Domestic assault is a serious crime – and anyone that is charged with it in Minnesota can face some serious ramifications.
Over the weekend of August 3, 2020, Winona County reported three felony domestic assaults responded to by police. That can give you some clue as to how prevalent this issue is.
So what does it mean to be charged with domestic assault in Minnesota? What penalties could you face as a result? Read on to find out.
How Minnesota Defines Domestic Assault
Domestic assault is defined in Minnesota as:
- Intentionally attempting to inflict or inflicting bodily harm to another person
- Committing an act that’s purpose is to place another person in fear of death or bodily harm
When the person who is assaulted is a member of the household or family, then it’s called domestic assault. This can include:
- Former spouses
- Those related by blood
- Those you have lived with or do currently live with
- Those in a significant sexual relationship with you
- Someone you share a child with
- A woman pregnant with your child
Minnesota Penalties for Domestic Assault
The penalties one can face for a domestic assault conviction are serious and grow even more serious with each conviction.
For a first-time domestic violence assault, misdemeanor domestic assault may be the penalty faced, but that depends on the seriousness of the factors in each individual case. For misdemeanor domestic assault, the penalty is up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000.
If charged as felony domestic assault, which is possible if there is strangulation or blocking of the airway of the victim, the penalty can be up to three years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
Second Offense and Beyond
If someone is charged with domestic assault for a second time, or third or fourth, then they can face very serious penalties. This is especially true if the domestic assault they were previously convicted of happened within the last 10 years.
Two qualified convictions in a ten-year period can result in a gross misdemeanor. A third can be charged as a felony. The state can pursue substantial jail time under these conditions and may also order therapy as well as no-contact orders for the victims.
The judge will decide what penalty is appropriate, but gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in prison and fines up to $3,000. For a felony conviction, penalties extend up to five years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Domestic Assault and Firearms in MN
When someone is found guilty of felony domestic assault because strangulation was involved, then they lose their right to own a firearm in Minnesota.
If they are caught in possession of a firearm when they’ve been prohibited, then a new offense can be charged separately and it may also violate the conditions of their probation, which is yet another charge.
Violation of this is a gross misdemeanor, which could tack on up to one year in prison and more fines up to $3,000.
Minnesota takes domestic assault very seriously. That’s why if you are charged with this crime, even for the first time, it’s important that you mount a robust defense in court.
To do that, you must understand what rights you have and how the law can help you to get fair treatment in court.
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.