2020 has been quite the year. Between a pandemic, stay at home orders, growing distrust in police, nationwide protests, and surges in violent crime in Minnesota, it has literally been a year for the history books.
In fact, in Minnesota, the violent crime rate has soared. Phone calls to 911 about gunshots heard on the streets of Minneapolis have doubled from this same time last year according to the Star Tribune.
Violent crime has seen such an increase that the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota as well at the ATF, FBI, and Secret Service are working together with the police to help put a stop to it.
More than perhaps any other type of crime, violent crimes have the potential to impact the lives of both the victim and the perpetrator significantly. That’s why penalties for these crimes are often more severe.
Convictions most often result in significant prison time, a serious criminal record, and expensive fines. So then, what constitutes a violent crime in Minnesota? Here’s what you need to know.
What Minnesota Considers a Violent Crime
In Minnesota, violent crimes are often automatically charged as felonies. The penalties vary depending on the seriousness of the allegations as well as any injuries to the victim that may have occurred as a result. Even first-time offenders can face harsh penalties for violent crimes.
In Minnesota, violent crimes include:
- Rape and sexual assault
- Stalking and harassment
- Terroristic threats
- Aggravated robbery
- Weapons offenses
- Child neglect or abuse
- False imprisonment and kidnapping
- Disorderly conduct
How Penalties for Violent Crimes Work in Minnesota
As mentioned, if you are found guilty of violent crime in Minnesota, then the penalties faced will be a reflection of the seriousness of the crimes and the circumstances specific to the case.
There are circumstances surrounding a given violent crime that can “aggravate” an initial charge, which means increased punitive measures. Some of the factors that can increase punishments include:
- The victim was a minor
- Severe bodily harm was caused
- A deadly weapon was used in the crime
These are only a few examples of factors that can influence a case. Since no two violent crimes are treated alike, a variety of penalties could be faced upon conviction.
Common Penalties for Violent Crime Convictions
In most cases of violent crimes, someone can face years in prison, probation, payment of restitution of the victims, or associated fines. A few examples of possible penalties include:
- Life in prison for first-degree murder
- Up to 40 years in prison for assault and manslaughter
- Counseling or therapy requirements
- Community service
A person convicted of violent crime also has a criminal record which can make it impossible to legally own a firearm in the future and could even impact potential employment opportunities and housing.
Violent Crime Defense
Your defense strategy is crucial in successfully fighting violent crime charges. Accessing the experience of someone who understands how to navigate the criminal court system in Minnesota is one of the most important aspects of that success.
Violent crime prosecution is a complex legal situation. Even very small pieces of evidence can make a huge difference in the prosecution of the case either for or against the defendant. The prosecution normally uses all the evidence they have to secure a conviction and the severest penalty allowed under the law.
A defense can be mounted that can help the defendant to make the best case in court. For anyone facing violent crime charges in Minnesota, the situation is serious. It’s important to understand your legal rights as well as what is at stake in your ongoing legal battle.
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.