There are many misconceptions surrounding the legal topic of assault and
the offense’s frequent inclusion in mainstream media may only be
adding to the problem. The truth is that what constitutes assault can
differ from state to state and if your education on the topic comes mainly
from Hollywood movies and TV shows, our blog can help to set the record
straight. Did you know, for example, that physical contact may not need
to occur for an accusation to be made? In Tennessee, assault charges are
generally broken down into two categories based on the severity of the
crimes: simple assault and aggravated assault.
Simple Assault: Offenses and Punishments
According to Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-101, simple assault can occur
when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly (1) physically injures
another person, (2) causes a person to fear for their immediate safety,
or (3) physically engages another person in an extremely offensive or
provoking manner. However, a classification as simple assault also depends
on the severity of injuries that were inflicted or threatened. The offense
is typically reserved for minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.
Potential penalties for simple assault include:
If bodily injury occurs or the victim is threatened with physical violence,
the crime can be charged as a
Class A misdemeanor punishable by more than 11 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.
If a defendant engages in physical contact that is offensive or provocative,
the crime can be charged as a
Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $500.
Aggravated Assault: Offenses and Punishments
Aggravated assault typically refers to cases where serious bodily harm
occurred or a deadly weapon was used during the course of a simple assault.
Serious injuries can include broken bones, head trauma causing memory
loss, damage to the spinal cord, or any injury that requires hospitalization.
While aggravated assault is typically charged as a felony, numerous factors
can affect the potential penalties for an offense.
Punishments for aggravated assault can include:
Offenses involving serious bodily injury caused by intentional acts of
violence can be charged as a
Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
If the injury was caused by the defendant’s reckless behavior, the
offense may be charged as a
class D felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison and $5000 in fines.
In practice, no two cases will ever truly be the same and questions regarding
a specific offense should be directed to a knowledgeable attorney.
Facing Assault Charges? Call (888) 988-5578
If you have been accused of simple or aggravated assault, contact Joshua
T. Crain Attorney at Law as soon as possible. We believe that client education
is a vital factor in effective representation and our Murfreesboro criminal
defense attorney can help you to understand the nature of the charges
against you. We know that being thrust into the criminal justice system
can be stressful, confusing, and frustrating. However, you do not have
to go through the process alone and our lead attorney is only a phone
Do you have questions about your legal options? Request a free case evaluation
to get the answers you need.