Tennessee

When you are accused of something like rape, sexual battery, or any sexual offense in Tennessee, it can feel like no one is on your side—like you are being judged long before you have your day in court. These charges carry a stigma like no other and they can change your life forever.

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Tennessee Sex Crimes

There are numerous different sexual offenses under the statutes of Tennessee. Though we have provided an overview of a few of the more common charges here, discussing your case with a local attorney will help you understand exactly what you are up against.

Sexual Battery

Under Tennessee law, sexual battery is defined as unlawful sexual contact with a victim when any of the following circumstances are present:

  1. You use force or coercion to accomplish the act,
  2. It is done without the consent of the victim,
  3. You know or have reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, incapacitated, or physically helpless, or
  4. If the sexual contact is accomplished by fraud.

This offense is classified as a Class E Felony and carries up to 6 years in prison depending on your criminal history.

Aggravated Sexual Battery

Aggravated sexual battery is defined as unlawful sexual contact with a victim where any of the following circumstances are present:

  1. Force or coercion is used and you are armed with a weapon,
  2. You cause bodily injury to the alleged victim,
  3. You are aided or abetted by another person who uses force or a weapon, or
  4. The victim is less than 13 years of age.

This offense is classified as a Class B Felony and carries up to 30 years in prison depending on your criminal history.

Rape

The laws of Tennessee define rape as “unlawful sexual penetration” where any of the following circumstances are present:

  1. Force or coercion is used,
  2. It is accomplished without consent,
  3. You know or have reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, incapacitated, or physically helpless, or
  4. The sexual penetration is accomplished by fraud.

Rape is classified as a Class B Felony charge and carries up to 30 years in prison depending on your criminal history.

Aggravated Rape

Aggravated rape is perhaps the most serious sex offense in Tennessee. It is when you commit the unlawful sexual penetration of another when any of the following circumstances are present:

  1. You use force or coercion to accomplish the act and you are armed with a weapon,
  2. You cause bodily injury to the alleged victim, or
  3. You are aided or abetted by another and they use force or coercion or if you are aided and the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

Aggravated rape is considered a Class A Felony charge and carries up to 60 years in prison depending on your criminal history.

Child Pornography

Possession or distribution of child pornography is a felony sex offense.

That is true even if the individuals themselves are minors, and the image or video was a person sharing it voluntarily via text or “sexting” or sending messages via Snapchat or other messaging apps.

However, there is a proposed bill to create a new status offense for minors accused of sending or keeping illicit images.

A status offense under Tennessee law is not a criminal charge, but applies to minor children, and is defined as an “unruly act”. They can still be subject to referral to the Department of Children Services.

Sexual Contact with a Minor

Sexual contact with a minor applies where the victim is at least 13 years old and less than 18 years old and you are at least 4 years older than them, and you were in a position of trust or had supervisory or disciplinary power over the minor.

This offense applies to actions including kissing if that kissing can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of “sexual arousal or gratification.”

It is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and carries up to one year in jail and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

When you are accused of a crime as serious as these, you need an aggressive advocate on your side. Contact our offices today to be put in touch with a local attorney who can help.