Could a Teenage Fight at High School Lead to a Criminal Charge?

Teenagers often don’t think about the consequences of their actions. As a group, they have a reputation for impulsive decisions and rebelliousness. Hormones, social pressure and a culture that glorifies violence may lead to teenagers physically lashing out at each other or even a teacher.

Not so long ago, a parent might be able to go to the school and intervene on behalf of their child after a fight. There might be a suspension or weeks of in-school detention as punishment, but the student would be able to continue with their life after making a bad decision. Unfortunately, these days, students could find themselves facing assault charges if they get into a fight with others at their school.

Is it really a crime if no one has permanent injuries?

A fistfight could easily result in one or more people getting charged with assault. If the alleged victim only has a few bruises, you may feel like assault is an exaggeration of the circumstances. However, the legal definition of assault in Tennessee is broad.

It involves unwanted and offensive physical contact, causing bodily injury to another and even making someone fear for their own physical safety. Your teenager does not have to have caused physical or psychological trauma to face assault charges. In fact, they don’t even have to have touched the other person involved.

Raising their fists like they intend to throw a punch or just screaming aggressive verbal threats could be enough to constitute assault in some cases. Once the criminal justice system gets involved, your teenager is at risk for a lot of long-term consequences.

A juvenile offense is not something you can ignore

Whether your young adult is college-bound or hopes to work in a skilled trade, having a criminal record will limit their opportunities in life. Even if the state eventually repeals their juvenile record, there could be a long delay in your child’s independence because of a criminal conviction.

Rather than encouraging your child to plead guilty, it might be a better option for your family to help them find a way to fight back against these pending assault charges. A successful defense will not only mean that your teenager can avoid criminal consequences but also a potentially life-altering criminal record.

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