The Crime

In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Misdemeanor Assault (compared to the Felony crime of Aggravated Assault) if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

  1. Caused an injury to another person (including a scrape or minor bruise); or
  2. Caused another person to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury, typically through the use of a threat or show of force; or
  3. Intentionally or knowingly touched another person in an extremely offensive or provocative manner (e.g., pushing).

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-101]

The Penalties

A conviction for Assault is typically a Class A Misdemeanor.  A conviction for Assault in Tennessee will result in some or all of the following penalties:

  1. A sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $2,500; and
  4. Court costs.

However, if convicted of Assault as a result of intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another, and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative, the crime is a Class B Misdemeanor. The sentence under these circumstances may result in some or all of the following penalties:

  1. A sentence of up to 6 months in jail;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $500 (unless the offense is committed against a law enforcement officer, in which case the maximum fine is $5,000); and
  4. Court costs.

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-101]

Domestic Assault—Increased Penalties

Tennessee law specifies that if a current or former domestic relationship exists between the people involved in an Assault, then a court may impose an additional fine of up to $200 against the person convicted of Assault.

Additionally, federal law prohibits gun ownership or possession by any person convicted of Domestic Assault. 

[Sources: Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-101 and 18 United States Code Annotated § 922(g)]

Other Consequences of an Assault Conviction

In addition to the court-mandated penalties described above, a person convicted of Assault may also experience serious collateral (other) consequences. A Tennessee Assault conviction may result in the loss of college scholarships or the ability to seek admission to a higher learning institution.  A conviction may also impact one’s ability to maintain or seek employment and may result in negative action to a professional license (e.g. nursing).

Furthermore, a conviction for Assault will ALWAYS stay on a person’s criminal history, and current and future employers may access records of prior convictions.  This means that under current Tennessee criminal law and expungement law you may not erase or expunge an Assault conviction from public record.  Accordingly, current and future employers may access records of Tennessee criminal convictions.  For more information about Tennessee expungement law, you may wish to review the information contained on our sister website, www.eraseyourrecord.com.

Why Hire An Attorney Immediately?

It is important to act quickly in order to gather and preserve favorable evidence. Certain witnesses need to be interviewed as soon as possible. Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time.  Also, video recordings and other evidence may be destroyed. Therefore, it is critical to begin an investigation as soon as possible to ensure valuable evidence is not lost. Success or failure in any criminal case may be determined in the decisions of the defendant and his or her Tennessee Criminal Defense Attorney in only a few hours or days after an arrest.

Contact Us Today

If you or someone you know has recently received an aggravated assault charge, contact the Oberman & Rice Law Firm today so that we can begin preparing a defense for your case. Submit your information for a free case evaluation from our Knoxville Aggravated Assault attorneys or call our office at 865-249-7200.