What you think constitutes aggravated assault and what the law says constitutes aggravated assault could be two different things. What's worse is that learning the difference often happens only after the individual is charged with the crime and faces the possibility of prison, fines and other penalties upon conviction. Make no mistake -- the consequences can be serious.
To begin with, let's examine what can trigger a simple assault charge. In Tennessee, you could be accused of assault if you cause someone bodily injury and you intended to do it or did it recklessly. A victim could claim assault if he or she feared imminent injury from your intentional actions. Any physical contact at all, if deemed extremely offensive or provocative, could elicit an assault charge.
Aggravated assault requires more aggression, but only slightly. Intention to do bodily harm is a factor. What can make it aggravated is the nature of the injury. If it's serious or results in death, a count of aggravated assault could be brought. However, it might also be charged if the perpetrator simply displayed a deadly weapon, or tried to strangle his or her victim.
In those contexts, it becomes apparent that situations that might be considered almost innocuous could result in a person unexpectedly being charged with a serious crime. For example, how many times have you seen tensions erupt at a sporting event? All it might take is a disagreement over an umpire's call for a friendly game of softball to degrade into a fight. If someone happens to brandish a bat, events could move from simple assault conditions to aggravated assault conditions quickly.
Considering the penalties that could follow and the criminal record that follows, seeking counsel from an experienced attorney is always advised.