Assault Attorney in Knoxville
The crime of assault takes many forms under Tennessee law. Indeed, it is possible for an offender to be charged with multiple counts of assault arising out of one incident with one person, due to the all inclusive nature of Tennessee’s simple assault statute, Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-101(a). A person commits the crime of assault if they:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another, and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.
Moreover, different forms of assault carry different criminal classifications and thus, potential sentences.
Penalties for Assault in Tennessee
Generally, simple assault, which is assault that is committed without aggravating factors, is a misdemeanor offense. If an offender either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another or causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury, the individual has committed assault that is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a possible sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in the county jail, a fine in the amount of $2,500, or both.
Assault that is categorized as “Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative” is considered a Class B misdemeanor. This form of assault carries a potential sentence of up to six months in the county jail, a fine of up to $500, or both.
Aggravated Assault Lawyer
Certain factors surrounding an assault can cause the charge to be enhanced to aggravated assault. These factors are known as “aggravating factors,” and can lead to the much more severe charge of aggravated assault, which is a felony offense. According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-102(a)(1)(A), a person commits the crime of aggravated assault if the individual “Intentionally or knowingly commits an assault as defined in § 39-13-101, and the assault:
- Results in serious bodily injury to another;
- Results in the death of another;
- Involved the use or display of a deadly weapon; or
- Involved strangulation or attempted strangulation;”
The penalties imposed on an offender for aggravated assault vary based on the specific circumstances of the crime.
Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury
Aggravated assault that results in serious bodily injury is considered a Class C felony that carries with it a possible prison sentence of 3 to 15 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106 defines serious bodily injury as bodily injury that involves:
- A substantial risk of death;
- Protracted unconsciousness;
- Extreme physical pain;
- Protracted or obvious disfigurement;
- Protracted loss or substantial impairment of a function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty; or
- A broken bone of a child who is twelve (12) years of age or less;
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Aggravated assault involving the use or display of a deadly weapon is considered a Class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Keep in mind, an offender only needs to display a deadly weapon during the assault for this crime to occur. The offender does not have to use the deadly weapon during the commission of the crime. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106 defines a deadly weapon as:
- A firearm or anything manifestly designed, made or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or
- Anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury;
How Can an Assault Attorney Help Me?
Both aggravated and simple assault are serious crimes that are taken very seriously in the criminal justice system, but the sentence imposed on an offender often depends on the strength of the evidence the prosecution has. Obtaining effective legal counsel is the key to either having the charges against you dismissed or minimizing the damage these charges can inflict on your life. At the law office of Paul Hensley, we pride ourselves on providing thorough, aggressive, and comprehensive legal representation. Don’t let a lapse in judgement ruin your life. Call our office today for a free confidential consultation.