In this article, you can learn about:
- What can happen if you are charged with Domestic Violence (DV).
- How these states handle witness testimony in DV cases.
- How an attorney can help you construct a defense strategy.
How Do Mississippi And Tennessee Define Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is charged when a person commits (or threatens to commit) an act of violence against someone that they are in a close relationship with.
Those who are considered as being in a “close relationship” may include:
- Family members;
- Current and Former Spouses;
- Current and Former Dating Partners;
- And, sometimes, Roommates.
Common forms of Domestic Violence include physical acts or threats of:
- Battery and Simple Assault
- Emotional Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Economic Violence (Such as withholding money.)
I Was Arrested In Mississippi Or Tennessee On Domestic Violence Charges. What Should I Expect Is Going To Happen?
First and second-time Domestic Violence (DV) charges are considered misdemeanors in Mississippi and Tennessee. If you are charged with DV a third time, it is considered a felony.
For a misdemeanor DV charge, you may face up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Additionally, those who plead guilty or are convicted of DV will lose their right to own or purchase a firearm.
For a felony DV charge, you may face up to five years in jail and face up to $1,000 in fines. If this is a third-time offense, you will have already lost your right to own or purchase a firearm. If you have not lost your right to a firearm, you will lose it upon pleading guilty or being convicted.
If An Alleged Victim Changes Their Story After Domestic Violence Charges Are Filed In Mississippi Or Tennessee, Does That Mean The Charges Against Me Will Be Dropped?
DV charges are not dropped every time a victim changes their account of the events. However, it is possible that this could be the case.
In DV cases, law enforcement is typically called after the incident. If officers do not witness anything, the officer’s testimony is considered “hearsay”. Therefore, unless another witness testifies against you, it is possible the charges will be dropped.
In these cases, it is common for the prosecutor to require a stipulation that the defendant participates in an anger management or DV class. Then, after the class has been completed, the charges will be dropped.
What Is The Mississippi Law Definition Of Assault?
In Mississippi law, assault encompasses a broad range of offenses against another person, which makes the guidance of an experienced domestic violence lawyer crucial. Assault typically involves intentionally or recklessly causing physical injury, threatening imminent bodily harm, or deliberately causing physical contact that could be seen as offensive or provocative.
Assault charges can range from simple assault to aggravated assault, the degree of which depends on the severity of the injuries inflicted or the means employed to commit the assault. Simple assault may involve minor injuries or threats, while aggravated assault is characterized by serious physical harm or use of a deadly weapon.
According to Mississippi Code § 97-3-7, simple assault penalties can include up to 6 months in jail, a fine up to $500, or both, when committed against a regular citizen. If the assault is against protected classes (such as law enforcement, teachers, or social workers performing their duties), the penalties can significantly increase. In such complex scenarios, it’s advisable to seek the assistance of a reliable domestic violence lawyer like those at the Law Office of Adrienne Starling Moore, PLLC.
How Long Do Domestic Violence Charges Stay On Your Record In Mississippi?
In Mississippi, a domestic violence charge can potentially stay on your record indefinitely, especially if you were convicted. These records are usually public and can be accessed by potential employers, landlords, or others conducting a background check. This can create challenges when attempting to secure employment, housing, or certain types of loans.
However, Mississippi does offer a process known as expungement, allowing you to clear your criminal record under specific circumstances. You may qualify for expungement if you were arrested but not convicted, if you’ve completed all the requirements of your sentence, or if a specific period has elapsed since your conviction. Not all crimes qualify for expungement, and multiple convictions typically cannot be expunged. Even with expungement, some authorities may access these records under specific circumstances.
Mississippi recently enacted legislation to expand opportunities for expungement. Navigating such laws, however, requires an expert understanding of legal procedures and nuances. For guidance on domestic violence charges in Mississippi, reach out to the Law Office of Adrienne Starling Moore, PLLC. We’re dedicated to helping our clients understand their rights and available legal pathways.
What Strategies Can Be Used To Defend Clients On Domestic Violence Charges In Mississippi Or Tennessee? Is Self Defense A Viable Defense?
There are a variety of defense strategies that can be used in DV cases — including self-defense.
In these cases, it’s very common that both parties were involved in the fight. The person arrested is the person that the police determined was the aggressor.
Because law enforcement does not usually arrive on the scene until after the fact, it can be difficult for them to determine who “started the fight”. Therefore, they use evidence such as statements, injuries, and objects within the scene of the fight to determine who the aggressor is.
Because of this, you can use the affirmative defense that you were fighting to protect yourself. In this case, you would need to show that the other person was the first aggressor and that your actions were provoked.
The best way to construct a solid defense to your case is to work with an attorney. By contacting a domestic violence defense lawyer early on in your case, you can avoid some of the most damaging consequences that come with these charges.
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For more information on Domestic Violence Charges In Mississippi & Tennessee, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (662) 672-6663 today.