The biggest difference between simple assault and aggravated assault is that simple assault or domestic assault (if a domestic relationship is involved) are both treated as misdemeanors and are punishable by 11 months and 29 days while aggravated assault is a felony that carries a sentence of up to 6 years.
How is assault and aggravated assaulted defined?
Whether one is convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor will generally depend on whether a deadly weapon is involved and or the degree of the injury to the victim.
Assault is intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing:
1. bodily injury to another
2. the other person to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury
3. physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.
Aggravated Assault is basically the same thing except that serious bodily injury is caused or a deadly weapon is displayed or used.
Unless a deadly weapon is involved the deciding factor is serious bodily injury, how is that defined?
Recently in State v. Howell, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that the victim that suffered acute, sharp pain at the time of his injury, needed three physical therapy sessions, and had inability to perform normal employment for 10 days did not suffer serious bodily injury. In State v. Sims, the courts also concluded that a broken nose did not constitute serious bodily injury for especially aggravated robbery conviction. However in State v. Adkins, the court found that evidence a victim suffered permanent impairment of knee and back was sufficient to support conviction for aggravated assault and in State v. Taylor, the court concluded that the evidence that the victim suffered extreme physical pain from collarbone injury that necessitated surgical repair and rehabilitative therapy was sufficient to support conviction for aggravated assault.
What do you do if charged with an assault or aggravated assault?
If you are charged with an assault, domestic or simple, or aggravated assault in Middle Tennessee/Nashville area, you should contact a criminal attorney that understands the differences and all possible defenses including self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, etc..