Criminal Defense Representation
Minnesota law defines assault in two ways. The first way is when you try to cause fear in someone. They must believe that you are going to cause them bodily harm. The other type of assault is when you actually cause harm to another person, intentionally. The second is actually a battery but Minnesota has codified this type of conduct into the assault statutes.
Degrees of Assault in Minnesota
Minnesota law divides assault into several degrees, each with their own consequences.
A fifth-degree assault is one of the most common types of assault charges. To be considered a fifth-degree assault, you put enough fear into someone that they truly thought that you were going to hurt them. You might also be arrested for a fifth-degree assault if you actually did harm them!
To be considered a fourth-degree assault, you would have had to threaten or harm a public servant during the performance of his/her duties. This includes school officials, as well as cops, firemen, and other public officials.
A third-degree assault means that you have caused substantial bodily harm to your victim. Broken bones and disabilities (even temporary ones) will make your conduct a third-degree assault. A repeat pattern of assault on a minor child, can also lead such a charge.
If you are looking at a second-degree assault, you are looking at some serious charges. In order to make your assault a second-degree, you must use a dangerous weapon. This doesn’t just mean guns. Knives, wood, and even cars could make your alleged assault rise to the level of a second-degree charge.
If you are charged with a first-degree assault, you are looking at the worst type. To be considered a first-degree assault, you must have caused great bodily harm. This means that if you didn’t kill someone, you were close to it. Any assault using or attempting to use deadly force against a police officer, judge, prosecutor, or correctional employee will lead to a first-degree assault charge.
Consequences of Assault in Minnesota
Each degree of assault has consequences. As the degrees increase, the punishment becomes harsher.
A fifth-degree assault is usually considered a misdemeanor, though you may be looking at a gross misdemeanor charge or even a felony charge if you go after the same person again!
With a fifth-degree conviction, you are looking at spending up to ninety days in jail, along with paying fines up to a thousand bucks.
A fourth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor, meaning that you could spend up to a year behind bars (i.e. jail not prison). Your fine could reach up to three thousand bucks.
A third-degree assault is a felony. You could be looking at spending the next five years in prison and paying fines up to ten thousand bucks.
A second-degree assault is also a felony. This means that you are looking at up to twenty years in prison, with fines up to ten thousand bucks.
With a first-degree assault, you could spend the next twenty years of your life in prison. You are also looking at fines that could go up to thirty thousand bucks.
If you are facing assault charges (of any degree), you need to hire an experienced lawyer right away! He or she will talk to you about your case and your options so that you can decide the best way to help you through this difficult time.
If your lawyer is unable to help you win your case, he or she will fight hard to get you a lesser charge. A fifth-degree assault conviction is a lot easier to handle than a third-degree one! It could be the difference between several years and several months in confinement.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs. We will fight for you so that one mistake doesn’t have to ruin the rest of your life.