In Minnesota, domestic violence charges are usually charged as assault. This may be confusing to some people, but the law is set up in such a way as to make sure the punishment fits the crime.
That’s why there are five separate charges of assault in Minnesota. The law understands that not all domestic violence cases are physically violent – they can be verbal as well. Putting anyone in your family in danger through certain behaviors can end up in assault charges.
Your particular situation has a big influence on the case.
Here is what you need to know about domestic violence charges in the state and the five degrees of assault that can be charged in a domestic violence case.
Domestic Violence: What Is It?
Domestic violence in Minnesota encompasses abusive behavior that establishes a pattern of control, abuse, and power over someone who is or who has been an intimate partner. Often, domestic violence includes crimes such as assault, battery, intimidation, stalking, and sexual assault. In most cases, domestic violence will be charged as assault for acts like physical abuse, injuring pets, threatening to hurt someone, and forcing the use of alcohol or drugs.
Different Degrees of Assault in Minnesota
In Minnesota, assault charges are usually ranked in one of five degrees based on the severity of the circumstances surrounding the crime. These five degrees are:
First Degree Assault
The most severe charge of assault is typically charged when great bodily harm has been done to the victim.
If found guilty of this level of assault, you can face up to 20 years of imprisonment and be responsible for fines of as much as $30,000.
Second Degree Assault
This is a serious assault charge, as well, but not as serious as first-degree assault. This degree is typically charged when there has been substantial bodily harm or a weapon considered to be dangerous was used in the commission of the crime.
If you are convicted of this degree of assault, then you can face up to seven years behind bars and be made to pay fines of as much as $14,000.
Third Degree Assault
This level of assault typically includes acts that have resulted in substantial bodily harm being done to the victim – or in cases where a minor is the victim of the assault. If you are found guilty of this crime, then you face as many as five years in prison and be responsible for fines of as much as $10,000.
Fourth Degree Assault
If you physically assault an officer of the law, firefighter, school official, transit operator, emergency medical personnel, or anyone else who is considered a peace officer, you commit fourth-degree assault.
It is punishable by up to three years in prison and fines of as much as $6,000.
Fifth Degree Assault
Though this is the least severe assault charge, it’s still not something you want to face. It is often charged in cases where an action puts a victim in fear of their safety from bodily harm or death. A first offense is usually a misdemeanor, but it can be elevated to a felony if your criminal history includes other fifth-degree assault charges.
This degree is punishable by up to 12 months of incarceration and fines of as much as $3,000.
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.