Tennessee has one of the highest violent crime rates of any state in the U.S. State and local police officers regularly arrest suspects in and around the Knoxville area, and prosecutors issue a range of criminal charges for offenses considered to be “violent.” Prosecutors regularly pursue the maximum possible charges and penalties against alleged violent offenders, and it is critical that defendants have a highly experienced criminal defense attorney on their side who knows how to take on these often challenging cases.
When you’ve been accused of a violent crime, there is too much on the line to not seek the proper defense representation. Convictions for violent offenses have long-lasting consequences, and you do not want to risk your future by not mounting an aggressive defense. Barnes Law regularly represents clients facing allegations of violent crimes, and we know how much is at stake. We will evaluate your situation and design the most effective defense strategy possible while ensuring your rights are protected. Please call 865-805-5703 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today.
Common Violent Offenses in Tennessee
The category of “violent crimes” includes any offense that involves harm or the threat of harm against another person. There are many types of violent crimes, all of which can result in harsh penalties and should be taken extremely seriously. Barnes Law can defend against the following charges, among others:
Criminal assault occurs when a person threatens or engages in offensive or harmful contact with another person. You can face assault charges for punching someone or even swinging a punch at them and missing. There are two types of assault charges in Tennessee: simple assault and aggravated assault.
Simple assault involves either causing someone to have a reasonable fear of injury or making offensive or provocative unwanted contact with someone. This can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor, depending on the specifics of the allegations. Both charges come with fines and possible jail time, including a $500 fine and up to six months in jail for Class B, and a $2,500 fine and up to almost one year in jail for a Class A misdemeanor.
On the other hand, aggravated assault will result in a felony charge. This offense can apply to any of the following:
- Recklessly or intentionally causing serious injury to another person, including by strangulation
- Committing a simple assault with a deadly weapon
- Failing to protect your child from an aggravated assault
You may face Class D felony charges with the possibility of two to 12 years in prison and a $5,000 fine or Class C felony charges with the possibility of three to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Domestic assault refers to an assault against certain individuals who are close to you. Such individuals include:
- Current or former spouse
- Current or former dating or sexual partner
- Someone with whom you currently reside or formerly resided
- Anyone related to you by blood, adoption, or marriage
- Your child or the child of a household member
The same charges and possible sentences are the same as assault charges. However, domestic violence offenders can also face restraining orders, firearm possession bans, and additional fines.
Sexual Battery and Rape
Sexual battery happens when one person engages in sexual contact with someone else who did not consent to the conduct. This includes contact with people who are mentally incapable of giving consent, such as due to intoxication. If injury occurs to a victim, aggravated sexual battery charges may apply. Rape refers to sexual penetration – even slight – without consent. Rape is considered to be aggravated if a victim suffers injury, the offender has a weapon, or if one or more others perpetrated the rape. Charges and penalties may include:
- Sexual battery – Class E felony, one to six years in prison, a $3,000 fine
- Aggravated sexual battery – Class B felony, eight to 30 years in prison, a $25,000 fine
- Rape – Class B felony, eight to 30 years in prison, a $25,000 fine
- Aggravated rape – Class A felony, 15 to 60 years in prison, a $50,000 fine
Robbery is the wrongful taking of someone else’s money or property by using force or the threat of force. This is a Class C felony in Tennessee. If a person uses a deadly weapon, makes the victim believe they have a weapon, or causes serious bodily injury to the victims, aggravated robbery charges will apply. This is a Class B felony, which can mean up to 30 years in prison.
Defending Against Violent Charges
Facing a violent crime charge can be frightening. In addition to court-ordered penalties, a felony conviction can have lasting consequences regarding your job, where you live, and your access to your children. For sex-related violent offenses, you will have to register as a sex offender. Because of the harsh consequences, you need an attorney who will work to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
There may be many possible defense tactics depending on the circumstances of your case. Defenses may include:
- Mistaken identity or an alibi
- Unreliable scientific evidence
- Consent (for sex-related offenses)
- Violations of your rights by law enforcement
We also know how to negotiate with prosecutors to reach a favorable plea agreement, which can include reduced charges or a reduced sentence, which can often include probation instead of jail time. We will inform you of all of your options and help you make the best decision whether to accept a plea bargain or fight your charges at trial.
Consult with an Experienced Knoxville Criminal Defense Lawyer Right Away
Barnes Law will do what it takes to protect your rights and seek the most favorable outcome possible in your case. We defend against violent charges without judgment, and we guide our clients through every step of the criminal justice process. After an arrest, you should contact a Knoxville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.