What Happens After You Get Arrested for Assault or Domestic Violence?

After you get arrested for assault or domestic violence, you will undergo the usual arrest procedures. These procedures include taking your photo, taking your fingerprint, performing a background check, and getting placed in jail usually until the next day. Police officers will investigate the incident and prepare a police report. Next, a prosecutor will examine the police report and determine whether to press criminal charges against you. 

You will appear before a judge for arraignment if you are charged with a crime. You will plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest at the arraignment. The judge will determine the bail amount, conditions of release, and new court dates at the arraignment. You will appear in court for a pretrial on the date set at the arraignment. Your case will proceed to trial if you enter a not-guilty plea. 

What Happens After You Get Arrested for Assault or Domestic Violence?

Are you facing an arrest for assault or domestic violence in Minnesota? If so, you need to know what happens after you get arrested for assault or domestic violence. That way, you will know what to expect and how to conduct yourself. 

Arrest Processing 

After the arrest, the police officers will process your arrest and hold you in jail. They might ask for your name, contact information, and other personal information. They might also capture your picture and fingerprint and conduct a background check. 

Cooperate with the police during this process, but do not disclose any information that might implicate you. Invoke your right to a lawyer if the police insist on questioning you on the facts of your case. 

The police will investigate the incident, collect more information, and compile a police report. The prosecution office will evaluate the police report to determine whether to file domestic assault charges against you. 


You will be arraigned before a judge if the prosecutor decides to charge you. This arraignment is your first court appearance. During this appearance, you will be informed about the charges you are facing, your right to legal representation, and other constitutional rights. You will also get a chance to enter a plea at the arraignment. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest, depending on the advice provided by your lawyer. 

The judge then decides the bail amount, conditions of release, and new court dates. No contact order is one of the most common conditions of release that the judge may issue. This order bars you from contacting the alleged victim in person, by phone, through written communication, or by a third party. 

Pre-Trial Hearing 

A pretrial hearing is your next court appearance. It usually happens on the next set court date. It presents an opportunity to address any issues before the case starts. Parties involved can exchange information for effective trial preparation. They can also reach an agreement and settle the case without proceeding to trial. A pretrial hearing allows you to challenge evidence compiled by the prosecutor if you believe it was obtained illegally. 

Rasmussen Hearing 

This hearing happens if you choose to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecutor. The prosecutor will get a chance to prove the evidence was lawfully collected. You will also get a chance to show how your constitutional rights were contravened during evidence collection. 


The case will proceed to trial if the prosecutor still has sufficient evidence to charge you with assault or domestic violence. A trial can be either a jury or bench trial. In a jury trial, a group of six individuals will determine your guilt. In a bench trial, a judge will determine your guilt. 

You have a constitutional right to choose your preferred trial. A St. Paul spousal abuse defense attorney can help you choose the best type of trial for your situation and mount an aggressive defense against your charges. 

What Is Domestic Violence?

Minnesota domestic assault statutes define domestic violence as intentionally causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to a family or household member. Intentionally subjecting a family or household member to fear of bodily injury or death also qualifies as domestic violence. Domestic violence also includes physical assault, sexual assault, intimidation, and emotional abuse. Addiction makes a loved one dangerous by increasing the risk for violent behavior. 

Minnesota domestic assault statutes recognize the following as family or household members:

  • Children 
  • Parents 
  • Current and former spouses 
  • Current and former roommates 
  • A person with whom you have blood or marital relationship 
  • A person with whom you have a romantic or sexual relationship 
  • A pregnant woman and the alleged father of the unborn child 

What Are the Potential Penalties for Assault or Domestic Violence?

Under Minnesota law, domestic assault or violence is generally a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offense. It can, however, be elevated to a felony if certain aggravating factors exist in the case. 

Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Penalties 

A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction carries up to 3 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines, or both. A misdemeanor domestic violence offense becomes a gross misdemeanor if you have a prior domestic violence conviction within the last 10 years. A gross misdemeanor domestic violence conviction carries up to a year in prison or up to $3,000 in fines, or both. 

Felony Penalties 

You might face domestic violence felony charges if the following aggravating circumstances exist in your case: 

Prior convictions

You will face felony charges if you have two previous domestic violence convictions within the last ten years. In this case, a conviction can carry a prison sentence of up to five years. 

Bodily Harm or Weapons 

Prosecutors usually charge a domestic violence offense that causes significant bodily harm or involves use of weapons as a felony. Domestic violence that causes significant bodily harm attracts a prison time of up to five years. The punishment for domestic violence that involves the use of a dangerous weapon is up to 10 years in prison. 


Prosecutors charge domestic assault or violence incident that causes the death of the alleged victim as a felony. In this case, the defendant might face murder charges in the first or second degree. A conviction of a first- or second-degree murder can lead to life imprisonment. 

Knowing what happens after you get arrested for assault or domestic violence and working with an attorney may help you protect your rights, and avoid the possible consequences a conviction of these charges might bring.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-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. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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

People facing criminal charges in Minnesota often ask, “Can you defend yourself in court?” You can represent yourself in court when charged with a crime. Self-representation, however, is not typically in the accused's best interests, even if courts allow it.
Parents whose children have been arrested or accused of committing a heinous crime might wonder, “Can a minor be charged with a felony?” A minor aged 14 years or older but below 18 years may face felony charges in Minnesota.
People accused of or under investigation for assault might ask, “What are the charges for assault?” Minnesota has five levels of assault charges. First-degree assault is the most serious offense, and a conviction often results in the most severe penalties, like long prison time and hefty fines.