Assault charges in Minnesota can carry significant consequences, some of which can be detrimental to the offender’s future if convicted. Penalties for assault in Minnesota are some of the toughest in the nation and can range from a short jail term and small fine to up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $30,000, depending on the level of severity of the crime. An experienced Minneapolis assault lawyer who is familiar with the court system can help alleged offenders understand what types of penalties they may be facing and what options may be available.
Various Degrees of Assault in Minnesota
In the state of Minnesota, assault is an act that is completed with the intent to cause injury or imminent fear of injury to another person. The act may be committed directly (by making physical contact) or indirectly (by adding something to a person’s food or drink). There are numerous degrees of criminal assault in the state, and the level of charges depends upon whether or not injury actually occurred and the severity of any injuries that were inflicted.
- First Degree Assault: The most serious of all assault charges in Minnesota, a first degree assault is an act that causes great bodily harm to another person. Causing great bodily harm is defined as an act that results in disfigurement, loss of use, or putting the person at risk of death. A conviction can result in the offender serving up to 20 years in prison and facing up to $30,000 in fines.
- Second Degree Assault: An offender who is convicted of second degree assault, an assault that involves the use of a dangerous weapon can face up to 7 years in prison and $14,000 in fines. If the use of the weapon results in substantial bodily harm, prison time can be extended to up to 10 years and fines can be increased to $20,000.
- Third Degree Assault: Assault against a minor where a history of abuse exists, against a child under the age of 4, or that results in substantial bodily harm is third degree assault. An offender who is convicted of third degree assault can face up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Fourth Degree Assault: Misdemeanor fourth degree assault charges can result in penalties that include jail time of up to 1 year and a maximum of $3,000 in fines. If the charge is escalated to a felony jail time can be increased to a maximum of 3 years and the offender can face up to $6,000 in fines. An experienced Minneapolis assault lawyer can help offenders determine the classification of the fourth degree assault charges they may be facing.
- Fifth Degree Assault: An offender who is convicted of the misdemeanor charge of assault in the fifth degree can face up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. It is important to remember that successfully completing the act of assault is not required. A mere attempt to cause fear or bodily harm is often sufficient for a conviction.
Not everyone who is charged with criminal assault in Minnesota will face the maximum fines and/ or imprisonment. An experienced Minneapolis assault lawyer can help offenders achieve reduced charges, receive lesser penalties, and can sometimes even get the charges completely dismissed.
Non-Criminal Consequences of an Assault Conviction
It is vital for an alleged offender to contact an assault lawyer who is familiar with the laws in Minnesota because a conviction can follow the offender for life. An assault conviction can have an adverse effect on various aspects of the offender’s life in addition to the substantial fines and incarceration that a convicted offender faces. A criminal assault conviction can result in:
- Excessive Stress: An assault charge can cause a significant amount of stress on the accused, as well as on family members and friends. The embarrassment of being charged with assault, the inconvenience of appearing in court, and not knowing what to expect when it comes to fines and possible jail time are just a few factors that can cause extra stress. If the charge results in a conviction, stress levels often escalate due to the severity of the penalties one must face.
- Employment: An assault conviction can not only show up on a background check and be required to be disclosed on new job applications, but in the state of Minnesota employers have the right to fire employees who are convicted of assault.
- Assessments: Many judges will order a convicted offender to complete an anger assessment. If alcohol or drugs were involved during the offense, chemical assessments are often ordered as well. Depending upon the outcome of such assessments, the offender may be ordered to complete counseling or rehabilitation programs that are not only time consuming but expensive as well.