Defense Against Assault Charges
If you have been accused of assault in the Murfreesboro area of Tennessee, your first call should be to a good defense attorney. Tennessee law recognizes specific instances regarding assault charges. While simple assault charges can include a year of jail time and fines up to $2,500, aggravated assault charges can be even greater. However, regardless of the penalties, you want to be vigorously defended against any assault charges and avoid conviction.
Tennessee Law's Definition of Assault
Tennessee law defines assault as a misdemeanor charge for simple assaults, but certain circumstances can raise the crime to aggravated assault. As such, a person can be charged with assault if any of these requirements can be met:
• The action was committed on purpose, with the goal of causing bodily injury to another.
You saw a person, you went after the person, and you attacked that person with the intent to damage them. Very straightforward definition without a lot of gray areas.
• The action caused the victim to experience a reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury.
Also referred to as a threat or intimidation. Even if you don’t physically touch them, an attempt to make another person fear for their physical safety can be seen as assault.
• Any reasonable person would interpret the act of purposely causing physical contact as threatening.
Tennessee law acknowledges that not all physical contact types qualify as a threat. Handshakes, fist bumps, and hugging don’t rate as a threat, but grabbing someone by the collar and preparing to punch them would.
While many of the examples above generally qualify as simple assaults, a person can be charged with aggravated assault if they attacked or intimidated the victim with any kind of weapon, have a prior criminal record, or committed the assault while in the act of committing a felony.
Every situation involving assault presents unique challenges, with factors including the parties involved, the location of the alleged assault, and the damages suffered. That being said, Tennessee law does recognize several arguments that can be used by the alleged victim.
• Self Defense
In general, the argument of self-defense can be employed when the person claiming self-defense committed certain actions to protect themselves or a third party at the time of the alleged assault. If someone attacks you, and you fight back to prevent yourself or someone else from getting injured, you can justifiably claim to have acted in self-defense.
It’s important to remember the person claiming self-defense could have their argument questioned by the opposition’s legal team, who will have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the person was not acting in self-defense.
This type of scenario gets used frequently in film and television: a person gets forced to commit a crime by people who have taken their family or loved one's hostage, threatening to harm them if the person does not comply with their demands.
When assault gets committed by a person being forced into the act by another person, it could be argued the victim acted under duress.
As a legal defense, duress requires the victim to have acted while believing they had to commit assault for fear of injury or death and any reasonable person would have done the same in that specific situation.
David Clarke, Top Criminal Defense Attorney, Can Help
Because situations involving self-defense claims can be stressful and overwhelming, it’s important to have capable and experienced legal professionals to bring the case come to an acceptable conclusion. David Clarke and the staff of The Clarke Law Offices in Murfreesboro bring local knowledge and years of experience to every legal case, making them the right choice when trying to find legal help.