Unfortunately, domestic violence is more pervasive than it should be. It touches the lives of people no matter their status.
In fact, recently, a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings was arrested for domestic violence. After turning himself in, he faces third-degree felony family assault charges in Texas, where the violence took place.
Even though it happens far more than we’d like, law enforcement and the criminal justice system don’t sweep frequent domestic violence charges under the rug. If convicted of domestic violence, several penalties can impact a person’s life for years to come.
Here’s what you need to know about domestic assault in Minnesota and the associated consequences.
What Is Domestic Assault in Minnesota?
Under Minnesota law, domestic assault occurs when someone deliberately causes or attempts to cause bodily harm to another person. This encompasses acts that put another person in fear that bodily harm or death could occur.
Either way, when perpetrated against a household or family member, it’s considered domestic assault.
Who is considered a household or family member? That’s defined by the law as:
- Former spouses
- Anyone related to you by blood
- Someone with whom you cohabitate or have cohabitated
- Any two people engaged in a sexual or significant relationship
- Any two people that have a child together
- Pregnant women, plus the father of the child/children
MN Penalties for Domestic Assault
If you are found guilty of domestic assault, then it’ll likely amount to a misdemeanor charge. The penalty comprises three months in jail and fines of $1,000. However, if you have prior domestic assault or domestic violence convictions, the penalties can become much harsher.
Enhanced penalties apply foor prior convictions of domestic violence or an offense that qualifies as “domestic violence-related” – violation of a protection order, stalking, criminal sexual conduct, and terroristic threats, to name a few.
The enhancements stick even more if you harm the same victim in current and past crimes, or if you’ve garnered a conviction in the past three years.
Those previously convicted can be charged with a gross misdemeanor, resulting in up to 12 months of prison and $3,000 maximum fines.
If convicted two or more times, the charges climbs to a felony, which can result in up to five years behind bars and fines as high as $10,000.
If strangulation forms part of the domestic assault, it’s also a felony charge with the same penalties as above.
If you learn of a warrant for your arrest on domestic assault charges, it may be in your best interest to turn yourself in. You should consult an attorney first.
If you are convicted of domestic assault, you may be subject to other restrictions.
A protective order can bar you from any form of contact or coming within a certain distance of the victim. If you violate that order, even more criminal charges pile up.
You may also be required to relinquish ownership of firearms for three or more years as a consequence of conviction. Violation of that mandate invokes a gross misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and fines within a $3,000 ceiling.
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.