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Tennessee Assault Laws

If you touch someone in an offensive manner, you can be charged with a crime. Even if you don't make actual contact, but you place someone in fear through intimidation, you can still face charges. Because assault and battery definitions vary from state to state, you can be charged with assault, battery, or some combination of the two.

Tennessee's assault laws cover the offenses of assault and aggravated assault. A general assault is the lesser of the two offenses and is charged as a misdemeanor; aggravated assault is a more serious crime and is generally a felony. In an aggravated assault, if the act was committed intentionally, the penalties are higher than if the assault was committed recklessly.

Summary of Tennessee Assault/Aggravated Assault Laws

Nothing can compete with an attorney's analysis when it comes to statutory interpretation. However, if you just need a brief introduction to the law or want to familiarize yourself with the topic before meeting with an attorney, referring to a clear and condensed version of the statutes is helpful. Get to know about Tennessee's assault laws by reading the concise chart below.


Tennessee Code Annotated:


Assault and Aggravated Assault Charges



  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another;
  • 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.

Intentional Aggravated Assault:

Intentionally or knowingly committing assault which involves the following:

  • Serious bodily injury to another;
  • The death of another;
  • The use or display of a deadly weapon; or
  • Involved strangulation or attempted strangulation.

Reckless Aggravated Assault:

Recklessly committing an assault that involves the following:

  • Serious bodily injury to another;
  • The death of another; or
  • The use or display of a deadly weapon.

Possible Penalties

Assault is usually a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or fines of up to $2,500.

Intentional assaults that cause physical contact such that a reasonable person considers extremely offensive/provocative are Class B misdemeanors. If the assault is committed against a law enforcement officer, health care provider, or employee or contractor of a utility performing their duties, then the maximum fine is $15,000.

Domestic Violence

In addition to any other punishment for assault, if the relationship between the defendant and the assault victim can be considered domestic violence and if, the court determines that the defendant possesses the ability to pay a fine, then the court will impose the fine at the level of the defendant's ability to pay, but the fine can't be more than $200.

Aggravated Assault

Intentional: Class C felony, punishable by 3-15 years in prison.

Reckless: Class D felony, punishable by 2-12 years in prison.

Related Offense(s)

Tennessee Code Annotated:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Tennessee Assault Laws: Related Resources

Talk to a Tennessee Attorney about Assault Charges

If you're accused of violating Tennessee's assault or aggravated assault laws, then realize that a conviction can result in fines and incarceration. Contact a criminal defense attorney in your area who can help with your defense and challenge any evidence against you.

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