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Legal Statutes: Tennessee

UPDATED June 16, 2017

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Part 6. Domestic Abuse

back to top36-3-601. Definitions

As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:


(1) "Abuse" means inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on an adult or minor by other than accidental means, placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm, physical restraint, malicious damage to the personal property of the abused party, including inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an adult or minor, or placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by such adult or minor;


(2) "Adult" means any person eighteen (18) years of age or older, or who is otherwise emancipated;


(3)(A) "Court," in counties having a population of not less than two hundred thousand (200,000) nor more than eight hundred thousand (800,000), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relation matters;

 

 

(B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A), "court," in counties with a metropolitan form of government with a population of more than one hundred thousand (100,000), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relation matters and the general sessions court. In such county having a metropolitan form of government, a judicial commissioner may issue an ex parte order of protection. Nothing in this definition may be construed to grant jurisdiction to the general sessions court for matters relating to child custody, visitation, or support;

(C) "Court," in all other counties, means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relation matters or the general sessions court;

 

(D) "Court" also includes judicial commissioners, magistrates and other officials with the authority to issue an arrest warrant in the absence of a judge for purposes of issuing ex parte orders of protection when a judge of one of the courts listed in subdivisions (3)(A), (3)(B) or (3)(C) is not available;

(E) In counties having a population in excess of eight hundred thousand (800,000), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, "court" means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relations matters or the general sessions criminal court. In such counties, "court" also includes judicial commissioners, magistrates and other officials with the authority to issue an arrest warrant in the absence of a judge for purposes of issuing any order of protection pursuant to this part when a judge of one (1) of the courts listed in subdivisions (3)(A), (3)(B) or (3)(C) is not available. Nothing in this definition may be construed to grant jurisdiction to the general sessions court, both criminal and civil, for matters relating to child custody, visitation, or support;

(F) Any appeal from a final ruling on an order of protection by a general sessions court or by any official authorized to issue an order of protection under this subdivision (3) shall be to the circuit or chancery court of the county. Such appeal shall be filed within ten (10) days and shall be heard de novo;


(4) "Domestic abuse" means committing abuse against a victim, as defined in subdivision (11);


(5) "Firearm" means any weapon designed, made or adapted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or any device readily convertible to that use;


(6) "Petitioner" means the person alleging domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking in a petition for an order for protection;


(7) "Preferred response" means law enforcement officers shall arrest a person committing domestic abuse unless there is a clear and compelling reason not to arrest;


(8) "Respondent" means the person alleged to have abused, stalked or sexually assaulted another in a petition for an order for protection;


(9) "Sexual assault victim" means any person, regardless of the relationship with the perpetrator, who has been subjected to, threatened with, or placed in fear of any form of rape, as defined in §§ 39-13-502, 39-13-503, 39- 13-506 or 39-13-522, or sexual battery, as defined in §§ 39-13-504, 39-13-505, or 39-13-527;


(10) "Stalking victim" means any person, regardless of the relationship with the perpetrator, who has been subjected to, threatened with, or placed in fear of the offense of stalking, as defined in § 39-17-315;


(11) "Domestic abuse victim" means any person who falls within the following categories:

 

(A) Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;

(B) Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together;

(C) Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship, as used herein "dating" and "dated" do not include fraternization between two (2) individuals in a business or social context;

(D) Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;

(E) Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or

(F) Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in subdivisions (11)(A)-(E); and


(12) "Weapon" means a firearm or a device listed in § 39-17-1302(a)(1)- (7).

1979 Pub.Acts, c. 350, § 1; 1988 Pub.Acts, c. 925, §§ 1, 2; 1991 Pub.Acts, c. 380, § 1; 1994 Pub.Acts, c. 764, § 1, eff. April 14, 1994; 1995 Pub.Acts, c. 507, § 3, eff. July 1, 1995; 1996 Pub.Acts, c. 684, § 1, eff. March 29, 1996; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 96, § 1, eff. April 16, 1997; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 211, § 1, eff. May 13, 1997; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 459, §§ 1, 2, eff. June 13, 1997; 1998 Pub.Acts, c. 887, § 1, 2, eff. May 6, 1998; 2001 Pub.Acts, c. 96, §§ 1 to 3, eff. July 1, 2001; 2002 Pub.Acts, c. 646, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 1, 2002; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 381, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 1, 2005; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 348, § 1, eff. June 5, 2007; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 352, § 1.