A recent study found that Minneapolis has a serious issue with domestic violence calls. The issue, they found, was that the majority of domestic violence call did not actually involve any actual violence.
Instead, the majority of calls involved moments of crisis between family members and they simply didn’t know who to turn to. To be exact, it was found that only 1 in every 4 domestic violence calls end with police filing a report. There were no actual crimes committed.
Because of the state’s commitment to protecting its citizens, law enforcement initially approaches every domestic violence call the same, even when allegations are false.
To help relieve the number of domestic violence calls police are responding to, a special task force has been set up to deal with less serious issues. Today, we share what you need to know about actual domestic violence according to Minnesota law.
Domestic Violence in the State of Minnesota
The Domestic Abuse Act defines domestic abuse as the following acts when committed against one family or household member by another:
- physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
- the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
- terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call
How Minnesota Defines Family Members
The Domestic Abuse Act clearly outlines who the law covers as family- and household members. Any person that can be described as the following are protected under Minnesota law:
- Parents and children
- Blood relatives
- Former and current spouses
- Former and current co-habitants
- People with a child together
- A man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is the alleged father
- People involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship
Common Domestic Violence Accusations in Minneapolis
Some of the most common reasons Minneapolis police have historically responded to domestic violence calls include accusations of:
- Stalking behaviors
- Physical violence between partners
- Physical violence directed towards children
- Violence stemming from substance abuse or mental illness
What a Domestic Violence Conviction Can Cost in MN
According to Minnesota law, domestic violence convictions can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the specific offense and other elements surrounding the crime.
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Penalties
Typically, the crime is considered a misdemeanor for first-time offenders and when no other elements are involved.
The penalty for a misdemeanor is 90 days in jail or a fine not to exceed $1,000 or both. If a person has been convicted of domestic violence within a period of 10 years, the crime becomes a gross misdemeanor. The penalty for a gross misdemeanor is between 20 days and 1 year in jail, a fine not to exceed $3,000, or both.
Penalties for Felony-Level Domestic Violence
The crime can become a felony upon the third conviction within a 10 year period. Domestic violence is also a felony if a firearm is involved. The penalty for felony-level domestic violence is between 45 days and 5 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $10,000, or both.
If a firearm was involved the gun must also be forfeited for a period of 3 years and the offender will be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms during this time. In the event a firearm was used during a domestic assault, the offender will be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm for life.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).