Fraud Blocker

A Closer Look At Assault In MN

Assault Doesn't Have To Be Just Physical

Assault is an extremely common offense in Minnesota.That is because assault doesn’t just have to be physical, it can also be the use of words to put someone in fear. There are also many severe direct consequences and collateral consequences that come with an assault conviction in Dakota County. This is especially true where the assault is aggravated. Domestic violence convictions also have severe consequences. A conviction could lead to anything from loss of gun rights to a lengthy jail sentence. 

Eagan assault lawyer, Cody Wright, has a deep understanding of the high stakes involved in assault and domestic assault cases. I leave no stone unturned in exploring every possible legal defense to these charges, and I will never stop fighting to protect your rights.

Ordinary Assault

Generally, simple assault cases are verbal arguments that turn violent, or at least causing fear of violence. On many occasions, alcohol is involved in these types of cases as well. According to Minnesota Law, assault is:

  • Intentionally causing fear of imminent bodily harm, or
  • Intentionally inflicting bodily harm on another.

The Minnesota Statute that outlines assault is 609.224. This statute criminalizes common-law assault, which is threatening someone, and common-law battery, which is hitting someone.

There is an intent element of assault. So the State must prove that the defendant had a specific state of mind. Simply arguing with someone who becomes afraid that bodily harm will be inflicted is not enough. The State has to prove that the Defendant intended to cause that fear. The intent does not have to be malicious. It simply has to be on purpose. Additionally, bodily harm can be any type of physical harm, whether the victim needs medical attention, or simply has a red mark. If medical attention is required, it just makes that State’s job easier. 

Aggravated Assault

Simple assault can be upgraded to aggravated assault based on the degree of harm inflicted on the victim, and the type of weapon used, if any. Additionally, there are certain groups of people that are considered protected classes, which can make an assault charge more severe. I will discuss that in more detail below.

If a weapon is used during the commission of an assault, the charges can be aggravated, or enhanced, because of it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a gun or a knife. Anything can be considered a weapon if used in the wrong way. Simply using a weapon against someone else doesn’t automatically make it assault. In cases of self-defense, an affirmative defense that can be used defending yourself in court, individuals can be justified in using a weapon. 

Domestic Assault

In general, domestic assaults are between romantic partners. However, this is not always the case. Any assault that happens between family members is considered Domestic Assault in Minnesota. Additionally, an assault between household members is also considered Domestic Assault. This means that if roommates get into a fight, it would be considered domestic assault. Generally, when police respond to these types of calls, someone is going to jail. Nine times out of ten, if the incident is between a male and a female, the male is the one going to jail.

These types of cases are usually misdemeanors. However, the more of them that you get in a 10 year period, the more serious the charges become. These types of charges can have a significant impact on your future, and on any pending family law matters.

Protected Classes Assault

These assaults are aggravated assaults, regardless of the weapon use or injury inflicted. Some examples of protected classes in Minnesota, for assault purposes, are police officers, firefighters, probation officers, or correctional officers. Health care workers are also a protected class. In order for these charges to hold up in court, the alleged victim must not only be a member of the protected class, but must also be performing an official duty. 

For example, if someone assaults a nurse that is shopping a Target, the charge would not be aggravated as the nurse would not be performing health care duties at that time. 

Areas Of Practice 

Contact Us Today

Cody Wright is an experienced criminal defense attorney that is ready to help you today.
Can You Buy a Gun with an Assault Charge?

A charge is nothing more than an accusation. Just because you are charged does not mean you are guilty, So your right to own firearms is not lost. However, as a condition of your release from custody, a judge can require that you not possess firearms while your case is pending. Additionally, Minnesota lawmakers recently approved a red flag law. This means that, if a person poses a significant danger to themself or others they cannot purchase or possess firearms. An assault charge could fall into this category.

What is Assault and Battery?

Assault and Battery charges come from the common law. Assault was considered attempting to injure or cause fear, and battery was actually causing bodily harm to someone. These types of charges have been combined into one statute in Minnesota, and labeled Assault. .

What is the Sentence for Assault?

Fifth-degree assault is generally  a misdemeanor. However, it could be a gross misdemeanor if the Defendant has prior assault or domestic assault convictions. The sentence for aggravated assault, which is always a felony, can vary depending on the injuries caused and if any weapons are used.

Can Assault Charges Be Dropped?

No. Because of TV and Movies, most people believe that a victim can choose to “drop” assault charges. This is simply not the case. The victim is nothing more than a witness, and they have no authority to dismiss charges. Once the case is in the hands of the prosecutor, the victim has no say in whether it moves forward or not. Even if the alleged victim is not cooperative, the Prosecutor can issue a subpoena to force them to show up for court. 

What Happens If You Get Charged with Assault?

Most of the time you will be arrested and booked into jail. Generally speaking, you will be held in jail until you can be seen by a judge, who will set bail and/or conditions of release. If the case goes to trial, the jury would decide if they believed an assault occurred and render a verdict. Most of these cases end with some sort of plea bargain. This could include a plea to the assault, a plea to a lesser offense, like disorderly conduct, or sometimes a deal that will keep it off of your record entirely. 

Contact Cody Wright an Experienced  Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Today