While some assault offenses stem from physically violent encounters that result in serious bodily injuries, many are just disagreements that get out of hand. Nonetheless, assault charges and convictions can have severe consequences for your personal and professional life. If you are facing such an allegation, contacting a Chattanooga assault lawyer may be in your best interests.
Whether you were defending yourself against an attack or caught up in an argument, you should take urgent steps to protect your rights and avoid an unfavorable outcome. The penalties for an assault conviction can be harsh and may be damaging to your life, so getting the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer may be wise.
Under Tennessee Code Annotated §39-13-101, an assault occurs when a person:
Typically, assault is a Class A misdemeanor offense, which can result in slightly less than one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. However, if assault results in bodily harm, the fine can increase to as much as $15,000.
If the assault involves only intentionally offensive physical contact, the crime is a Class B misdemeanor, which entails a maximum jail sentence upon conviction of six months and a fine of $500. For any level of assault, additional fines may apply if the assault stemmed from a domestic abuse situation. A Chattanooga assault attorney could help clarify how a defendant’s individual circumstances may affect the charges they face and the potential outcomes of their case.
Individuals commit aggravated assault when they intentionally or recklessly commit an assault under specific circumstances. Under Tennessee state law, an aggravated assault specifically occurs when an intentional assault involves:
Likewise, if a reckless assault results in serious bodily injury, death, or use or display of a deadly weapon, the offense is considered aggravated assault. Aggravated assault also may occur when persons who are the parents or guardians of a child refuse or fail to protect the child from an intentional aggravated assault or aggravated child abuse.
Another scenario that may lead to aggravated assault charges is when individuals are subject to a court order that prevents them from committing or attempting to commit assault on others. If individuals intentionally violate the order by assaulting or trying to assault them, they commit an aggravated assault.
The offense of reckless aggravated assault is a Class D felony, whereas intentional aggravated assault is a Class C felony. A conviction for a Class D felony can result in up to 12 years in prison, and a conviction for a Class C felony can result in up to 15 years in prison. Representation from an assault lawyer in Chattanooga may be critical to a defendant’s ability to effectively contest these serious charges.
In addition to the potential terms of imprisonment associated with various types of aggravated assault, individuals may face higher fines in specific circumstances. If the aggravated assault is committed against certain classes of individuals, individuals could face a maximum fine of $15,000.
These individuals include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders. Aggravated assault against healthcare providers and identifiable employees or contractors of utilities also can result in a fine of up to $15,000.
A conviction for aggravated assault also may order the individuals to pay restitution to the victim of the assault. For example, if an inmate commits an aggravated assault against an employee of the jail or prison while in the course of their official duties, the judge can order deductions of up to 50 percent of the commissary accounts of incarcerated inmates to be paid toward restitution.
Whether aggravated or not, assault is a serious charge that can have harsh consequences for your future. Even a misdemeanor assault conviction can reflect poorly on you when it appears on background checks by prospective employers and landlords.
To minimize the risk of these unwanted consequences, you should weigh the merits of contacting a Chattanooga assault lawyer for advice. Call today to schedule a consultation.