Assault is a serious crime in Minnesota. In fact, the state is one of the toughest in the nation when it comes to assault crimes. If found guilty, the penalties can be steep, depending on the severity of the crime.
Here’s what you need to know about the six different types of assault in Minnesota, their penalties, and how to draw the line between a misdemeanor and felony assault.
Simple Assault in Minnesota
It is a misdemeanor, defined as an act to intentionally inflict or attempt to inflict injury to another—or an act perpetrated with the intent to cause fear of injury or death.
Fifth Degree Assault
This is a misdemeanor in most cases, although it can be elevated to a gross misdemeanor or felony if it’s a second assault against the same victim.
In fifth-degree assault, intent needs to be present to cause fear of injury/death or to intentionally inflict or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.
Fourth Degree Assault
This is similar to fifth-degree assault, except that it is perpetrated against a certain class of people: school officials, police officers, or firefighters.
Third Degree Assault
This degree involves substantial bodily harm to another person. On its own, it is punished by as many as five years in prison and fines of as much as $10,000.
This degree of assault applies if it’s perpetrated against a minor with whom the defendant has a history of assault. In those cases, it can result in five years behind bars with $10,000 in fines.
Finally, if the victim of the assault is under age four, and great bodily harm was done, it is charged as a third-degree assault with corresponding penalties.
Second Degree Assault
Second-degree assault is perpetrated when the crime involves a dangerous weapon. A conviction can result in as much as seven years in prison and fines of as much as $14,000.
This level of assault can also be charged if a dangerous weapon was used, plus substantial bodily harm was inflicted. In that case, a conviction can result in as much as 10 years in prison and fines of $20,000.
First Degree Assault
This is the most serious level of assault. It involves great bodily harm of another person or using deadly force against an attorney, judge, correctional employee, or police officer.
If convicted, you can face as many as 20 years in prison and fines up to $30,000.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
In most cases, misdemeanor crimes will land you in jail for a year or less, while felonies can send you to prison for several years. As with many other crimes, the difference between a misdemeanor and felony assault is the damage done.
In misdemeanor assault, you can be convicted simply for threatening another person or making them fear for their safety. But in most felony assault cases, actual physical damage must occur to be charged and convicted on that level.
To put it simply, the penalties for assault depend on the circumstances surrounding the crime.
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.