Tennessee state law defines two types of assault: simple and aggravated. Individuals accused of assault crimes may face misdemeanors or felony charges based on the severity of the offense and the particular acts and circumstances allegedly done. Penalties associated with these crimes can range, including significant fines and prison time.
Simple assault in Tennessee
According to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-101, simple assault is defined as:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another;
- Intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.
Simple assault can cause a victim to feel reasonably provoked due to physical contact with another person, or fear imminent bodily harm.
Class A or B misdemeanor for simple assault
Potential misdemeanor charges for simple assault may include a Class A or Class B misdemeanor.
- With a Class A misdemeanor, the accused offender must have either threatened the victim with imminent bodily harm or actually caused bodily harm to the victim. The penalties for a Class A misdemeanor simple assault includes a maximum jail time of 11 months and 29 days, a maximum fine of $2,500, or both.
- With a Class B misdemeanor, the offender must have perpetrated physical contact that is provocative or offensive. A Class B misdemeanor simple assault carries potential penalties of a 6 month maximum jail sentence, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.
Persons convicted of simple assault in Tennessee may be required to pay restitution to the victim, reimbursing the victim for costs resulting from the crime.
Aggravated assault in Tennessee
According to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-102, aggravated assault is defined as:
- Knowingly or recklessly inflicting serious physical harm to another individual
- Knowingly or intentionally trying to inflict physical harm
- Knowingly or intentionally attempting to cause or cause bodily harm to another individual while under a legal agreement or order prohibiting such activity
- As a parent or guardian of a child or adult, refusing to protect the child or adult from child abuse or aggravated assault
- Purposefully inflicting physical injury to a government employee while that employee is performing his or her job
Felony charges for aggravated assault
Any person who commits assault using or brandishing a deadly weapon may be charged with felony aggravated assault. Such a weapon can include any object able to inflict serious bodily injury or death – these can include hunting knives, firearms, or even brass knuckles. A deadly weapon can also include an object not manufactured to cause bodily harm, such as a rope.
- A Class C felony is punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and/or maximum fine of $10,000
- A Class D felony is punishable by 2 to 12 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $5,000
As with simple assault, someone convicted of aggravated assault in Nashville may be required to pay the victim restitution.
How an experienced assault attorney can help
The penalties and consequences for being convicted of simple or aggravated assault are serious. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges against you. If an outright dismissal is not possible, then we can negotiate a lesser charge through a plea bargain or possibly a diversion program, or else go to trial and fight for an acquittal.
At the Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC, we understand the seriousness of assault charges in Nashville and are committed to helping you fight for the best possible outcome in your case. To arrange a consultation about your case, give us a call today at 615.953.3808 or use our contact form to send us a message.
Perry A. Craft has dedicated his life to helping people in need. He has tried, settled, or resolved numerous civil and criminal cases in State and Federal courts, and has represented teachers and administrators before school boards, administrative judges, and the state Board of Education. Learn more about Mr. Craft.