When the 2nd Amendment Leads to 2nd Degree Assault Charges

The 2nd Amendment allows Americans to own firearms to protect themselves, but Minnesota’s self-defense laws impose a duty to retreat before an individual can use deadly force to protect themselves. This creates a gray area where reasonable force becomes subjective to each individual situation.

Understanding Reasonable Force

Reasonable force means that an individual is justified in applying a level of force that is appropriate for stopping a theft or assault. For example, if an intruder breaks into an individual’s home carrying a firearm, they may utilize a firearm to protect themselves. While Minnesota does not have a Castle Doctrine, individuals do not have a duty to retreat within their own home.

However, reasonable force can be subjective. If an intruder was not carrying a firearm but instead had a knife, then a prosecutor may pursue 2nd degree assault charges and claim that the homeowner used excessive force in ceasing the threat. Such situations have in the past and continue to happen in Minnesota.

Claiming Self-Defense

In order for an individual to claim self-defense, they must establish that they were not the aggressor in the situation and did not provoke the victim. They must also be able to establish that there was an imminent danger and that they had reason to believe that their life was in jeopardy. Finally, they must establish that there was no possibility to safely retreat from the situation prior to the use of deadly force. An assault lawyer in Minnesota can help individuals establish these facts and demonstrate to the court that the use of deadly force was necessary in order to protect life or property. This can be accomplished via eyewitness statements, examination of physical evidence, review of security camera footage, police reports, etc.

2nd Degree Assault Penalties in Minnesota

Individuals can be charged with 2nd degree assault if they use a firearm or other dangerous weapon that has the potential to cause great bodily harm or kill. These can include firearms, knives, baseball bats, and even fire. Individuals convicted of 2nd degree assault can face between 7-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $14,000. If the assault caused a death or substantial bodily harm, that fine can be up to $20,000. Finally, if the assault was against law enforcement professionals, the individual can face a sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.