Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorneys

Understanding the complexities of Tennessee law in matters of assault

Many assault cases arise from an argument or altercation that gets out of hand. Even in self defense, you may be the one who is arrested and facing criminal charges. At Dotson & Taylor, our Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys understand the complexities of Tennessee assault laws, including the fact that you can be charged with assault without even touching the other party. If you are charged with assault, you could be facing serious penalties, which can range from imprisonment to fines. The tenacity and legal savvy of our criminal defense attorneys can make a difference in whether or not you are convicted, and in the severity of the penalties the court imposes. We have been protecting the rights and freedom of clients in Murfreesboro and throughout Middle Tennessee for more than three decades.

Tennessee assault does not require physical contact

The crime of assault encompasses three distinctly different types of conduct. The legislature defines assault as involving one of the following situations:

Causing bodily injury: You can be charged with assault if you knowingly or recklessly engage in conduct that causes physical injury to another person. This would include intentionally punching someone, but it could also include throwing a brick into a crowd of people and hitting someone even though you might not have intended to strike that particular person.

  • Causing someone to fear being injured: If you engage in conduct that causes another person to have reason to believe he or she is about to be injured, you could be charged with the crime of assault. Keep in mind that it is not necessary for you to actually hit a person to cause them be fear being injured. For example, raising your fist during an argument could cause the other person to be in fear of being hit.
  • Engaging in offensive or provocative contact: You might not be trying to hurt someone, but if you engage in physical contact that the person regards as offensive or provocative, you could be charged with assault. Intentionally bumping into another person could be the type of conduct that results in an assault charge.

Classifications of assault

State law creates different categories of assault. The category of assault with which you are charged will determine the penalties a judge may impose at sentencing if you are convicted. Categories of assault include the following:

  • Simple Assault: Simple assault usually results in only minor injuries to the victim. It is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
  • Aggravated Assault: You could be charged with aggravated assault if the victim is seriously injured or if a deadly weapon is used. Punishment for the felony charge of aggravated assault can include imprisonment for 3 to 15 years.
  • Domestic Assault: Assault committed against a member of your family or household can be charged as domestic assault. Victims could be current or former spouses, adult or minor children, and other relatives. In addition to jail and prison sentences, judges in domestic assault cases are authorized to issue a protection order to keep you away from the victim.
  • Sexual Assault: Tennessee criminal laws allow for the prosecution of rape and other sex offenses under the category of sexual assault. Prison sentences and fines increase with the severity of the charges that can be misdemeanors or felonies depending upon the type of conduct or the age of the victim.
  • Sexual Battery: If prosecutors do not have evidence of sexual penetration, but they are able to prove unlawful sexual contact, you could be charged with the crime of sexual battery. Sexual battery is a felony that may result in a prison sentence as punishment.

The consequences of an assault charge and conviction can include a criminal record that can affect your personal and professional life indefinitely. A conviction record might cause some employers to refuse to consider you for employment, even if you are otherwise qualified for the position. Your only recourse against a conviction is to vigorously fight the charges police and prosecutors file against you. Our skilled Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyers provide the knowledge and experience you need when facing serious charges.

Contact our tenacious Murfreesboro assault defense lawyers for a free consultation

At Dotson & Taylor, our Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyers have more than 35 years of combined experience and a long history of success both in and out of the courtroom. Schedule an appointment today for a free consultation to review your case by calling 615-692-1536, or you can reach us by completing the convenient contact form.