Broadly defined, an assault is an intentional and wrongful act that causes physical harm to another person. In Minnesota, there are five different categories of assault charges – ranging from a relatively minor misdemeanor to a very serious felony offense. Here, our Mankato assault defense lawyers provide an overview of assault charges in Minnesota.
Your Guide to the Assault Laws in Minnesota
Minnesota Law: What is Assault?
Under Minnesota law (MN Statutes Sec. 609.02), a simple assault is a misdemeanor offense that occurs when someone intentionally inflicts an injury or intentionally intended to inflict an injury on another person. How exactly an assault will be charged depends on the nature of the wrongful conduct and the victim’s injuries (or lack thereof).
Fifth Degree Assault
The least serious assault charge, a fifth degree assault can only be charged as a misdemeanor offense (MN Statutes Sec. 609.224). In most cases, fifth degree assault charges are brought when the victim suffered no tangible physical injury. That being said, even a fifth degree assault carries serious penalties—a conviction is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
Fourth Degree Assault
Minnesota classifies a fourth degree assault as a ‘gross misdemeanor’ (MN Statutes Sec. 609.2231). Most often, fourth degree assault charges are filed in cases where the victim suffered no serious physical harm, but there are aggravating circumstances. As an example, assault on a police officer, firefighter, or probation officer may be charged as a fourth degree assault. The maximum punishment is one year in prison.
Third Degree Assault
Third degree assault is an automatic felony offense in Minnesota (MN Statutes Sec. 609.223). Third degree assault charges are typically brought when the victim suffered “substantial bodily harm” as a consequence of the attack. The crime is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Second Degree Assault
In Minnesota (MN Statutes Sec. 609.222), assault in the second degree is a felony offense that involves the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon. As a baseline, the offense is subject to a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Though, a defendant may face ten years in prison if the victim suffered substantial bodily harm.
First Degree Assault
The most serious type of assault charge, an assault in the first degree (MN Statutes Sec. 609.221) is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. A defendant may face first degree assault charges if the victim suffered ‘great bodily harm’ in the attack. Minnesota defines ‘great’ bodily harm as an injury that carries a high probability of death or permanent disability.
Call Our Mankato Assault Defense Attorneys for Immediate Assistance
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota assault defense lawyers are aggressive, solutions focused advocates for defendants. If you or your family member was arrested on an assault charge, we can help. To request a strictly confidential consultation, please contact us at 507-625-5000. We represent defendants throughout Southern Minnesota, including in Mankato, New Ulm, St. James, Windom, and Owatonna.