Minneapolis Assault Lawyers
Minnesota defines assault expansively to include more than an actual physical assault. To be considered a criminal assault, it has to fall into one of the following two kinds of acts:
1: An act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or
2. The intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.
The following acts are typically covered by this definition: a fight, shoving, pushing, even just grabbing an arm, intimidation or threats, and verbally abusive behavior.
Types of Assault Charges
There are varying degrees of assault charges and the level of offense can range from misdemeanor to felony, depending on the act and harm to the alleged victim.
First Degree Assault
First degree assault occurs when the assault results in great bodily harm to the alleged victim, which means an injury that creates a high probability of death, causes serious permanent disfigurement, or causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any limb or organ. First degree assault also occurs when the actor assaults a police officer, prosecuting attorney, judge, or correctional employee by using or attempting to use deadly force.
This is a felony-level offense and carries a maximum penalty of 20-years and/or a fine of $30,000.
Second Degree Assault
Second degree assault occurs when the assault involves the use of a dangerous weapon. Again, this is a felony-level offense and carries a maximum penalty of 7-years and/or a fine of $14,000. But, if the assault results in substantial bodily harm to the victim (such as a broken bone), the maximum penalty is 10-years and/or a fine of $20,000.
Third Degree Assault
Third degree assault is an assault that causes substantial bodily harm, like a broken bone. This is another felony-level offense. The maximum penalty is 5-years and/or a fine of $10,000. In addition, a third-degree assault occurs if there is a past-pattern of child abuse and the alleged victim is a minor, and when the alleged victim is under the age of four.
Fourth Degree Assault
Fourth degree assault is when the assault is committed against a certain class of individuals, including, but not limited to the following: police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, correctional employees, prosecuting attorneys, judges, probation officers, secure treatment facility employees, a school official while engaged in his/her duties, and vulnerable adults. Fourth degree assault also occurs if the act was motivated by bias, such as race, color, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Most of the time, this is a gross misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 1-year in jail and/or a fine of $3,000. But, if there is demonstrable harm to the alleged victim, it may be a felony.
Fifth Degree Assault
Fifth degree assault is basically the common fight. It can also involve intimidation or threats. It is a misdemeanor-level offense, carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000. A simple assault can be enhanced to a gross misdemeanor when the offense involves the same alleged victim of a previous domestic violence-related offense (which can actually just be another assault conviction) that occurred within 10 years of the current alleged crime.
There are a number of defenses possibility available, all of which are dependent upon the circumstances of the case. This is why it is critical to hire a Minnesota assault attorney that will develop a personalized legal strategy, tailored to your case.
One of the more common defenses is self-defense, where the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and you only used enough reasonable force to stop the aggressor. One significant benefit of the self-defense claim is that the State carries the burden of proving you were not acting in self-defense.
Other common defenses include, but are not limited to, defense of others (similar to self-defense, but you are protecting a family member of close friend), defense of property, consent, necessity, intoxication, and alibi.
Beyond raising these common defenses, any good Minnesota assault attorney will investigate the allegations, hire an investigator if necessary, and figure out just how compliant the complaining victim is to the State. If witnesses are unavailable, the State’s case becomes exponentially weaker.
North Star Criminal Defense – Proven Success in Fighting Assault Charges
The Minnesota assault lawyers at North Star Criminal Defense have over 30 combined years of successfully defending against assault charges of all degrees and throughout multiple jurisdictions, including federal courts in multiple states. We know the law, the defenses, and the strategy necessary in order to obtain resolutions that avoid convictions and jail time. We have helped countless clients overcome these debilitating charges and get back on their feet. If you have been accused of any type of drug crime, you need to contact us right away.