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What kinds of behavior could lead to assault charges in Tennessee?

| Apr 23, 2020 | Violent Offenses |

Under Tennessee law, there are two forms of assault, including both basic assault and aggravated assault. Aggravated assault charges typically stem from a situation that involves certain circumstances that make it more serious than a basic offense, such as the death of the victim or the use of a weapon or strangulation. 

However, there is nothing simple about basic assault charges. Many people across the state of Tennessee don’t understand how the state defines assault and therefore don’t understand what actions may put them at risk of an arrest for assault charges.

There are three different ways that a person could commit assault in Tennessee

The state has three separate definitions for assault in its legal codes. The first and most widely understood involves causing bodily harm to another person. Assault could mean hitting someone with your hands or striking them with an inanimate object. Even tripping someone with the intent to cause harm could constitute assault. 

The second way that Tennessee defines assault involved touching someone without their consent, especially in a rude, provocative, or inappropriate manner. The third definition of assault is likely the one that most people wind up surprised by. 

Under Tennessee law, putting someone else in a state of fear for their own safety or the physical safety of others also constitutes assault. You could theoretically face assault charges for verbal threats or aggressive body language that led someone to believe you were going to harm them.

Regardless of the circumstances that lead to an arrest or charges related to assault, there will be opportunities to defend yourself, especially if harming another person was not your intention.