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Minneapolis Assault Lawyer

Serving the Accused of Assault Crimes Across Minnesota

In Minnesota, assault involves engaging in conduct that causes fear in or inflicts physical harm on another. If the state has charged you with assault or domestic assault, you will likely face severe, life-altering penalties. Our Minneapolis assault attorneys at Brockton D. Hunter P.A. are skilled in defending assault cases. Our Minneapolis assault lawyers have fought and won assault cases throughout Minnesota.​​

To schedule a free consultation, call us at (612) 979-1112 or contact us online today.

What Are the Degrees of Assault in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, assault charges have five classifications ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.

They are as follows:

1st Degree Assault MN

First Degree Assault is the most serious level of Assault under Minnesota law. This type of assault only occurs in a few narrowly defined scenarios, including when the assault includes death or impairment, or deadly force is used on an officer.

First degree assault in Minnesota involves:

  1. The assault cause or created a high degree of likelihood for great bodily harm including permanent disfigurement, death or impairment.
  2. The assault used or attempted to use deadly force against a police officer or correctional employee while they were performing their duties.

According to Minnesota Statute 609.224, “serious bodily harm” is defined as an injury which causes substantial risk of death, or causes the disfigurement, loss, or loss of use of any bodily organ or member.

A conviction may be penalized by up to 20 years in prison and/or up to a $30,000 fine. Minnesota uses mandatory minimum sentencing for crimes of this type, and if the assault was of the second type (assault on a police officer or correctional officer) and you are convicted, the mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years. If you have no prior assault history, but your assault caused serious bodily harm, the mandatory minimum sentence is 74 months.

2nd Degree Assault MN

Second degree assault in Minnesota occurs when a person assaults another with a dangerous weapon. The offense carries a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and/or up to a $14,000 fine. If substantial bodily harm results, the sentence is up to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $20,000 fine.

3rd Degree Assault MN

A third degree assault charge in Minnesota can be triggered in three ways:

  1. Substantial bodily harm occurs.
  2. Assault of a minor (child abuse) and the offender has a history of abuse against the minor.
  3. Assault of a person under four years of age and bodily harm results.

All three offenses carry a prison sentence of up to 5 years and/or up to a $10,000 fine.

4th Degree Assault MN

In Minnesota, fourth degree assault involves acts committed against persons in certain occupations.

This crime concerns assaults against public officials, including:

  • Postal service employees,
  • Reserve officers,
  • School officials,
  • Firefighters,
  • Police officers, and
  • DNR employees.

The offense can be charged as a gross misdemeanor or felony. The sentences could be up to 3 years in prison and/or up to a $6,000 fine.

5th Degree Assault MN

Fifth degree assault in Minnesota can be a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or a felony.

  • Misdemeanor: A person intentionally causes another to fear immediate bodily harm or death or a person intentionally causes or tries to cause bodily harm to another.
  • Gross misdemeanor: An assault that occurs against the same victim within ten years of certain domestic violence offenses.
  • Felony: An assault that occurs against the same victim within ten years of two or more certain domestic violence offenses.

Does Someone Have to Show Actual Physical Injury for an Assault Charge to Be Made?

In Minnesota, a person could be charged with assault even if the alleged victim did not suffer physical injury.

In addition to listing intentionally inflicting bodily injury on another, the statute on fifth-degree assault provides that a person commits the offense when they:

  • Intend to make someone else fear immediate bodily harm or death; or
  • Attempt to cause bodily harm on another

If a person is accused of violating either of those two elements of the offense, they likely did not cause bodily injury to the alleged victim. Thus, the prosecutor does not have to prove that the individual subject to the offense suffered physical injury. They must, however, show that the alleged victim reasonably feared harm or that the alleged offender tried to cause harm.

What Factors Lead to an Aggravated Assault Charge?

Minnesota does not separate assaultive offenses into simple and aggravated. Instead, they are classified by degrees. The more severe the conduct, the higher the degree. Also, within each assault statute, aggravating factors, such as the degree of injury or the victim, can increase the offense's severity and, therefore, the level of charge and penalties a person faces.

The following examples demonstrate how certain aggravating factors increase the seriousness of assault:

  • Fifth-degree assault is generally charged as a misdemeanor. However, if the alleged offender committed the offense against the same person within 10 years of domestic-violence related offenses, it becomes a gross misdemeanor.
  • Fourth-degree assault is considered more serious than fifth-degree because the offense is committed upon persons in certain occupations, such as peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. In some situations, assault on these individuals is a gross misdemeanor. In others, such as when demonstrable bodily harm is caused or bodily fluids are thrown at the individual, the offense is a felony.
  • Third-degree assault is an offense that causes substantial bodily harm. If no other aggravating factors are present, the alleged offender faces a maximum of 5 years' imprisonment. In contrast, the maximum prison term for fourth-degree assault upon a peace officer is 3 years.
  • Second-degree assault involves the use of a dangerous weapon. This is a felony that carries up to 7 years in prison, which is 2 years longer than a third-degree offense. If substantial bodily harm was caused during the crime, the prison term increases by 3 years for a maximum of 10 years.
  • First-degree assault is considered the most serious offense, with a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years. That's almost triple the incarceration term for second-degree assault. Aggravating factors that increase the severity of first-degree assault include causing great bodily harm or using deadly force against a person in a certain occupation, such as a peace officer.

Federal Assault

Federal assault is generally governed by 18 U.S.C. § 113, and the sentence severity depends on the facts of each case. Assault with intent to commit murder, for example, carries imprisonment of up to 20 years. Assault by wounding another carries a sentence of a fine and/or up to 6 months in prison.

Common Mistakes People Make When Charged with Assault in Minnesota

When charged with assault in Minnesota, individuals often make mistakes that can severely impact the outcome of their case. Some of the most common errors include:

  • Not Taking the Charges Seriously: Assault charges are serious and can lead to significant consequences, including imprisonment and hefty fines. Underestimating the severity of the situation can lead to inadequate defense preparation.
  • Talking to Law Enforcement Without an Attorney: Many people think they can explain their way out of the charges, but anything they say can be used against them in court. Speaking to law enforcement without legal representation can jeopardize their defense.
  • Failing to Hire an Experienced Attorney: Attempting to navigate the complex legal system without a seasoned attorney often results in unfavorable outcomes. Experienced attorneys understand the nuances of assault laws and court procedures.
  • Ignoring Court Orders: Violating court orders, such as protective orders, can lead to additional charges and worsen the legal consequences.
  • Delaying Legal Action: Procrastinating in seeking legal advice or representation can result in missed opportunities to build a strong defense, such as collecting evidence or locating witnesses.
  • Posting on Social Media: Sharing information about the case or the incident on social media platforms can provide prosecution with additional evidence to use against the accused.
  • Not Understanding the Full Scope of Charges: Failing to comprehend the specific laws and potential penalties associated with their charges can hinder a defendant’s ability to form an effective defense strategy.
  • Assuming Plea Bargain Offers Are in Their Best Interest: Accepting a plea deal without consulting an attorney might seem like a quick resolution, but it can carry long-term implications that an individual might not fully understand.
  • Ignoring the Psychological Impact: Not addressing the mental and emotional toll of being charged with assault may affect an individual's ability to participate effectively in their defense.
  • Failing to Prepare for Court Appearances: Being unprepared for court hearings, both substantively and in presentation, can negatively impact a judge’s or jury’s perception.

How a Minneapolis Assault Attorney Can Help Avoid These Pitfalls

A Minneapolis assault attorney from Brockton D. Hunter P.A. can provide critical support in avoiding these common mistakes. Our expertise ensures that clients understand the gravity of the charges and the potential consequences. We will advise clients to remain silent when interacting with law enforcement and will represent them during interrogations and court proceedings.

By hiring an experienced attorney, clients benefit from tailored legal strategies that leverage the attorney's knowledge of assault laws and courtroom tactics. The attorney can help clients adhere to court orders, take swift legal action, and protect their online presence to avoid self-incrimination. They also educate clients on the intricacies of their charges and the implications of any plea deals offered.

Furthermore, legal representation can mitigate the psychological impact by providing reassurance and clear guidance through each step of the legal process. Ultimately, an assault attorney ensures that clients are prepared for every court appearance, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Retain Trusted Legal Representation for Your Case

At Brockton D. Hunter P.A., our Minneapolis assault lawyers are ready to go to battle for you. We know the adverse impacts a conviction can have on your life, and we will fight hard to protect your rights and freedom.

We will seek a favorable outcome on your behalf. Call us at (612) 979-1112 or submit an online contact form today.


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