Domestic abuse is a common issue across the United States, which is why every single state has laws against domestic abuse and domestic violence.
In memory of those who have been taken too soon due to domestic abuse, you can find fundraisers happening across the state that aim to bring attention to this issue. One such event is called Bags for Nat, a memorial fundraiser for a woman who was murdered by her live-in boyfriend after enduring an abusive relationship.
Domestic abuse is a serious issue and one that Minnesota takes very seriously, which is reflected in its laws. Here’s what you need to know about domestic abuse in Minnesota and what can be expected if you ever find yourself accused of this crime.
Domestic Abuse: What Is It?
When domestic abuse occurs in a relationship, it is usually characterized by a pattern of behavior that is used to maintain or gain power over or to control another person. Domestic abuse can be physical, but it can also be emotional, psychological, or sexual.
Basically, actions or threats of actions that put another person in fear for their safety can be defined as domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse doesn’t simply happen in romantic relationships, either. It can occur between household members and family – all of which can result in criminal penalties.
What Sort of Crimes Are Considered Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is an umbrella term for different types of offenses that take place between clearly defined individuals in the household or in the family. Assault is the most prevalent domestic abuse crime, but terroristic threats, stalking, strangulation, and criminal sexual assault can also fall under the domestic abuse umbrella.
A crime is considered a crime of domestic violence if intentional harm or fear of physical harm was perpetrated against household or family members, including:
- Current and former spouses
- Current and former roommates
- Those with whom you share a child
- Children and parents
- Those related to you by blood
- Anyone with whom you may be expecting a child
- Those in sexual or significant romantic relationships
The Penalties for Domestic Abuse-Related Offenses
There are various criminal charges that can result from an incident of domestic abuse. The specifics depend on the risk or harm involved and the circumstances surrounding the crime.
Those who have previously been convicted of domestic abuse may also be subject to more significant penalties by the court.
In general, you can expect a few different types of penalties. They are:
Misdemeanor or Gross Misdemeanor
If you are charged with a crime that is a misdemeanor, then you can face up to three months in jail and fines of $1,000. A gross misdemeanor is reserved for those who have convictions within the past decade and carry harsher penalties, including up to 12 months in jail and fines of $3,000.
Felony charges are often sought by prosecutors if you have prior convictions, weapons were involved in the commission of the crime, or if death resulted. For those with prior convictions, up to five years behind bars can be sentenced. If weapons or bodily harm were involved, the penalties can be as many as 20 years in prison.
Finally, for cases involving the death of another, first- or second-degree murder charges can be filed against you and, if found guilty, you can face up to life in prison.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is 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 named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.