Assault is a crime that people may think they understand, but when they face assault charges in Minnesota quickly realize it is a crime way more complicated than they may have imagined.
Why is assault so complex? Because in Minnesota, there are five distinct degrees of assault. Each is considered a serious offense, but the consequences of each vary quite a bit. The likelihood is that they will all have a significant impact on your life in the years to come.
Here is what you need to know about an assault in Minnesota, including an overview of the five degrees of assault and the consequences that can be faced at each degree if you are found guilty.
What Is Assault In Minnesota?
Assault in Minnesota is an act that a person commits, intending to cause someone else to fear for their life or bodily harm. It also encompasses acts carried out intentionally to attempt to inflict or inflict bodily harm on another person.
Different Degrees of Minnesota Assault
As previously mentioned, there are five degrees of assault in Minnesota. They are:
It is a crime of the first degree when a person is assaulted with the intent to cause great bodily harm to another person. The law further defines bodily harm as an injury that produces a high likelihood of death, or severe disfigurement or impairment can arise. If you use a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime or commit the offense against a judge, officer, or correctional employee while on duty, you also face first-degree assault charges.
If you are found guilty of first-degree assault, you can go to prison for up to 20 years and be required to pay up to $30,000 in fines.
Second-degree assault in Minnesota is assaulting a person with a dangerous weapon. How severe the penalty depends on the injuries sustained by the victim, but in most cases, you can face up to seven years behind bars and pay up to $14,000 in fines.
The penalty can be raised to 10 years with $20,000 in fines if substantial bodily harm occurs. Substantial damage is inflicting severe or temporary impairment or loss of a bodily function or organ.
Assault in the third degree is defined as an assault that causes substantial bodily harm. But it can also be charged in cases where a minor is a victim, physical injury to their eyes, head, or neck occurs, or they have multiple bruises.
A conviction for third-degree assault can result in a prison term of as many as five years and fines of as much as $10,000.
Fourth-degree assault can be either a gross misdemeanor or a felony in Minnesota. It is charged as a gross misdemeanor in cases where an assault against a public servant that interferes with their duties takes place. This can include school officials, postal workers, public employees, peace officers, and transit workers, to name a few. If convicted of a gross misdemeanor, you face up to 12 months of incarceration and fines of $3,000.
A felony is charged for fourth-degree assault when demonstrable bodily harm is done to another or bodily fluids are thrown on someone in the line of duty. If convicted of a felony, you can face a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of $6,000.
Fifth-degree assault is simple assault. In most cases, it is a misdemeanor offense that can send you to jail for up to three months.
In some circumstances, it is considered a gross misdemeanor, such as if you have a previous conviction for assault on the same victim in the last ten years. But it can also be a felony if three assaults are committed on the same person within the previous ten years. If convicted of fifth-degree felony assault, you can go to prison for up to five years and face fines of $10,000.
As you can see, assault charges are anything but serious. Even if you are facing misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor charges, you will still have a criminal record that can cause problems for you down the road. That’s why it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney when facing charges of assault in any degree, so you can ensure your rights and your future are protected.
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 has been named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser 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.