New Bill Seeks to Eliminate Loopholes in “Cooling Off” Period

The Tennessee House Criminal Justice subcommittee is looking to create a new bill that would close any loopholes in the mandatory “cooling off” period for those charged with domestic violence. Sponsored by Representative William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) and Senator Steven Dickerson (R-Nashville) the amendment would eliminate a judge’s right to waive the mandatory 12 hour jail hold on accused individuals. The hold is mandated by state law, and the new bill (which has been tabled until the first week of March) would ensure that judges do not allow anyone to go before the 12 hours is up.

Representative Lamberth told The Tennessean that he asked for the bill to be tabled because “we [Representatives] want to ensure that that discretion is there within the court system to make sure it’s not abused as well, that the mere charging instrument is not something used against someone in an abusive fashion.” In other words, the changes need to be fine-tuned and put in place so that the law would apply to all parties equally.

The proposed amendment comes on the heels of a “controversial Nashville case” involving a man named David Chase. Chase was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. A judge waived the 12 hour hold, and allegedly Chase returned to his home and assaulted his girlfriend again.

Domestic violence penalties in Tennessee

For the most part, charges of domestic violence are treated very similarly to those of non-domestic violence in terms of how they are charged. According to the law, assault and domestic assault are punishable in the same way, except:

  • “In addition to any other punishment that may be imposed for a violation of this section [regarding domestic assault], if, as determined by the court, the defendant possesses the ability to pay a fine in an amount not in excess of two hundred dollars ($200), then the court shall impose a fine at the level of the defendant’s ability to pay, but not in excess of two hundred dollars ($200)…. and
  • A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be required to terminate, upon conviction, possession of all firearms that the person possesses as required by § 36-3-625.”

At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we fight for justice on behalf of our clients. For more information about the new proposed amendments, or to speak with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense lawyer, please contact our office.