When facing criminal charges for aggravated assault in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the most important thing to understand is that this is a very serious felony charge. You do not want to end up with this kind of charge on your record if it is at all avoidable. At the same time, you need to keep in mind that you are innocent until proven guilty. Avoid discussing the charges without an attorney present.
Which Crimes Constitute Aggravated Assault Charges in Chattanooga, TN?
If you are charged with aggravated assault in Chattanooga, Tennessee, then you are likely being accused of one of the following crimes:
- Causing serious physical injury recklessly, intentionally, or knowingly.
- Being the parent/guardian of an abused child or disabled adult and knowingly allowing aggravated assault or child abuse to happen, without protecting the victim.
- Committing simple assault (a lesser charge), but while threatening with a deadly weapon.
- Attempting to do any of the above, even if you did not successfully cause injury.
What Does it Mean to Cause Injury Through Recklessness in Chattanooga?
Whenever someone causes injury to another person without intending to do so, but through actions that are considered to be egregiously negligent or without concern for how those actions may harm another individual, this is considered recklessness and can lead to an aggravated assault charge. Following are a few examples of how aggravated assault charges could occur through recklessness:
- Someone is playing with a gun carelessly or pretending to shoot someone; when they accidentally do shoot the person because of their reckless act.
- Someone is recklessly pushing and shoving through a crowd and shoves someone in such a way that the person falls and becomes injured.
- Two people are tossing a child back and forth in a reckless manner and one person fails to catch the child, so the child ends up falling and becoming injured.
The common elements in these cases are:
- The accused did not intend to hurt someone.
- The accused consciously knew that the actions could potentially hurt someone.
- The action of the accused, as they should have predicted, caused serious bodily injury.
How Does Chattanooga, Tennessee, Law Define Serious Bodily Injury?
To understand which circumstances may result in aggravated assault charges, you need to know the definition of serious bodily injury as compared to minor injuries. Minor injuries include bruises, minor cuts, scrapes, sprains, and strains. Serious bodily injury refers to more significant injuries, such as broken bones, lost limbs, disfiguring injuries, and injuries that require surgical treatment. Injuries that could be deadly, or do result in a death, are also serious bodily injuries.
What Qualifies as a Deadly Weapon in an Aggravated Assault Case in Chattanooga, Tennessee?
Simple assault can become aggravated assault when a deadly weapon is used to threaten the victim. It is likely a point of interest as to which items may qualify as deadly weapons when an individual is facing aggravated assault charges in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A deadly weapon is any kind of object that is designed or capable of causing serious bodily injury or death. For example, guns and knives are obviously deadly weapons. Yet, a tire iron could also be a deadly weapon, as could a rope that might be used to strangle someone. Even a baseball bat can be considered as a deadly weapon. It all depends on how it is used and whether it is used to threaten, intimidate, or actually harm the victim.
What Are the Consequences of Conviction in an Aggravated Assault Case?
The consequences of a conviction in an aggravated assault case in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will depend on the circumstances and the specific conditions of the elements that led to the criminal charge. You may be facing any of the following criminal charges, depending on whether the incident was intentional or reckless:
- Class C Felony: An aggravated assault charge where the act was intentional or where the accused failed to protect a child or disabled adult victim.
- Class D Felony: An aggravated assault charge where the act was reckless.
- Class A Misdemeanor: An aggravated assault charge where the victim was a public employee.
The some of the consequences associated with these crimes are as follows:
- Class C Felony: Imprisonment for three to fifteen years and up to $10K in fines.
- Class D Felony: Imprisonment for two to twelve years and up to $5K in fines
- Class A Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for less than one year and up to $2,500 in fines.
In many cases, the person who is convicted of an aggravated assault crime will also have to pay restitution to the victims of the crime. This may include the cost of medical expenses, property damage, counseling services, lost wages, and other damages related to the crime and the injuries.
Alternatives to Imprisonment for an Aggravated Assault Crime in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Not everyone who is convicted of an aggravated assault crime in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is going to end up in jail or prison. There are alternatives that can keep you facing these consequences:
- Deferred Sentence: A deferred sentence or judicial diversion is an option for those who do not have any prior convictions. In these cases, the courts may allow for the sentencing to be postponed until such time as the convicted person is able to complete certain requirements like probation, psychological treatment, and not getting any further charges pressed against them.
- Suspended Sentence: A suspended sentence is when the convicted person is given a sentence, but is allowed to serve part or all of their time on probation. The person will have to meet certain requirements, including keeping a job and completing treatment. They will also have to pay probation fees, pass drug tests, and avoid engaging in any criminal activity.
- Reduced or Dropped Charges: One way to get the best outcome in an aggravated assault case is to accept a plea agreement. When you do this, you can get your charges and/or punishment reduced in exchange for a guilty plea. In other cases, you may be able to get your charges completely dropped before you ever have to go to trial.
In all of these cases, you will have the best likelihood of favorable results with a skilled Chattanooga, Tennessee, criminal defense attorney fighting on your behalf. An experienced criminal defense lawyer attorney can work to get your charges dropped or reduced, to negotiate a plea agreement, to fight for your innocence, or to minimize the severity of the consequences in case you are convicted of the crime. Call the Matt Brock Law Firm to learn more about your options when facing charges for aggravated assault in Chattanooga, TN.