Under Minnesota law, assault is defined as the intentional infliction of physical harm or the creation of reasonable fear of physical harm. Even if the victim is not physically harmed, creating the fear of imminent bodily harm is a punishable act of assault under the law. To establish assault, no physical contact between the perpetrator and victim is required.
Assault is a crime of violence against another individual. The law categorizes assault cases as either simple assault or aggravated assault. The distinction between the two categories is based on the severity of the victim’s injuries and the use of a lethal weapon by the offender. The lesser offense of simple assault is classified as a misdemeanor, while the more serious offense of aggravated assault is classified as a felony and carries harsher fines and penalties.
Simple assault is the intentional infliction of bodily harm, the attempt to inflict bodily harm, or the incitement of fear of bodily harm against another person. Simple assault offenses include slapping, pushing, or shoving, raising a clenched fist, making verbal threats of bodily harm, applying physical force, and hitting with an object that can cause bodily harm.
The intent to cause bodily harm with the use of a deadly weapon, such as a knife, gun, baseball bat, motor vehicle, flammable substance, or any other object that could cause severe injuries or death, is defined as aggravated assault. When significant bodily harm is caused, assault becomes a felony. This includes injuries such as lacerations and head trauma. he offenses that constitute aggravated assault include robbery, burglary, sexual assault, and rape. These are felonies carrying severe penalties, including up to twenty years in prison.
Charges of Assault in Minnesota
In Minnesota, there are multiple degrees of criminal assault, ranging from first degree to fifth degree, based on physical injuries, severity of physical injuries, and use of a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime. The first degree is the most serious, while the fifth degree is the least.
The most serious assault charges involve the first degree. Assault of the first degree is any act that causes great bodily harm to another person, such as disfigurement, amputation, physical impairment, or an increased risk of death. A conviction for assault in the first degree can result in fines of up to $30,000 and up to 20 years in prison.
Second-degree assault charges typically involve the possession or use of a deadly weapon. If there are no injuries, a conviction for second-degree assault can result in fines of up to $14,000 and up to seven years in prison. If the use of the weapon results in serious bodily harm, the fines may be increased to $20,000 and the maximum prison sentence may be increased to 10 years.
Charges of third-degree assault include crimes against a minor (under the age of 18) or a history of abuse against young children. A conviction for causing serious bodily harm can result in fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 5 years.
Fourth-degree assault charges are classified as misdemeanors. A conviction may result in fines of up to $3,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. If the charge is upgraded to a felony, fines may be increased to $6,000 and jail time to a maximum of three years.
Assault charges of the fifth degree are also misdemeanors. A conviction may result in fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 90 days. Notably, charges of fifth-degree assault are the least serious, and actual physical assault is not required for guilt. The court deems an attempt to instill fear of bodily harm sufficient for conviction.
In Minnesota, assault is a serious criminal offense. Without a criminal defense assault attorney, an assault conviction, even for a fifth-degree misdemeanor, can have severe consequences for the offender’s future.
In addition to hefty fines and jail time, a record of an assault conviction can affect a person’s housing options, employment opportunities, financial standing, ability to open bank accounts and credit cards, and other aspects of life that most people take for granted. Employers in Minnesota have the legal right to terminate employees who have been convicted of misdemeanor or felony assault.
Discuss Your Minnesota Assault Charges with an Attorney
If you have been charged with assault, you should seek legal representation immediately. If convicted, you may be forced to live with the consequences forever. Ryan Garry’s attorneys understand what is at stake in your case, and we are ready to assist you in fighting back. Call immediately for a free consultation.