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TENNESSEE COMPILATION OF SELECTED LAWS ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, 2011 EDITION

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 36 Domestic Relations

Chapter 3 Marriage

Part 6 Domestic Abuse

36-3-619. Officer response - Primary aggressor - Factors - Reports - Notice to victim of legal rights.

(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:

(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.

Acts 1995, ch. 507, § 5; 1996, ch. 684, §§ 3, 4.

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