Our state treats assault with a deadly weapon charges as a really big deal.
In 2016, there were 432 deaths related to gun use in Minnesota. A significant portion of those deaths were classified as violent deaths, which results from a use of force. Assault with a deadly weapon normally falls into that category – and those are just the gun deaths.
If you have been accused of assault with a deadly weapon in Minnesota, you need to understand how the laws currently apply to your charges. The use of a deadly weapon can be charged as either be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the act.
Let’s take a look at both types of charges.
Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges in Minnesota
If you use a dangerous weapon in the commission of a crime, you could face misdemeanor charges under these circumstances:
“Whoever does any of the following commits an assault and is guilty of a misdemeanor:
(1) commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or
(2) intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.”
A gross misdemeanor charge will apply in these scenarios:
“(a) Whoever violates the provisions of subdivision 1 against the same victim within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.
(b) Whoever violates the provisions of subdivision 1 within three years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.”
Importantly, you do not need to cause bodily harm to another person for these charges to apply. Merely having a firearm during the commission of the act can cause you to be charged with assault in the fifth degree.
Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges in Minnesota
The Minnesota Statutes read this way regarding the felony use of a dangerous weapon:
“Whoever assaults another with a dangerous weapon may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years or to payment of a fine of not more than $14,000, or both.”
If substantial bodily harm occurs, these penalties apply:
“Whoever assaults another with a dangerous weapon and inflicts substantial bodily harm may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.”
With penalties this serious, you need the help of a Minnesota criminal attorney who can protect your rights and fight back on your behalf.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You
By reaching out to an attorney, you can gain an advocate who will build the strongest possible defense against your charges. These are just a few examples of the types of strategies your lawyer may use to get your charges reduced or dropped:
Lack of evidence
Maybe the alleged weapon cannot be found. Or you can only be placed at the scene circumstantially. There are a number of ways to call evidence into question and point out holes in the prosecution’s case in regards to a lack of proof.
You were acting to protect yourself or others.
You lacked the mental ability to make sound judgment and should therefore not face the full wrath of the law.
If you are charged, expect to have prosecutors and other law enforcement officials come down hard on you. They will likely push for the maximum penalties and do everything in their power to get you to confess.
These types of cases can be won, but not unless you fight back.
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).