If you’ve been charged with domestic abuse or violence in Minnesota, it’s crucial to get help as soon as you can.
There are plenty of resources for addressing abusive tendencies in this state, and it’s something you should do not only for yourself and your family but for the success of your court case too.
Here’s what you need to know about getting help, the laws and penalties of domestic abuse in Minnesota, and when it may be too late to get help to have an impact on your case.
Domestic Abuse: What Is It?
Domestic abuse occurs when one person is assaulted and physically harmed who is a family member or member of the household of the person committing the act of violence.
It should be noted that causing people to fear they will be harmed physically is also considered domestic abuse in Minnesota. So making threats or attempting to interfere with someone making an emergency call for help are criminal acts as well.
Who Can Be a Domestic Offender?
A preconceived notion about who can be a domestic abuser does exist, but the truth is that it can be anyone. Both men and women can be charged with domestic abuse.
They only need to be perpetrating violence or threatening violence to a partner, family member, or someone in the household to be charged.
In Minnesota, a person is considered family or a part of the household when they are:
- A spouse
- A former spouse
- Those with whom a child is shared
- Anyone in a serious romantic or sexual relationship with the accused
- Children of relatives by blood
- Roommates or former roommates
Minnesota Penalties for Domestic Abuse
Those involved in domestic abuse can be charged with domestic assault. There are a few factors that can influence what level of crime they are charged with.
In general, domestic assault starts as a misdemeanor charge that is punishable by up to three months in prison and fines up to $1,000.
If a person has prior domestic assault or abuse convictions, then they may face much harsher penalties, even if they were not convicted in Minnesota.
Gross Misdemeanor Charges
Anyone who has been charged with the following crimes in the last 10 years with the same victim or with anyone in the past three years may face a gross misdemeanor charge:
- Domestic assault
- Terroristic threats
- Violation of a protection order or restraining order
- Interfering with an emergency call
- Criminal sexual conduct
If convicted, they may face punitive measures of up to one year in jail and fines reaching $3,000.
Those convicted of two or more crimes related to domestic violence can be charged with a felony. This carries with it a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and fines of $10,000. And when strangulation is involved in the offense, then it is also charged as a felony and can result in up to three years in prison and fines of $5,000.
Getting Help in Minnesota
It’s important to seek help for domestic abuse if you’re facing a charge. This can show the court that you are serious about rehabilitation and committed to stopping the cycle of abuse that may be occurring in your relationships with intimate partners or family.
There are domestic abuse support groups that can be accessed as well as counseling. These options can help you to discover more effective coping mechanisms and help you to work on controlling anger so it doesn’t get out of control.
Once you face a judge and are convicted, it may be too late to take these steps on your own and improve the outcome of your case.
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. 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.