In recent years, many states have changed their definitions of assault and battery, with some even blending them and adding in additional degrees of severity to assault and battery charges to compensate. But what's actually the difference between assault and battery in TN? Learn more by reading today's blog.
To schedule a consultation with our criminal defense team for your case, contact us online or via phone at (731) 256-0023.
Assault & Battery - One & the Same?
Not too long ago, most states differentiated between assault and battery, defining assault as causing someone to "reasonably fear" that an individual could hurt them, and batter as the act of someone actually causing harm to another person.
Today, assault and battery are effectively the same thing in Tennessee, both being defined under "assault" in section 39-13-101 of Tennessee Code.
Are There Different Types of Assault?
Yes, there are three types of assault under Tennessee Code:
- Assault. Assault is defined as "intentionally, Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another; or intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative. For example, telling someone, "I'm going to throw this pocket knife at you," while holding a knife or having a history of throwing pocket knives at people could qualify as assault, because they can reasonably fear you would follow through on the threat.
- Intentional aggravated assault. This kind of assault is defined as causing someone to reasonably fear some sort of harm, while additionally causing "Serious bodily injury to another; the death of another; the use or display of a deadly weapon; or involved strangulation or attempted strangulation." Going back to our earlier example, actually following through on the threat by then throwing the pocket knife into someone could be considered intentional aggravated assault (or attempted murder, depending on the execution of the act and the circumstances of the case).
- Reckless aggravated assault. Reckless aggravated assault is defined as causing "serious bodily injury to another; the death of another; or the use or display of a deadly weapon." For example, if somebody threatened to shoot another individual and then did so, but can prove it was an accident, the case may qualify as reckless aggravated assault.
Assault and battery charges have changed a lot in recent years - it will be interesting to see how they continue to do so as Tenneessee laws evolve.
At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, our attorneys help clients deal with complex criminal defense cases. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (731) 256-0023.