What is Simple Assault?

In Tennessee, a simple assault is committed when a person

  • intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person (for example, hitting someone with your fist)
  • causes a person to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury (for example, if you were cut off in the parking lot and got out of your car screaming that you were going to beat up the other person)
  • causes physical contact with another that a reasonable person would find extremely provocative or offensive (for example, going to a Predators game and going out of your way to bump into an opposing fan)

It is important to note that you do not actually have to touch someone to be charged and convicted of assault in Tennessee; threatening gestures (“getting in someone’s face”) or provocative language (“Keep walking or I’ll beat you up!”) can be enough to have an assault charge filed against you.

Penalties for Simple Assault in Tennessee

Simple assault is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee, punishable by up to 11 months 29 days in jail and $2,500 fine.

What is Aggravated Assault?

In Tennessee, an aggravated assault is committed when a person commits an act that

  • Results in serious bodily injury to another;
  • Results in the death of another;
  • Uses or displays a deadly weapon; or
  • Intends to cause bodily injury to another by strangulation or bodily injury by strangulation was attempted

Again, just like simple assault, actually touching a person is not required to be charged with aggravated assault; if you were cut off in the parking lot and got out of your car waving a handgun around – even if you have no intention of firing the weapon – you can be charged with aggravated assault.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Tennessee

Aggravated assault is a FELONY in Tennessee, punishable by 2-15 years in prison.

Can a Conviction for Simple or Aggravated Assault be Expunged?

No. In Tennessee, if you are convicted of simple assault or aggravated assault, it will be on your record forever. That is why it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney – don’t let a bar fight or parking lot altercation be a black mark on your criminal record for the rest of your life.

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