An assault charge is extremely serious, as it could lead to a significant fine and prison time if you are convicted. There are many different types of assault under Tennessee Code. They are all called “assaultive offensives” under Tennessee’s criminal code. These include assault, aggravated assault, domestic assault, vehicular assault, and aggravated vehicular assault.
In any case, having an experienced Nashville criminal defense attorney could make a significant impact on what happens in court.
Defending Against Assault Charges
The crime of simple assault, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-101, can constitute either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor. Under Tennessee law, a person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor faces a sentence up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Tenn. Code Ann. §40-35-111(e)(1). Tennessee’s simple assault statute also provides that if a person commits assault under the specific provision of “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caus[ing] bodily injury to another person” the person may have to pay a fine of up to $15,000. Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-101(b)(1)A).
Sometimes those convicted of assault receive a sentence as a Class B misdemeanor instead of a Class B misdemeanor. While not as onerous as a Class A misdemeanor, it still carries serious consequences. Under Tennessee law, a Class B misdemeanor can carry a sentence of up to six months imprisonment and a $500 fine. Furthermore, if considered an act of violence, even the misdemeanor conviction can have harmful collateral consequences to you later on in life.
The crime of aggravated assault, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-102, carries even more severe penalties. Aggravated assault involves an assault in which the perpetrator intentionally or knowingly commits an assault that (1) results in serious bodily harm to the victim; (2) results in the death of the victim; (3) involves the use or display of a deadly weapon; or (4) involves strangulation or attempted strangulation. There is a key difference between assault and aggravated assault. Assault requires “bodily injury”, while aggravated assault requires “serious bodily injury.” If convicted for aggravated assault, you will receive a felony conviction. Under our legal system, felonies are more serious and severe than misdemeanors.
Under Tennessee, a Class C felony carries a sentence anywhere from three years to 15 years imprisonment, while a Class D felony carries a sentence anywhere from two years to 12 years imprisonment.
There are many ways to commit assault or, if the injuries are serious enough, aggravated assault. They can include punching, eye gouging, hitting with a sharp object, stabbing, shooting, or slapping really hard. Some of the more common methods of assaulting someone are punching, displaying or shooting a weapon at someone, or hitting someone with another object.
Also remember that you can commit the crime of assault even if you don’t make physical contact with someone. You can commit assault if you “intentionally or knowingly cause another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury. Thus, for example, you commit the crime of assault if you point a weapon at someone and they reasonably fear you might fire it at them.
Other Types of Assaults
There are two other types of assault other than assault and aggravated assault. Theyare domestic assault and vehicular assault. The first generally applies when one assaults a family member; the other occurs when one commits assault with a vehicle.
Domestic assault, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-111, involves the commission of an assault against a “domestic abuse victim.” Such victims include spouses, former spouses,former live-in partners, or other relatives. If you are convicted of the crime of domestic assault, you will have to forfeit your firearms.
Vehicular assault, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-106, involves a person operating an automobile while intoxicated and causing serious bodily injury to another. The enhanced offense of aggravated vehicular assault, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-115, involves the commission of vehicular assault but the alleged perpetrator has prior convictions for driving under the influence, vehicular assault, or vehicular homicide.
If you are charged with any type of assault crime in Tennessee, contact a competent criminal defense attorney.