Criminal Defense Practice

Minnesota Assault Attorney

Charged with Assault? Call Us

Minnesota Assault Attorney

Assault is “an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death,” or “the intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another” according to Minnesota Statute Ann. § 609.02. As the legal definition does not include the mention of a physical component, assault is often paired with a charge of battery. 

The use of “great bodily harm,” refers to incidents that inflict permanent disfigurement, cause a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part of the body, or create a high probability of death.

Why Choose Us As Your Minnesota Assault Attorney For Defense?

We represent those who have been charged with assault in the state of Minnesota. If you have been charged with assault/battery, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable and skilled Minnesota assault attorney who understands the intricacies of assault laws. Sterle Law has a high success rate of defending clients against assault and battery charges. 

We conduct a thorough examination of each client’s case and customize our approach and guidance. Our team develops effective defense strategies for every individual facing assault charges. We advocate for our client’s rights and are adept at negotiating with prosecutors to reduce charges or seek alternative sentencing options.

Penalties for Assault & Battery

Charges for assault and battery range from the first to fifth degrees in Minnesota:

First-Degree Assault/Battery

First-degree assault/battery is utilized when great bodily harm is inflicted or assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer or correctional employee is perpetrated. The charge is also applicable when an attempt to use deadly force against either group while on duty is present. 

Those who are found guilty of assaulting another and inflicting great bodily harm have been charged with first-degree assault. It is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $20,000. 

Second-Degree Assault/Battery

The use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or the infliction of great bodily harm will result in a charge of second-degree assault/battery and those convicted are guilty of Assault in the Second Degree. The charge is a felony punishable by seven to 10 years in prison and a fine of $14,000 – $20,000.

As defined by Minnesota law, a dangerous weapon is “any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm, any combustible or flammable liquid or other device or instrumentality that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm, or any fire that is used to produce death or great bodily harm.”

Third-Degree Assault/Battery

If the victim is a minor or the result of an assault/battery is substantial bodily harm, a charge of third-degree assault/battery is leveled against the perpetrator.

If the perpetrator has a history of child abuse or the child is under the age of four and the injuries are to the child’s head, eyes, or neck or they received multiple bruises to the body, they are guilty of Third Degree Assault. 

Should the person be found guilty of Third Degree Assault, they would be subject to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Fourth-Degree Assault/Battery

If an assault is committed against an emergency room doctor or nurse, police officer, firefighter, correctional employee, etc., they are subject to a charge of fourth-degree assault/battery, which can be charged as either a felony or gross misdemeanor depending on the offense. 

Those found guilty are punishable by one to three years in jail and $3,000 – $6,000 in fines. 

Perpetrators may be found guilty of Fourth Degree Assault if they assault a peace officer during a lawful arrest or when executing other lawful duties or if they assault a school official performing official job functions. A person may also be charged with fourth-degree assault/battery if the assault is based on another’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, or national origin.

Fifth-Degree Assault/Battery

Should a person perpetrate an act with the intent to cause death, bodily harm, or fear in another, they will be charged with fifth-degree assault/battery. Should a person have a prior conviction for this offense, it will make a future conviction a gross misdemeanor or a felony. Those found guilty may spend up to 90 days in jail and pay a fine of $1,000.

Consequences of Assault Charges

The following are potential legal and personal consequences of an assault/battery charge:

  • Criminal record: A conviction can result in a permanent criminal record, which will impact future housing options, employment opportunities, and personal relationships. 
  • Restraining orders: Domestic assault cases may involve restraining orders, which prohibit contact between the alleged victim and the perpetrator. Restraining order violations can lead to additional criminal charges. 
  • Penalties: Fines, community service, probations, or imprisonment are potential penalties depending on the severity of the assault and prior criminal history. 
  • Professional ramifications: Career prospects are endangered for those who work in a field that requires a clean criminal record or a professional license.
  • Immigration consequences: Deportation and inadmissibility are potential repercussions for non-U.S. citizens charged with assault.

Contact a Minnesota assault attorney for more information.

Ordinary Assault Defense

By Minnesota law, assault is intentional by “causing fear of imminent bodily harm” or “inflicting bodily harm on another.” Through Section 609.224, common-law assault – threatening someone – and common-law battery – hitting someone – are criminalized. 

In crafting a defense, the state of mind is often key. “Intentionally” does not imply “maliciously,” but rather “not accidentally.” Moreover, “bodily harm” is any physical harm, regardless of whether the victim required first aid. Consult with a Minnesota assault attorney for more information.

Aggravated Assault Defense

Depending on the weapon used in an assault, the level of harm inflicted, or if the victim is a member of a protected class, the charge may be upgraded from a simple assault to an aggravated assault. 

The use of a deadly weapon tends to warrant an aggravated assault charge, and self-defense is often employed in such cases. 

Domestic Abuse Defense

Empirically, most domestic assault cases are between husbands and wives, with a high percentage of husbands inflicting violence. However, domestic violence is broadly defined by Minnesota law: any two people related by blood or marriage and violence between current or former romantic partners are considered domestic violence. 

Given the sensitive nature of domestic abuse cases, we closely review cases for opportunities to employ strategies built around the use of self-defense and false allegations, for example.

Domestic partners are not part of a protected class and don’t usually involve weapons, which often leads to a misdemeanor charge.

Protected Class Assault Defense

Many government employees – police officers, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, probation officers, prison guards, etc. – are members of a protected class. All assaults on members of a protected class are aggravated assaults regardless of the injury sustained or the weapon used. It is advantageous to question whether it was known if the victim was a member of a protected class to reduce the charges, at minimum. Other successful defenses we employ based on each case are the use of self-defense, defense of other people, protection of property, and consent.

“Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”

Orison Swett Marden