How Much Does an Assault Lawyer Charge in Minnesota?
How much a criminal defense lawyer charges for an assault case varies based on the assault Lawyer in Minnesota, the attorney, the location, and how far into the litigation process the case progresses.
For example, the legal fees are relatively low for a misdemeanor assault case that ends in a plea bargain after one court hearing. On the other hand, a major felony assault case that proceeds through a jury trial can be costly.
Generally, you can expect a criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota to charge between $2,500 and $100,0000 for an assault case, depending on the lawyer’s hourly fee and what the case involves.
However, this is only a general range. For example, a quickly resolved misdemeanor or order of protection representation may be substantially below this range. Still, a case that goes through trial, appeals, and possibly another trial could be substantially more.
Misdemeanor Assault Defense Costs in Minnesota
Misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail. Many defendants convicted of a misdemeanor serve no jail time. Instead, they may pay a fine or restitution, perform community service, and serve a period of probation.
From the perspective of legal fees of an assault Lawyer in Minnesota, misdemeanor cases usually cost much less than felony cases. Still, the total, in the end, depends on how far into the legal process the case proceeds. As a broad average, most misdemeanor assault cases cost between $2500 to $8000.
Misdemors cost less than felonies in part because the legal process is shorter, and if the case goes to trial, a judge decides it. On the other hand, felony (and gross misdemeanor) defendants have the right to trial by jury, and jury trials are far more costly.
Felony Assault Defense Costs in Minnesota
Felonies require additional legal steps and far more complex and lengthy trials, so the average costs are far higher. Generally, you can expect a vigorous defense before trial to cost between $5,000 and $20,000.
Domestic Violence Defense Costs
Many assault cases stem from domestic violence. Domestic assaults that do not cause great bodily harm or involve other aggravating factors may be charged as misdemeanors, usually costing $2500 to $8000, depending on whether the case goes to trial.
On the other hand, a felony domestic violence defense can be far more costly, especially if it goes to trial.
Criminal Trial Defense Costs in Minnesota
The cost of a trial varies considerably based on the case. A misdemeanor trial before a judge may be relatively quick, resulting in a charge of a few thousand dollars. However, a major felony assault jury trial usually requires at least 40 hours of preparation and a per-day court representation cost.
Many felony assault trials cost $20,000 or upwards, but this amount varies based on the Assault Lawyer in Minnesota’s hourly rate, the amount of preparation required, and the length of the trial.
The Path of a Criminal Charge in Minnesota
The most significant factor in how much your assault defense costs is how far into the legal process the charge proceeds. A weak case that the court dismisses for lack of evidence is relatively inexpensive to litigate compared to a case that goes to a jury trial.
Below we detail the path of a felony charge in Minnesota criminal court. Misdemeanors work in a similar fashion but are usually resolved quicker with less work on the lawyer’s part, making misdemeanor representation generally less expensive than felony representation.
Bail Hearing and Rule 5 Hearing
In most Minnesota jurisdictions, the bail- and Rule 5 hearings co-occur, either on the day of your arrest or shortly after that. The Rule 5 hearing is your first court appearance for the case. The prosecution must furnish a formal complaint outlining the charges, and the judge explains your rights. You do not enter a plea.
During the bail hearing, the judge decides on the terms of pretrial release. Bail is usually extended for assault charges, though the amount for some felony assaults, especially for defendants with an extensive criminal history, may be high.
According to Minnesota law, the judge must set a money-only bail without conditions for release, such as a no-contact order. If you pay this bail, you are released without condition except that you must appear in court when ordered.
Minnesota law sets no minimum or maximum bail for felony cases. The bail amount is totally at the judge’s discretion. Having an attorney to advocate for you at this stage can make the difference between sitting in the county jail for months or years and awaiting trial or being able to go about your life as you fight the case.
Your assault Lawyer in Minnesota will make convincing arguments for your release based on the circumstances of the charges, your connection to the community, the fact that you present no danger to the alleged victim or public, and other relevant factors.
Judges in Minnesota can, at their discretion, set a lower bail amount with conditions. If you choose to accept this bail amount and not pay the higher bond, you must obey the conditions ordered by the judge, such as having no contact with the alleged victim.
Rule 8 Hearing
Some Minnesota jurisdictions combine a Rule 8 hearing with a Rule 5 hearing, while others hold them at separate times. During the Rule 8 hearing, the judge advises you of the charges and explains your rights. You are then asked to plead guilty or not guilty. Never plead guilty unless you have consulted a lawyer. Your lawyer will likely advise against pleading guilty at this stage unless a deal has been made with the prosecution.
Omnibus hearings provide defendants the chance to challenge the constitutionality of the evidence collected against them. They can challenge all pieces of evidence or only selected proofs. If the defense succeeds in convincing the court that some or all of the evidence is inadmissible, the judge may dismiss the case.
For example, suppose the police searched your home without a warrant or probable cause. You then have a constitutional argument for that evidence’s exclusion.
Likely, the police will argue that you permitted them or that the search was incidental to arrest or other justification. For example, if police make an arrest and find evidence while frisking the suspect, they can argue they did not need a warrant or permission to search because frisking is part of the arrest procedure.
If the defendant contests the evidence, the court schedules the omnibus hearing. In some jurisdictions, the defense must file a written motion for a contested omnibus hearing.
At the omnibus hearing, the state presents its evidence and reasons it should be admitted. Your attorney can cross-examine the state’s witnesses. For instance, your attorney may ask questions of a police officer to develop evidence that a search was illegal.
Your side can present evidence, such as a police body cam video, that shows the police obtained the evidence illegally. You have the option of testifying at this hearing, but it is not required for you to win. Your attorney will advise you as to whether testifying is a good idea.
Settlement Conference in Minnesota
Once the omnibus hearings conclude, the court schedules a settlement conference. At this conference, the state usually offers a plea bargain. It’s your lawyer’s job to negotiate on your behalf for a better plea deal or reject all deals if you maintain your innocence.
Regarding fees, your case will likely cost less if you accept a plea deal. However, that is only sometimes in your best interests. For instance, if you have been accused of felony assault for threatening someone with a weapon but you did not do so, you want to avoid a plea bargain that requires you to plead guilty to an offense you never committed.
Defendants have the option of a bench trial or jury trial. Most misdemeanor cases must be tried on the bench, but gross misdemeanor defendants can opt for a jury, though the panel is six jurors instead of 12.
In many cases, the defense prefers a bench trial. Judges tend to acquit defendants when the evidence is weak or legal precedents support it. Jurors may find it more challenging to be objective.
However, your attorney may recommend a bench trial if he feels your chances of acquittal before the judge is slim, but a jury may acquit you or be unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
After a finding of guilt, the judge schedules a sentencing hearing. At this hearing, the state may demand a harsh sentence based on the seriousness of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors. Your assault Lawyer in Minnesota fights against attempts by the prosecution to convince the court to impose an unduly stiff sentence based on suppositions or assumptions it cannot support.
Appeals add to the cost of an assault defense. They require extensive detailed and technical work. Appeals are not re-trials. Instead, they must be based on errors made by the trial court that require the case be dismissed or retried.
For example, the judge’s ruling to admit a piece of evidence obtained without a warrant could be a basis for an appeal. If successful, the appeals court strikes down the conviction. Often, it then orders the trial court to conduct a new trial with this evidence excluded.
In Minnesota, appeals for felonies must be filed within 90 days of sentencing (30 days for misdemeanors).
Though appeals add to the cost, they can reverse a felony conviction and allow you to restart your life with a clean slate.
The costs for criminal assault defenses vary based on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, the complexity of the case, and how far into the process the case proceeds. A range of $5,000 to $100,000 can be expected, with $5,000 covering a case that resolves quickly and $100,000 for a case that goes to trial and appeals.
However, some straightforward cases may cost less than $5,000, and some very litigious and complex proceedings may exceed $100,000 in cost.
If you have been accused of criminal assault, you face serious repercussions. But the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Often, they use flawed evidence and hope you won’t contest it. You need an assault Lawyer in Minnesota.
Gerald Miller, P.A. fights for its clients’ rights and wins. Contact Gerals Miller, P.A. for a consultation.
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