Yes, you could go to jail for slapping someone if convicted of assault and sentenced to jail time. Slapping someone can qualify as assault under the criminal law of Tennessee. The general Tennessee law for assault, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-101, defines assault as follows:
(a) A person commits the crime of assault who:
(1) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
(2) Intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
(3) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.
Slapping someone could constitute an assault if it leads to bodily injury. Tennessee law defines bodily injury quite broadly to include “a cut, abrasion, bruise, burn or disfigurement; physical pain or temporary illness or impairment of the function of bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.” Tenn. Code Ann. §39-11-106(a)(2). If the state proves that the victim suffered discomfort or swelling from the slapping, then a jury could convict the defendant of assault under Tennessee law.
However, even if slapping does not cause bodily injury, it might still constitute assault as an “extremely offensive or provocative” contact under Tennessee’s assault law. For example, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a defendant’s assault conviction when the defendant slapped and yelled at the victim. Even though the victim did not suffer severe bodily harm, the appeals court referred to the “offensive touching” by the defendant. State v. McCaleb, 2008 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 340, No. M2007-01357-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App. April 23, 2008).
Thus, slapping can constitute an assault. Whether you go to jail depends on the sentence that you receive. You could receive a sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail if convicted of the crime of assault under Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-101. This is why you need an attorney, such as Philip Clark.
If you face a criminal charge for assault for slapping a girl or anyone else, you need an attorney. Contact attorney Philip Clark at PNC Law.