Our Attorneys defend against assault charges in Clarksville and throughout Middle Tennessee.
What is Assault?
Under Tennessee law, a person commits an assault in one of three different ways:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring someone else;
- Intentionally or knowingly causing someone else to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with someone that they could reasonably find extremely offensive or provocative.
Contact our Clarksville assault defense attorneys by calling (931) 398-5308 today. Schedule your free confidential consultation for a personal review of your assault charges.
Classification & Maximum Sentences
Generally, Assault is a Class A Misdemeanor under Tennessee law, which carries a potential sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a $2,500.00 fine.
However, an assault by offensive or provocative contact is a Class B Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 6 months in the county jail and a $500.00 fine. Court costs, including jail fees, are typically assessed in addition to any fines. Failure to pay court costs and fines can result in the offender’s driver’s license being suspended.
Aggravated Assault in Tennessee
In Tennessee, a misdemeanor or “simple” assault becomes an aggravated assault under five circumstances:
- The offender uses a deadly weapon to commit the assault.
- The victim sustains serious bodily injury or dies as a result of the assault.
- The assault involves strangulation or attempted strangulation.
- The offender intentionally or knowingly fails or refuses to protect his or her child from an aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury or from aggravated child abuse.
- The offender assaults the victim while subject to a valid restraining order, injunction, diversion, or probation agreement forbidding the offender from causing or attempting to cause bodily injury.
Regardless of the type, aggravated assault is a Felony under Tennessee law and, in addition to any prison sentence, can carry an enhanced fine of up a $15,000.00 if committed against any first responder or healthcare provider of the following people during the performance of their duties.
Contact an assault defense attorney in Clarksville by calling (931) 398-5308. Schedule your free confidential consultation for a personal review of your aggravated assault charges.
Domestic assault is an assault committed against any of the following people:
- Current or former spouses
- People who live together or who have lived together
- People who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship
- People who are or were related by blood, adoption, or marriage
- Adult or minor children of anyone described above
Defenses to an Assault Charge
The following defenses may be available against an assault or aggravated assault charge:
- Insanity- The defendant, because of a severe mental disease or defect, was unable to appreciate the nature or wrongfulness of the defendant's acts at the time of the offense
Ignorance or Mistake of Fact- The defendant was ignorant or mistaken of a fact, and as a result, the
defendant did not act intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently
in committing the offense (as applicable)
- Note: Mistake of law, however, is never a defense to a crime
Involuntary Intoxication- As a result of involuntary intoxication, the defendant lacked substantial
capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of the person's conduct
or to conform that conduct to the requirements of the law allegedly violated
- Note: Voluntary intoxication is not a defense to a crime, but evidence of it may be admitted at trial if it is relevant to show that the defendant did not act intentionally or knowingly in committing the offense (as applicable)
Duress- The defendant committed the offense while being threatened with immediate
harm that causes the defendant to reasonably fear death or serious bodily
injury if the defendant does not commit the offense, if:
- The threatened harm is continuous throughout the time the offense is being committed,
- The defendant is unable to withdraw to safety,
- The desirability and urgency of avoiding the harm clearly outweighs the harm sought to be prevented by the law forbidding the charged offense, and
- The defendant did not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly become involved in a situation in which it was probable that he or she would be subjected to compulsion.
- Entrapment - Law enforcement officials, acting either directly or through an agent, induced or persuaded an otherwise unwilling and not predisposed defendant to commit the offense
- Necessity- The defendant reasonably believed that his or her conduct was immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm, and desirability and urgency of avoiding the harm clearly outweighs the harm sought to be prevented by the law forbidding the charged offense
- Public Duty- The defendant reasonably believes the conduct is required or authorized by law, by the judgment or order of a competent court or other tribunal, or in the execution of legal process and the defendant’s conduct otherwise met the relevant standards for self-defense or defense of property
Self Defense – At the time of the offense, the defendant used force that he or
she reasonably believed was immediately necessary to protect against another
person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force
- Note (Duty to Retreat): If the defendant is not engaged in unlawful activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be, the defendant has no duty to retreat before threatening or using force in his or her defense
- Note (Deadly Force): A defendant may only threaten or use force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if he or she reasonably and honestly fears imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Subject to certain exceptions and qualifications, the law presumes the defendant to hold the required level of fear if using deadly force against a person who has unlawfully and forcibly entered the defendant’s residence, business, dwelling, or vehicle.
Note (Exceptions to Self-Defense): The following circumstances prevent the defendant from claiming self-defense:
- The defendant consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other person,
- The defendant provoked the other person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless the defendant abandons the encounter or clearly communicates to the other the intent to do so, and the other person nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the defendant, or
- The defendant threatens or uses force to resist a halt at a roadblock, arrest, search, or stop and frisk that the defendant knows is being made by a law enforcement officer, unless the law enforcement officer uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest, search, stop and frisk, or halt, and the defendant reasonably believes that the force is immediately necessary to protect against the officer's use or attempted use of such force
- Note (Defense of Another): The standards governing self-defense also govern the defendant’s threat or use of force necessary to protect a third person if the defendant reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary to protect the third person
- Protection of Life and Health – The defendant uses non-deadly force against another to the degree the defendant reasonably believes is immediately necessary to prevent the other from committing suicide or from the self-infliction of serious bodily injury
- Protection of Property – The defendant in lawful possession or real or personal property is justified in using non-deadly force against another to the degree the defendant reasonably believes is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property
- Effective consent - The victim effectively consented to an assaultive conduct that does not involve death or serious bodily injury and that is a reasonably foreseeable hazard of joint participation in a lawful athletic contest or competitive sport or any other joint activity that is otherwise legal.
Contact an assault defense attorney in Clarksville by calling (931) 398-5308. Schedule your free confidential consultation for a personal review of potential defenses to your assault charges.
Investigating and Charging Assault
As with any criminal offense, the officer or prosecutor must demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that you have committed an assault or an aggravated assault to file charges against you. Whether you have been charged or are seeking assistance with an ongoing criminal investigation, it is important you consult with our attorneys at Grimes, Sensing & Clemons PLLC as early in the case as possible to protect your rights. Once you become our client, we will thoroughly investigate your case, advise you of your legal options, keep you informed about what to expect throughout your case, and will aggressively proceed to protect your rights and achieve success both in and out of the courtroom.
Our Attorneys Assist with Assault Charges in Clarksville and Throughout Middle Tennessee
Our Attorneys have successfully represented clients in motion hearings, settlement hearings, and trials in Circuit Courts, General Sessions Courts, Juvenile Courts, and Appeals Courts throughout middle Tennessee, as well as in U.S. Magistrate Court. They have the experience you need to help you protect your rights and achieve victory in your case.
What sets Grimes, Sensing, & Clemons PLLC apart?
- 40+ years of combined experience
- Client-focused representation
- Effective defense strategies
- Proven results
- Ready to take your call 24/7/365
- Reasonable payment plans
Contact us today by calling (931) 398-5308. Schedule your free confidential consultation for a personal review of your Clarksville assault, aggravated assault, or domestic assault charges.