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Aggravated Assault: When Does an Assault Meet the Threshold of Extreme Physical Pain?

Aggravated Assault:

When Does an Assault Meet the Threshold of Extreme Physical Pain?

Being charged with a crime is an intimidating experience, especially when it amounts to a Felony, Aggravated Assault. (Link to “What Might Prompt An Aggravated Assault Charge?” blog post). Did you know there are levels of assault in Tennessee? There are two broad types of assault charges: simple assault and aggravated assault.

In Tennessee, a person can be accused of assault if they intentionally or recklessly cause bodily injury. A victim could similarly claim assault if your intentional actions resulted in offensive contact or a reasonable fear of bodily injury. (Link § 39-13-101). For the charge to escalate to aggravated assault, there must be evidence of a simple assault plus an additional “aggravating” factor. (Link § 39-13-102). These additional factors include the use or display of a deadly weapon or if the assault resulted in serious bodily injury.

Tennessee defines serious bodily injury as an injury that involves any one of several factors, including “extreme physical pain.” (Link § 39-11-106). To meet this threshold, the injury must cause: loss of consciousness, extreme pain, disfigurement, or impairment. Extreme pain is difficult to quantify, but courts have provided some guidance on the issue. Surprisingly, in one case the court found that a bullet wound to the thigh did not meet the level of “extreme pain” necessary to prove aggravated assault. There is no bright line rule, and courts do not always agree on what amounts to serious bodily injury. It is important to hire an attorney to assist you in your defense if your case involved an allegation of serious bodily injury.

Contact May & McKinney, PLLC, if you are facing criminal charges in Tennessee!