There are many psychological studies regarding fights between couples or
married spouses, and many conclude that the occasional heated argument
is actually a good thing. But when you and your significant other are
at odds, are you both technically committing
domestic violence under Tennessee state laws? As with so many other gray areas of the law,
you need to get into the details for the truth.
Has Assault Been Committed?
The crime of assault does not always have to involve physical harm being
inflicted upon someone. Instead, it can include just the attempt to harm
someone, or exhibiting any behavior that would cause a reasonable person
to think that they are going to be hurt soon. When you and your spouse
are yelling at each other over who has to take out the trash, does that
shouting match amount to enough chest-puffing and aggression to be domestic assault?
It would be difficult to claim an argument is assault, no matter how hot
the words got, unless there were clear indicators that you wanted to hurt
your romantic partner. Making statements like “I could hit you right
now” or balling your fist and grinding your teeth, for example,
could be interpreted by a reasonable person as your wish to want to hurt
them. The same could be said for chucking dishes at the wall or keeping
anything that could be interpreted as a weapon in your hand as the argument
progresses. To put it simply, body language
is crucial and can be seen as evidence of the intent to commit assault.
Tips to Keep Arguments as Just That
If you find that you get into heated fights quite often with your other
half and are worried it could one day escalate to domestic violence, keep
these bits of advice in mind:
- Consider setting up a rule that you can only have an argument if the two
of you are separated by a closed door.
- Pay attention to your hands during a fight; keep them crossed or in your
pockets at all times.
- Have the two of you remain seated and across the room if necessary.
- Try to never raise your voice; shouting, even if it is clearly nonaggressive,
could worry neighbors and cause them to call the police.
- If you believe that imminent danger to your wellbeing is present due to
the behaviors of your spouse or partner, remove yourself from the situation
immediately and get somewhere safe; this could mean stepping outside,
driving to a diner alone to cool off, or locking yourself in a separate
room and contacting the authorities. Never do anything that jeopardizes
your safety or that of others.
Legal Support When Things Get Out of Hand
You have to be careful with how you conduct yourself during arguments with
your loved ones, as they could interpret your actions as menacing or threatening,
prompting a call to the police that results in an arrest. Or, as some
cases will show, they may falsify their claim and exaggerate the details
to see you put in cuffs. No matter what happens, if you are accused of
domestic assault, you can depend on a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney
at Crain & Flatt Attorneys at Law to provide you with honest and tenacious
Call 888.988.5578 now to schedule a
free review with our lawyer, who has achieved a 10.0 “Superb” rating by
Avvo for skills and ethics.