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The Tennessee Code Annotated is the civil and criminal law code for the state of Tennessee. Below are the criminal statutes for sex offenses, domestic offenses, harassment, and stalking. Many other parts of the TCA may be applicable to power-based violence and can be found in the the Tennessee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence's Law Book (PDF).


 

Sexual Offenses

39-13-505.  Sexual battery.


  (a) Sexual battery is unlawful sexual contact with a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

   (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act;

   (2) The sexual contact is accomplished without the consent of the victim and the defendant knows or has reason to know at the time of the contact that the victim did not consent;

   (3) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or

   (4) The sexual contact is accomplished by fraud.

(b) As used in this section, "coercion" means the threat of kidnapping, extortion, force or violence to be performed immediately or in the future.

(c) Sexual battery is a Class E felony.

39-13-504.  Aggravated sexual battery.

  (a) Aggravated sexual battery is unlawful sexual contact with a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

   (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act and the defendant is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be a weapon;

   (2) The defendant causes bodily injury to the victim;

   (3) The defendant is aided or abetted by one (1) or more other persons; and

      (A) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; or

      (B) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or

   (4) The victim is less than thirteen (13) years of age.

(b) Aggravated sexual battery is a Class B felony.

39-13-503.  Rape.

  (a) Rape is unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

   (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act;

   (2) The sexual penetration is accomplished without the consent of the victim and the defendant knows or has reason to know at the time of the penetration that the victim did not consent;

   (3) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or

   (4) The sexual penetration is accomplished by fraud.

(b) Rape is a Class B felony.

39-13-502.  Aggravated rape.

  (a) Aggravated rape is unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

   (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act and the defendant is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be a weapon;

   (2) The defendant causes bodily injury to the victim;

   (3) The defendant is aided or abetted by one (1) or more other persons; and

      (A) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; or

      (B) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

(b) Aggravated rape is a Class A felony.


 

Domestic Offenses

39-13-111.  Domestic assault.

  (a) As used in this section, "domestic abuse victim" means any person who falls within the following categories:

   (1) Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;

   (2) Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together;

   (3) Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship, but does not include fraternization between two (2) individuals in a business or social context;

   (4) Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;

   (5) Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or

   (6) Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in subdivisions (a)(1)-(5).

(b) A person commits domestic assault who commits an assault as defined in § 39-13-101 against a domestic abuse victim.


 

Harassment and Stalking

39-17-308.  Harassment.

  (a) A person commits an offense who intentionally:

   (1) Threatens, by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication, including, but not limited to, text messaging, facsimile transmissions, electronic mail or Internet services, to take action known to be unlawful against any person and by this action knowingly annoys or alarms the recipient;

   (2) Places one (1) or more telephone calls anonymously, or at an hour or hours known to be inconvenient to the victim, or in an offensively repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication, and by this action knowingly annoys or alarms the recipient;

   (3) Communicates by telephone to another that a relative or other person has been injured, killed or is ill when the communication is known to be false; or

   (4) Communicates with another person or transmits or displays an image without legitimate purpose with the intent that the image is viewed by the victim by any method described in subdivision (a)(1) and the person:

      (A) Maliciously intends the communication to be a threat of harm to the victim; and

      (B) A reasonable person would perceive the communication to be a threat of harm.

(b)  (1) A person convicted of a criminal offense commits an offense if, while incarcerated, on pre-trial diversion, probation, community correction or parole, the person intentionally communicates in person with the victim of the person's crime if the communication is:

      (A) Anonymous or threatening or made in an offensively repetitious manner or at hours known to be inconvenient to the victim;

      (B) Made for no legitimate purpose; and

      (C) Made knowing that it will alarm or annoy the victim.

   (2) If the victim of the person's offense died as the result of the offense, the provisions of this subsection (b) shall apply to the deceased victim's next-of-kin.

(c) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor.


39-17-315.  Stalking, aggravated stalking, and especially aggravated stalking.

  (a) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

   (1) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of two (2) or more separate noncontinuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose;

   (2) "Emotional distress" means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling;

   (3) "Harassment" means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress, and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose;

   (4) "Stalking" means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested;

   (5) "Unconsented contact" means any contact with another person that is initiated or continued without that person's consent, or in disregard of that person's expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

      (A) Following or appearing within the sight of that person;

      (B) Approaching or confronting that person in a public place or on private property;

      (C) Appearing at that person's workplace or residence;

      (D) Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that person;

      (E) Contacting that person by telephone;

      (F) Sending mail or electronic communications to that person; or

      (G) Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that person; and

   (6) "Victim" means an individual who is the target of a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment.

(b)  (1) A person commits an offense who intentionally engages in stalking.

   (2) Stalking is a Class A misdemeanor.

   (3) Stalking is a Class E felony if the defendant, at the time of the offense, was required to or was registered with the Tennessee bureau of investigation as a sexual offender, violent sexual offender or violent juvenile sexual offender, as defined in § 40-39-202.

(c)  (1) A person commits aggravated stalking who commits the offense of stalking as prohibited by subsection (b), and:

      (A) In the course and furtherance of stalking, displays a deadly weapon;

      (B) The victim of the offense was less than eighteen (18) years of age at any time during the person's course of conduct, and the person is five (5) or more years older than the victim;

      (C) Has previously been convicted of stalking within seven (7) years of the instant offense;

      (D) Makes a credible threat to the victim, the victim's child, sibling, spouse, parent or dependents with the intent to place any such person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury; or

      (E) At the time of the offense, was prohibited from making contact with the victim under a restraining order or injunction for protection, an order of protection, or any other court-imposed prohibition of conduct toward the victim or the victim's property, and the person knowingly violates the injunction, order or court-imposed prohibition.

   (2) Aggravated stalking is a Class E felony.

(d)  (1) A person commits especially aggravated stalking who:

      (A) Commits the offense of stalking or aggravated stalking, and has previously been convicted of stalking or aggravated stalking involving the same victim of the instant offense; or

      (B) Commits the offense of aggravated stalking, and intentionally or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to the victim of the offense or to the victim's child, sibling, spouse, parent or dependent.

   (2) Especially aggravated stalking is a Class C felony.

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