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

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.