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How does Tennessee define aggravated assault?

If you face aggravated assault charges in Tennessee, your freedom is at stake. As FindLaw explains, Tennessee has several classifications of aggravated assault, conviction of which is a Class C or Class D felony depending on the circumstances. Class D felonies carry a prison term of from two to 12 years and a fine of up to $5,000. Class C felonies carry a prison term of from three to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The fine can increase to $15,000 if the prosecutor convicts you of committing an aggravated assault against one of the following:

  • A law enforcement officer
  • A firefighter or medical fire responder
  • A paramedic or emergency medical technician
  • A health care provider
  • A first responder

Required intent and harm

To convict you of aggravated assault, the prosecutor must prove that you knew your actions would harm your alleged victim, but you intentionally acted anyhow or in reckless disregard of your alleged victim’s safety. In addition, the prosecutor must prove that your actions resulted in serious bodily harm to your alleged victim or in his or her death. If you used or displayed a deadly weapon as part of your alleged assault, this is another factor in determining whether officers and the prosecutor charge you with a Class D or Class C felony.

Special classifications

While committing aggravated assault against anyone is a serious offense, Tennessee law specifically prohibits aggravated assault under the following circumstances:

  • If the person you allegedly assaulted is your child or a child or adult in your custody
  • If the person you allegedly assaulted is someone who a court restrained or enjoined you from injuring
  • If the person you allegedly assaulted is a public or transportation employee who was performing his or her duties at the time of the assault
  • If the person you allegedly assaulted is a corrections officer, jailer, guard, etc. who was performing his or her duties at the time of the assault

This is general information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

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