Assault, Aggravated Assault, and Domestic Assault
August 26, 2023
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Assault, Aggravated Assault, and Domestic Assault

What is assault?

Tennessee law defines “assault” as either (a) intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, (b) intentionally or knowingly placing someone in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury, or (c) intentionally or knowingly engaging in physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard that contact as “extremely offensive or provocative.”

Sometimes, assault is called “simple assault” as opposed to the more serious offense of aggravated assault.   There are many ways to commit the crime of assault.  For example, if you intentionally punch someone in the face, you may well face assault charges.  If you intentionally nearly punch someone in the face, you likely also have committed assault, as you have placed that person in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury.   If you point a gun at someone, you could be charged with assault.  However, prosecutors may charge with even more serious crimes, such as aggravated assault, for pointing a gun at someone or another more serious action.

The crime of assault is classified as either a Class A or Class B misdemeanor.  If the conduct involves the intentional or reckless causing of bodily injury or intentionally placing someone in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury, the offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. If it involves the third type of assault – engaging in physical conduct that a reasonable person would regard as extremely offensive or provocative – then the offense is classified as a Class B misdemeanor.

An assault charge is a serious matter.  You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can properly assist you in your defense.  Contact the team at Hagar & Phillips for help with your important case. You may have questions such as what happens with a first-time assault charge, what constitutes a sexual assault charge, what is aggravated rape, or others. We can help.

What are examples of “extremely offensive or provocative” conduct in the assault law?

One of the definitions of assault includes knowing contact against another that a reasonable third party would regard as “extremely offensive or provocative.”    In 2001, the Tennessee Supreme Court in State v. Smiley identified at least three examples of conduct that would fall under this definition of extremely offensive or provocative.   The state high court explained that “kissing without one’s consent, cutting one’s hair without consent, or spitting in one’s face” are extremely offensive or provocative conduct.  

What is aggravated assault?

Tennessee law defines aggravated assault as 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.”

Another major difference is the level of punishment between the two offenses.  An assault conviction is a misdemeanor, while an aggravated assault conviction is a felony.  In our legal system, felonies are much more serious and damaging to a defendant than misdemeanors.  One must ensure that they hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, like Eric Phillips, to assist them with any felony to assist in defending the aggravated assault charge, negotiate with the District Attorney, and achieve results for your benefit.

What is domestic assault?

Tennessee law defines “domestic assault” as the crime of assault against a so-called “domestic abuse victim.”  A domestic abuse victim is essentially any family member by blood or adoption, a child, a current or former partner (boyfriend or girlfriend), or current or former spouses.  Probably the most common scenario of alleged domestic assault is an alleged act against a current or former spouse or partner.

If charged with domestic assault, or another assault crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you.   Eric Phillips of Hagar & Phillips is just such an experienced attorney who has defended many individuals facing charges of assaultive crimes.

Are there defenses to these types of assault charges?

Yes, there may well be available defenses that your attorney can assert on your behalf when facing assault, aggravated assault, or domestic assault charges.  First of all, you may well have not committed the crime.  Remember, the prosecution has the burden of proving every element of a criminal offense under the high standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  Your attorney may be able to cross-examine the alleged victim to point out inconsistencies in their story. Furthermore, Tennessee law recognizes the concept of self-defense.   This could apply if you were defending yourself and were placed in reasonable fear of bodily harm to your person.  

Contact an Assault Attorney

Tiffany Hagar and Eric Phillips are trusted assault attorneys in Lebanon, TN. For more information about your matter, you can speak with the best attorneys in Lebanon, TN, by contacting Hagar & Phillips for a confidential consultation at 615-784-4588. Please feel free to call if you need directions to Lebanon, Tennessee.

The information provided on this blog is meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability of the blog content. Any reliance on this information is at your own risk. This blog may discuss legal topics, but for advice specific to your situation, consult a qualified attorney. We do not assume responsibility for actions taken based on the information herein. We are not liable for any losses or damages resulting from the use of this blog. Links to other websites are not endorsements, and technical issues may affect blog availability. By using this blog, you agree to this disclaimer. Hagar Phillips Attorneys At Law
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