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If you are charged with assault, you need a criminal defense attorney in your corner who is knowledgeable and is prepared to vigorously represent your rights.


Pursuant to T.C.A.  § 39-13-101, it is a crime to assault another person in Tennessee. The statute gives the state three avenues by which to prosecute you.

First, it is a Class A misdemeanor for the defendant to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another. A defendant acts intentionally when it is his or her desire or conscious objective to cause bodily injury. A defendant acts knowingly when he or she is aware that the action or conduct is reasonably certain to result in someone else’s bodily injury. A defendant acts recklessly when he or she is aware of the risk that the conduct will result in bodily harm to another person and the defendant consciously disregards that risk. To prove recklessness, the state must show that the defendant’s disregard is a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would use.

Second, it is a Class A misdemeanor for the defendant to intentionally or knowingly cause another person to reasonably fear imminent bodily harm. For example, if you are at a bar and a man insults you and you retaliate by swinging your fist at his face, you could be found guilty of assault under two theories. If your fist makes contact with his body, then you are guilty of intentionally or knowingly causing bodily harm as described in the paragraph above. If you punch and he ducks his head to avoid your fist and you do not make contact, you still committed an assault because you placed him in fear of imminent bodily harm.

Lastly, it is a Class B misdemeanor for the defendant to intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative. An example of extremely offensive or provocative contact includes kissing a person without his or her consent or spitting in someone’s face.

Class A misdemeanors carry a penalty up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and Class B misdemeanors carry up to 6 months in jail.

Aggravated Assault

An assault charge will be enhanced to a felony aggravated assault if the defendant commits an assault with one of the additional factors set forth in T.C.A. § 39-13-102.

Pursuant to this section, it is a Class C Felony to intentionally or knowingly assault another person and the assault:

  1. results in the serious bodily injury of the other person,
  2. results in the death of another person,
  3. involves the use or display of a deadly weapon, or
  4. involves strangulation.

It is a Class D Felony if the assault was committed recklessly and the assault:

  1. Results in the serious bodily injury of the other person,
  2. Results in the death of the other person, or
  3. Involved the use or display of a weapon.

Class C felonies carry a penalty of 3-15 years in prison.

Class D felonies carry a penalty of 2-12 years in prison.

Know Your Rights

You are entitled to legal representation if you are charged with a crime and it is incredibly important that you not discuss the facts of your case with anyone except your attorney.

If you are accused of committing an assault or aggravated assault, contact us immediately. The faster you call us the quicker we can begin investigating the claims and gathering evidence to mount a strategic defense on your behalf. The Nashville criminal defense attorneys with Baker Associates are experienced trial attorneys with the knowledge and determination to take your case all the way to a jury verdict.