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National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Tennessee Bar Association
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Sexual Battery

Sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery are both serious crimes in Tennessee. Pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-13-505, sexual battery occurs when some unlawful sexual contact is accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

  • Force or coercion is used; or
  • The sexual contact is accomplished without the consent; or
  • The person is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless and the defendant knows or has reason to know that the person is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or
  • The sexual contact is accomplished by fraud.

Unlawful sexual contact is defined in Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-501 as the intentional touching of intimate parts, or of the clothing covering the immediate area of a person's intimate parts, for sexual arousal or gratification. This differs from rape, which requires penetration.

Sexual battery in Tennessee is a Class E felony punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000. In addition, individuals convicted of sexual battery are required by the state to register as sex offenders.

Aggravated Sexual Battery

A sexual battery charge will be enhanced to aggravated sexual battery if one of the following elements are satisfied:

  • The defendant caused bodily injury to the person;
  • The defendant was aided or abetted by one or more persons; or
  • The person was less than 13 years of age.

Aggravated Sexual Battery is a Class B Felony punishable by eight to 30 years imprisonment, a fine up to $25,000, and your name will be added to the sex offender registry.

Statutory Rape

In Tennessee, statutory rape is said to have occurred when a person has sexual intercourse with a minor – someone who is under the age of legal consent. The law regarding sex with a minor is broken down into three categories. These categories – mitigated statutory rape, statutory rape and aggravated statutory rape -- are based on the age of the minor and the defendant. However, irrespective of the category, a statutory rape conviction in Tennessee brings with it the serious possibility of having to register as a sex offender.

Statutory rape: This is the unlawful sexual penetration between a minor who is at least 13 years old, but younger than 15 years old, and a defendant, who is at least four years older than the minor.

This category also applies to minors who are at least 15 years old and the defendant is more than five years older than the minor. However, the charge will be enhanced to aggravated statutory rape if the defendant is at least 10 years older.

Statutory rape is a class E felony and is punishable by one to six years of imprisonment and a fine.

Mitigated statutory rape: This crime occurs when unlawful sexual penetration takes place between a minor who is at least 15 years old and a defendant who is between four to five years older than the minor. This category does not apply if the defendant is more than 5 years older than the minor.

Mitigated statutory rape is a Class E felony and is punishable by one to six years of imprisonment and a fine.

Aggravated statutory rape: This more serious crime is said to have occurred when sexual penetration takes place between a minor who is at least 13 years old and a defendant who is at least 10 years older than the minor.

Aggravated statutory rape is a Class D felony, punishable by two to 12 years in prison and a fine.

Rape

 If convicted of rape, you will be facing a Class B felony, which carries a prison sentence between eight and 30 years to be served at a mandatory 100% (credits, including “good time” can reduce your sentence no lower than 85%) and up to a $25,000 fine. You will also be under community supervision, via the Sex Offender Registry, for life.

If you are a juvenile and are convicted of rape, you may be placed on the Sex Offender Registry until you are at least 25 years old, at which time you may petition the court to have you removed.

In Tennessee, rape is defined under T.C.A. 39-13-503 as involving the unlawful sexual penetration of a person by the defendant under certain specified circumstances. The meaning of sexual penetration is quite broad, encompassing sexual intercourse and any intrusion, no matter how slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of the alleged victim, defendant, or other person.

To be classified as rape, the unlawful penetration must also be accompanied by one of the following circumstances:

  • Use of force or coercion;
  • Lack of consent;
  • The defendant knew or had reason to know that the person was mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or
  • The sexual penetration was accomplished by fraud.
Aggravated Rape in Tennessee

 In Tennessee, a rape charge will be heightened to aggravated rape if the rape is committed under one of the following circumstances:

  • Force or coercion was used and the defendant was armed with a weapon or an article the person reasonably believed was a weapon;
  • The defendant caused bodily injury to the person; or
  • The defendant was (1) aided or abetted by one or more persons and either
    • (a) force or coercion was used to accomplish the act, or
    • (b) the defendant knew or had reason to know that the person was mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

Aggravated rape is a Class A felony, which carries a sentence of 15 to 60 years in jail and a fine up to $50,000. This sentence will be served at a mandatory 100%, with no possible reductions, even for “good time.” You will also be under community supervision, via the Sex Offender Registry, for life.

Defending Your Rights

Sex offense cases are unique and require an attorney with knowledge and experience in that area. We will conduct a thorough and independent investigation and you can help by starting the process of preserving evidence immediately. Saving or screenshotting social media posts, videos, pictures, etc. is immensely helpful due to the fact it can be expensive and, in some cases, impossible to find such evidence after it has been deleted. Help us help you.

Take these charges seriously and do not allow such a serious allegation to go unanswered-Call the Nashville Criminal Defense Attorneys today at (615) 622-0595.