conditions or terms. This simply means your conviction will not be entered because you have agreed to take a class, do community service, and/or be placed on a form of probation. If you successfully comply with the terms and conditions of the diversion agreement, your charges can be dismissed and expunged from your record. However, if you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement, your conviction can be entered. — Every one of our clients that has opted for a domestic violence diversion plea has been successful. All have had their charge expunged and never had a conviction entered on their record as a result.
- Go to Trial. This is usually the last option because of the potential risk. Sometimes the State is just unwilling to drop the charges and refuses to offer a resolution you are satisfied with. A trial is the last remaining route to a successful resolution. Each case is different and there are a lot of factors to consider when making this decision. Before you decide, we will weigh all those factors, explain them to you, and give you our honest assessment of the odds for winning at trial. — Virtually all of our clients have either gotten their domestic violence charges dropped, dismissed, or were offered and chose to accept a resolution that kept the domestic violence charge off their record. This includes clients with prior criminal history like the example provided above in point number 1. None of our clients have chosen to go to trial for a domestic violence charge. (As of April 2021) In 21 years, only 2 or 3 clients (includes Cynthia Sherwood’s clients and every client represented by a lawyer working at Sherwood Boutique Litigation) have chosen to plea to a deal that kept the charge on their record and those already had a domestic violence or other serious conviction on their record.
DISCLAIMER: Again, it is strictly prohibited for any lawyer to guarantee results. While we may share some of out results and result statistics, we do not guarantee any result.
What Happens With A Domestic Violence-Related Conviction
If you are convicted or enter into a plea of guilty to a domestic violence-related crime, you face several potentially severe collateral consequences:
Domestic Assault Law
However, the statutory penalties for domestic assault are enhanced. In addition to the normal assault penalties, the following apply to domestic assault:
Moreover, if you have been arrested for domestic assault in Tennessee, in most circumstances, you will be required to serve 12 hours in jail on a mandatory hold before you can post bond. There are, however, certain circumstances under which that hold can be waived with zealous advocacy. The difficulty is contacting an attorney quickly enough.
Please don’t wait another day – if you need help, call SBL immediately to help protect your rights and your future.
For more detailed information about how we defend domestic violence allegations, see our article: How To Get A Domestic Assault Charged Dropped In TN.
Orders of protection are commonly associated with domestic violence. We frequently serve as an Order of Protection Lawyer for respondents and petitioners (one side or the other – not both parties).
The most common reason we are hired to serve as a domestic violence lawyer is for a domestic assault charge.
Another common scenario is violation of probation for domestic violence. Contact us for more information about this.