As our nation comes to grip with a new way of life under COVID-19 stay-at-home, stay-safe policies, a disturbing trend has begun to emerge. Law enforcement agencies across the nation are reporting a spike in domestic violence cases along with disturbing the peace, public intoxication, DUI, disorderly conduct, burglary, and theft of property.
One would assume that now that the majority of the nation’s citizens are stuck at home waiting out the virus and spending time with family, crimes statistics would trend downward. The reality is local small businesses, houses of worship and schools are literally sitting with no one minding the store. Property crimes have increased and the requirements of households to stay in place result in a powder keg to those unfortunate enough to be in volatile relationships. Restaurants have begun to deliver alcohol right to the door of those struggling with alcoholism or the inability to remain social while social drinking. When these factors become criminal matters, serious life-changing results are occurring to citizens previously unaffected by criminal charges.
Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection
If you are accused of a felony or misdemeanor of domestic assault, such individual is barred from carrying any type of firearm in Tennessee by Federal law. A person convicted of domestic assault in Tennessee may be required to pay restitution, which involves reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling or repair or replacement of damaged property. Violation of an Order of Protection can carry up to 11 months 29 days in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
Assault is typically punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines reaching $2,500. Aggravated assault is a more serious offense than simple assault and could be punishable by 2-15 years depending on your criminal history and the offense class for which you are convicted.
Theft of Property
The punishment ranges for theft offenses are based upon the value of the property or services.
-If the value of the property or services stolen is $1,000 or less, the punishment includes imprisonment for a term of no more than 11 months and 29 days, a fine of no more than $2,500, or both.
-If the value of the property or services stolen is more than $1,000, but less than $2,500, The punishment includes imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than six years, and a fine of no more than $3,000.
-If the value of the property or services stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $10,000, the punishment includes imprisonment for a term of not less than two years and not more than 12 years, and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
Punishments could be more severe if the property or services are of a greater value than these listed.
It must be said that there can also be civil penalties for theft under Tennessee law. Additionally, the parent or legal guardian of a juvenile who has committed theft can be held civilly liable for the same amounts charged to adults, if the parent or legal guardian was negligent in supervising the juvenile.
The penalties for DUI offenses are based upon the number of DUI offenses a driver has committed in the past. The penalty range can be 48 hours in jail up to 150 days in jail minimum and fines ranging from $350 to 15,000. Multiple DUIs can result in a felony conviction.
Please contact our offices for a free consultation so that we may review your specific matter.