House OKs Mandatory Jail Time For Repeat Abusers
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Law enforcement officers in Cannon County arrest at least one person per week on charges of domestic violence.

Many times those arrests involve a repeat offender. It is not a situation limited to Cannon County.

Wednesday, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam's to require mandatory jail time for people with repeat domestic violence convictions.

The chamber voted 98-1 to approve the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Coley of Bartlett.

The bill establishes increased punishment for second and subsequent convictions of domestic assault.

BILL SUMMARY

Under present law, domestic assault is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the assault solely involves the intentional or knowing physical contact with another that a reasonable person would regard as extremely offensive or provocative, in which case, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor.

Additionally, a person convicted of domestic assault must terminate possession of all firearms and, if the court determines that the defendant has the ability to pay a fine of up to $225, then the court must impose a fine of up to $225, at the level of the defendant's ability to pay.

This bill specifies that any person convicted of a second conviction of domestic assault must be sentenced to confinement for between 45 days and 11 months and 29 days and to pay a fine of between $350 and $3,500. Additionally, any person convicted of a third or subsequent conviction of domestic assault must be sentenced to confinement for between 120 days and 11 months and 29 days and to pay a fine of between $1,100 and $5,000.

ON APRIL 18, 2012, THE HOUSE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #2 AND PASSED HOUSE BILL 2389, AS AMENDED.

AMENDMENT #2 rewrites this bill. Under present law, a person commits domestic assault who:

(1) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to a domestic abuse victim;

(2) Intentionally or knowingly causes a domestic abuse victim to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or

(3) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with a domestic abuse victim and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

This amendment specifies that:

(1) A first conviction of domestic assault and a second or subsequent conviction of domestic assault as described above in (2) or (3) will be punished as it is under present law (as described above in the bill summary);

(2) For a second conviction of domestic assault as described above in (1), there will be imposed a fine of between $350 and $3,500, and the person will be confined to the county jail or workhouse for not less than 30 days, nor more than 11 months and 29 days; and

(3) For a third or subsequent conviction of domestic assault as described above in (1), there will be imposed a fine of between $1,100 and $5,000, and the person will be confined in the county jail or workhouse for not less than 90 days, nor more than 11 months and 29 days.

However, a person who is convicted of domestic abuse as described above in (1) would not be subject to the enhanced penalties described above in (2) and (3), if 10 or more years have elapsed between the date of the present violation and the date of any immediately preceding violation of domestic abuse as described above in (1) that resulted in a conviction for such offense.
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