What to Know About Proving Assault 

If you’re accused of assault, you may be wondering how these claims may be proven, and how assault is lawfully defined. There are varying degrees of assault in Minnesota, and the prosecutor will have to provide evidence that proves the assault happened beyond a reasonable doubt.

What’s Defined as Assault in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, there are two definitions of assault. The first one is “an act done with intent to cause fear in another or immediate bodily harm or death.”

The second one is “the intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.” This means someone can be convicted of assault even though no physical contact took place.

Beyond these two definitions, there are also varying degrees of assault, including:

  • First-degree assault: A felony charge, first-degree assault in Minnesota includes causing great bodily harm to another and can result in up to $30,000 in fines and/or 20 years in prison.
  • Second-degree assault: Also a felony charge, second-degree assault involves someone harming another using a dangerous weapon, carrying a sentence of up to seven years and/or a fine of up to $14,000. If bodily harm was caused, imprisonment can last up to 10 years and the fine can be up to $20,000.
  • Third-degree assault: If substantial bodily harm is inflicted, someone can be convicted of third-degree assault. This felony charge also applies to the harm of minors, and can lead to five years of imprisonment and/or a payment of $10,000 in fines.
  • Fourth-degree assault: This type of assault can either be a felony or a gross misdemeanor, depending on the case. It includes the assault of peace officers, emergency personnel and firefighters, carrying a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of $3,000.
  • Fifth-degree assault: A misdemeanor, fifth-degree assault applies to someone who creates fear of bodily harm or death through an action they’ve committed, or intentionally inflicts or tries to inflict bodily harm upon someone else.

Evidence for Proving Assault

Every case is different, which means the types of evidence needed can vary depending on the case’s unique circumstances. A prosecutor will use relevant evidence to try to prove the crime happened, which may include things like:

  • Testimonies from eyewitnesses who saw the assault
  • Photographs of bodily injuries
  • Audio recordings, such as conversations between the plaintiff and the defendant
  • Video evidence of the assault or events leading up to it, including from cell phones and surveillance cameras
  • Medical records of the plaintiff regarding treatment for sustained injuries
  • Forensic evidence, such as fingerprints, digital evidence and DNA

Contact an Attorney ASAP for Your Assault Case

If you’re facing assault charges, it’s critical to reach out to an attorney immediately so they can start answering your questions and building your case. At White & Associates, our criminal defense attorneys are here to help protect your rights. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 763-241-0477 or send us a message.