In Minnesota, the police can charge you with criminal assault even if you don’t ever touch another person. While striking some is a clear example of assault, attempting to strike someone can equate to fifth-degree assault. This is true even if you miss and never make physical contact. You can also face charges for criminal assault if you getting up close to someone and threaten or lunge at them and the person feared you were going to hurt them.
Assault at the Lowest Level
The State of Minnesota defines varying degrees of assault. The basic principle behind all degrees of assault is that you intended to make someone fear that you will harm or injure them. The act of causing someone to fear bodily harm is enough to support a fifth-degree assault charge.
Assault at the Highest Level
The most serious type of assault, first-degree assault, can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine for causing someone “great bodily harm.” In Minnesota, this is defined as “inflicting an injury that causes a substantial risk of death, causes disfigurement or the loss of use of any bodily organ.” An assault of this magnitude is a felony-level crime.
Aggravated Charges for Assault
Assault becomes more serious as behavior or injuries escalate and the circumstances around the incident become more egregious. A lower-level assault can increase to greater charges if a weapon is involved or the victim is a child, police officer, school employee or protected employee. If the alleged victim was a vulnerable adult, this also can escalate the charges. Hate crimes and domestic abuse also trigger special legal provisions than can add to the seriousness of the charges.
You Have the Right to a Defense
If the police respond to a call regarding assault, it is highly likely they will make an arrest. The ultimate decision to bring charges against you is for the prosecuting attorney to make. If you are charged with any level of assault, it is important to get in front of those charges with a swift investigation through an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Many circumstances can lead to an assault charge. Perhaps the other person may have escalated an argument in which you were both involved. Or, you simply made a bad mistake or error in judgement. Or, after investigating the facts of your case, we may find that you were acting in self-defense. Regardless, we will thoroughly investigate your options and provide the best defense possible.
Any Assault Charge Can Affect Your Life
Even a fifth-degree assault charge—not a conviction, but a charge—can negatively affect your life. Simply because it seems relatively minor to you does not mean there are no consequences. You could lose the right to see your children if you have a visitation schedule pursuant to a divorce or separation. You could also lose the right to own a gun or apply for a hunting license. A charge can also affect your credit score, your insurance costs and, possibly, your job.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Right Away
The most important thing to do upon arrest for assault is to contact an attorney immediately. You have the right to representation and to contact a criminal defense lawyer before speaking to anyone, including the police. Anything you say without a lawyer present may harm your defense. Having an attorney can help you obtain the best outcome in your case.