Common Charges and Penalties for Assault Crimes in Tennessee

What Are The Charges for Assault in Tennessee

Being accused of assault can be a scary and confusing situation. As experienced criminal defense attorneys in Tennessee, we understand how high the stakes are when facing criminal charges.

In this article, we’ll break down the most common assault charges in Tennessee and what penalties you may face if convicted. Each state has its own statutes concerning penalties for various assault charges, and you should ensure that your defense lawyer knows the laws of your state.

With the right legal representation on your side, you can craft an effective defense against assault allegations.

Assault Charges in Tennessee

Assault charges in Tennessee range from misdemeanors to serious felonies, depending on the circumstances and severity of injury. Like most states, Tennessee categorizes assaults into standard, non-aggravated assaults, and aggravated assaults based on the presence of aggravating factors.

Simple Assault Charges

Under Tennessee Code §39-13-101, a person commits assault who:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another
  • Intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact is considered extremely offensive or provocative

Bodily injury refers to any cut, abrasion, bruise, burn, disfigurement, physical pain, illness, or impairment. Assault convictions can result from injuries as minor as a slap or push. More violent assaults like strangulations and beatings also fall under standard assault statutes.

Assault is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and fines not exceeding $2,500. However, assaults on specially protected workers like law enforcement, healthcare staff, and utility employees during their official duties face heightened Class B penalties. Domestic violence assaults also incur additional fines.

Aggravated Assault Charges

Under §39-13-102, an assault rises to the level of aggravated assault involving:

  • Serious bodily injury – injuries creating a substantial risk of death, protracted impairment, or loss of a body part
  • Use or display of a deadly weapon
  • Strangulation/attempted strangulation
  • The death of another person

Both intentional/knowing and reckless assaults can warrant aggravated charges. Intentionally causing serious injury or using weapons constitutes a Class C felony punishable by 3-15 years imprisonment. Reckless aggravated assault (like firing a gun negligently causing injury) is a Class D felony punishable by 2-12 years imprisonment.

Other Tennessee Assault Laws

Related statutes like §39-13-103 outlawing reckless endangerment also serve to punish threatening, harmful behaviors against others falling short of technical assault.

With severe sanctions for harming others, Tennessee assault laws aim to prevent violence and punish those who hurt victims through actions ranging from offensive touching to deadly attacks. Understanding the distinctions can help you seek fair treatment under the law should charges arise.

What Should You Do if Charged with Assault?

Facing any criminal charge is scary, but a felony assault allegation can drastically impact your future. Here are some steps to take immediately if accused of assault:

  1. Remain Silent and Request an Attorney– Anything you say to the police can be used against you. Politely decline to answer questions and ask for a lawyer immediately.
  2. Hire an Experienced Assault Defense Attorney – The legal team you choose could make the difference between prison time and charges getting dismissed. Choose counsel with proven success defending assault cases.
  3. Follow Your Lawyer’s Advice Carefully – Listen to your attorney and follow their instructions closely to avoid accidentally damaging your case.
  4. Avoid Discussing the Case Outside Your Law Firm – Keep details of your case private to prevent anything from potentially getting leaked to the prosecution.
  5. Be Proactive About Your Defense – Work closely with your lawyer to build the strongest case possible and secure the best outcome.

Being accused of assault can make you feel powerless. But with an aggressive legal defense, many of these cases can be won outright or plea bargained down to minimize penalties.

If you or a loved one are facing assault charges in Tennessee, contact our office today to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal options. Our firm provides caring, personalized representation to clients facing criminal charges across the state.

Don’t Face Assault Charges Alone – The Law Office of Sam Byrd Can Help

Dealing with a criminal charge like assault can make you feel isolated and overwhelmed. But you don’t have to go through this alone. The Law Office of Sam Byrd has the experience and dedication to provide the powerful legal defense you deserve.

With over 100 positive reviews and many cases resolved, attorney Sam Byrd has a proven track record defending clients against assault charges. Our legal team will thoroughly examine the evidence against you, build an aggressive legal strategy, and fight relentlessly for the best possible outcome.

Don’t leave your future to chance. To schedule your case evaluation and learn how Sam Byrd can help protect your rights, call today. The sooner you take action, the sooner we can start building your defense.

Author Bio

Sam Byrd is the owner and managing attorney at The Law Office of Sam Byrd. With hands-on experience in divorce, family law, criminal law, and DUI/DWI cases, Sam has been serving clients in Tennessee since 2012. He graduated with a J.D. from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2012 and holds a B.S. in Legal Studies from the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2009.

He began his legal career as a paralegal, working under his father’s guidance. Prior to that, Sam served in the United States Marine Corps as a member of the 2/7 Weapons Company stationed at 29 Palms, California.

Sam has received several accolades for his work, including being recognized as a Rising Star in Divorce & Family Law by Tennessee SuperLawyers in 2020, 2019, and 2018. He is also a member of The National Trial Lawyers’ Top 40 under 40, an exclusive professional organization for top trial lawyers under the age of 40. Sam’s commitment to continuous learning and improvement is demonstrated by his certifications in Trial Skills from the National College of DUI Defense in 2019 and 2018.

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