Assault is an attempt to commit battery, the offensive touching of someone who did not want to be touched. Assault cases are often complex, and the consequences of a conviction may be severe.
Fortunately, A Chattanooga lawyer could help guide you through the assault case process from your arrest to your trial. Engaging an experienced battery attorney who is knowledgeable about the laws surrounding assault could allow you to prepare a strong defense.
Assault in Tennessee is defined by T.C.A §39-13-101 and includes aggravated assault (T.C.A §39-13-102) and reckless endangerment under §39-13-103. There are several other related assault offenses in Tennessee, but these are the most common.
There are three varieties of simple assault in Tennessee. The first occurs when an individual intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person. Bodily injury is defined in §39-11-106(a)(2) and can include abrasions, cuts, burns, bruises or disfigurement, in addition to physical pain, temporary illness or impairment. The definitions of the mental states required for assault are codified in T.C.A §39-11-302.
A second variety is when a person intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury. This is a key component of many assault charges. While it does not require actual touching, it does require the individual to intentionally display threatening conduct.
The third variety of simple assault occurs when an individual intentionally or knowingly initiates physical contact with another person that could reasonably be considered offensive or provocative.
Assault cases often begin with a 911 call by an alleged victim or a concerned neighbor. Police are often quick to respond to allegations of physical violence in a situation where someone is in imminent danger.
Upon arrival at the scene, police may want to extinguish a heated situation and separate individuals that may have been engaged in the confrontation. They could then begin to interview anyone who witnessed or was involved in the incident. The police may then attempt to determine whether there’s probable cause to make an arrest for a crime.
If the police ultimately determine that there is probable cause, they will make an arrest. In the context of an assault case, there’s often little physical evidence to support the stories of the people that the police interview. It can be crucial for someone arrested for assault in Chattanooga to know what the police are looking for and what evidence there may be to support their side of the story.
In many assault cases, the accused party can get a bond and be released pending the resolution of their case. Members of law enforcement often do not hold individuals accused of simple assault for an extended period of time without bond. More serious crimes like aggravated assault or aggravated battery may cause accused individuals to face longer periods of time in custody, or the judge may set a much higher bond.
In most assault cases, the accused party can be released anywhere from 24 to 72 hours from the time of arrest. They may have a court date at some point in the weeks following their release. The defendant can expect their case to take anywhere from a few months to one or two years, depending on the severity of the alleged crime and whether their case is resolved through negotiations, dismissal, or trial.
Contacting an experienced Chattanooga lawyer quickly after your arrest could help you fully understand your assault charges and determine the best possible course of action. An attorney familiar with criminal law could fight for your rights in and out of court.
Most simple assault cases depend on the presence of witnesses and the consistency of their stories with those of the alleged victims. Understanding these stories and how they hold up to the passage of time is where an assault attorney could be vital in developing a strong defense. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.