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Legal Information: Tennessee

Statutes: Tennessee

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November 27, 2023

36-3-619. Arrest; mandatory reports; notice of victims' rights and availability of shelters

(a) If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime involving domestic abuse, whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony, or was committed within or without the presence of the officer, the preferred response of the officer is arrest.

(b) If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that two (2) or more persons committed a misdemeanor or felony, or if two (2) or more persons make complaints to the officer, the officer shall try to determine who was the primary aggressor. Arrest is the preferred response only with respect to the primary aggressor. The officer shall presume that arrest is not the appropriate response for the person or persons who were not the primary aggressor. If the officer believes that all parties are equally responsible, the officer shall exercise such officer’s best judgment in determining whether to arrest all, any or none of the parties.

(c) To determine who is the primary aggressor, the officer shall consider:

(1) The history of domestic abuse between the parties;

(2) The relative severity of the injuries inflicted on each person;

(3) Evidence from the persons involved in the domestic abuse;

(4) The likelihood of future injury to each person;

(5) Whether one (1) of the persons acted in self-defense; and

(6) Evidence from witnesses of the domestic abuse.

(d) A law enforcement officer shall not:

(1) Threaten, suggest, or otherwise indicate the possible arrest of all parties to discourage future requests for intervention by law enforcement personnel; or

(2) Base the decision of whether to arrest on:

(A) The consent or request of the victim; or

(B) The officer’s perception of the willingness of the victim or of a witness to the domestic abuse to testify or participate in a judicial proceeding.

(e) When a law enforcement officer investigates an allegation that domestic abuse occurred, the officer shall make a complete report and file the report with the officer’s supervisor in a manner that will permit data on domestic abuse cases to be compiled. If a law enforcement officer decides not to make an arrest or decides to arrest two (2) or more parties, the officer shall include in the report the grounds for not arresting anyone or for arresting two (2) or more parties.

(f) Every month, the officer’s supervisor shall forward the compiled data on domestic abuse cases to the administrative director of the courts.

(g) When a law enforcement officer responds to a domestic abuse call, the officer shall:

(1) Offer to transport the victim to a place of safety, such as a shelter or similar location or the residence of a friend or relative, unless it is impracticable for the officer to transport the victim, in which case the officer shall offer to arrange for transportation as soon as practicable;

(2) Advise the victim of a shelter or other service in the community; and

(3) Give the victim notice of the legal rights available by giving the victim a copy of the following statement:

IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE, you have the following rights:

1. You may file a criminal complaint with the district attorney general (D.A.).

2. You may request a protection order. A protection order may include the following:

(A) An order preventing the abuser from committing further domestic abuse against you;

(B) An order requiring the abuser to leave your household;

(C) An order preventing the abuser from harassing you or contacting you for any reason;

(D) An order giving you or the other parent custody of or visitation with your minor child or children;

(E) An order requiring the abuser to pay money to support you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so; and

(F) An order preventing the abuser from stalking you.

The area crisis line is __________

The following domestic abuse shelter/programs are available to you:



(4) Offer to transport the victim to the location where arrest warrants are issued in that city or county and assist the victim in obtaining an arrest warrant against the alleged abuser.

(h)(1) For good cause shown, the court may issue an ex parte order of protection pursuant to § 36-3-605 upon a sworn petition filed by a law enforcement officer responding to an incident of domestic abuse who asserts in the petition reasonable grounds to believe that a person is in immediate and present danger of abuse, as defined in § 36-3-601, and that the person has consented to the filing in writing; provided, that the person on whose behalf the law enforcement officer seeks the ex parte order of protection shall be considered the petitioner for purposes of this part.

(2) The law enforcement officer may seek on behalf of the person the ex parte order regardless of the time of day and whether or not an arrest has been made.

(3) If an ex parte order is issued pursuant to this section outside of the issuing court’s normal operating hours:

(A) The law enforcement officer, judge, or judicial official shall cause the petition and order to be filed with the court as soon as practicable after issuance, but no later than two (2) business days after issuance; and

(B) The law enforcement officer shall use reasonable efforts to notify the person on whose behalf the petition was filed and provide the person with a copy of the ex parte order as soon as practicable after issuance.

(4) The court shall cause a copy of the petition, a notice of the date set for the hearing, and a copy of the ex parte order of protection to be served upon the respondent in accordance with § 36-3-605(c). A hearing on whether or not the ex parte order of protection should be dissolved, extended, or modified shall be held within fifteen (15) days of service of the order on the respondent. The person who consented to the filing shall be given notice of the hearing and the right to be present at the hearing. The procedures set forth in § 36-3-605 shall apply.

(5) Law enforcement officers shall not be subject to civil liability under this section for failure to file a petition or for any statement made or act performed in filing the petition, if done in good faith.