How do you prove assault?

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There are several ways for a prosecutor to prove that a defendant committed the crime of assault under Tennessee law. The prosecutor can rely on the victim’s testimony, law enforcement testimony, eyewitness testimony, a doctor’s testimony, and physical evidence of the crime of assault.   

First, the victim of the assault can testify that the defendant attacked or punched or engaged in some other form of harmful or offensive physical contact on her or him. The victim’s testimony may be the most important piece of evidence, particularly if the jury finds the victim to be a credible witness.  

The prosecution also can introduce into evidence from the police officer or sheriff’s deputy who saw physical evidence of harm on the victim. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the assault conviction of a man based on a police officer’s testimony that the victim had scratches on her neck and the side of her cheek. State v. Williams, No. W2015-00832-CCA-R3-CD,  2016 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 362 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 5, 2016). The victim claimed that she had no recollection of the defendant hitting her. However, the court of criminal appeals reasoned that the police officer’s testimony of the injuries to her neck and cheek were sufficient for a rational jury to find the defendant guilty of assault.  Id. at *12.  

Sometimes a prosecutor may rely on more than the testimony of the victim or the police officer who responded to the scene. The prosecutor also may introduce the testimony of a doctor or other medical professional who examined the victim and her injuries.   

The state also can introduce into evidence, photographs or medical information, the actual injuries suffered by the victim. This evidence will show to the jury that the victim indeed suffered bodily harm under Tennessee law.  

There are several ways a prosecutor can prove the crime of assault. If you face assault charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you face such charges, contact attorney Philip Clark at PNC Law. 

Connect with Philip N. Clark right away!
(615) 785-2000