Defining Domestic Assault Charges in St. Paul
Under Minnesota law, a domestic assault has a broad definition and an array of consequences that can vary depending on the details of your case. Typically domestic assault occurs when you commit an assault against a family or household member.
To assault someone, you can either intentionally inflict bodily harm, attempt to inflict bodily harm, or commit an act that is intended to cause fear of imminent bodily harm or death against a member of your family or household.
The definition of family and household members included in domestic assault are spouses or ex-spouses, children, parents, blood relations, those who are living together or who have lived together in the past, people who have dated, and people who have or are going to have children together.
Penalties and Fines Typically Associated with Domestic Assault
Domestic assault is typically considered a misdemeanor offense, where punishment for a conviction can include up to ninety days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if you have committed domestic assault or a domestic assault-related offense more than once, the punishment can become more severe.
For example, if you have a previous domestic violence related conviction and then found guilty of a separate domestic assault, the charge is more serious and is considered a gross misdemeanor. You can face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.
Having two or more previous domestic violence-related offense convictions can result in a felony conviction. Penalties can include up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Qualified domestic violence-related offenses include assault, murder, threats, criminal sexual conduct, violating a restraining order, malicious punishment of a child, interfering with an emergency call, and stalking.
Other facts and circumstances can also increase penalties, such as strangling a family or household member during the course of the assault. You can face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Additional Consequences of Being Charged with Domestic Assault
In many instances, an alleged victim of domestic assault will seek a protective order or a no contact order, both of which prohibit contact with that person. It is a crime to violate a protective or no contact order. Punishment for this offense can include up to ninety days in jail, mandatory counseling, and a fine of up to $1,000.
Depending on the facts, however, the jail sentence can be longer, and the fines can be much steeper. When you violate a protective or no contact order, you are also in contempt of court since you disobeyed the order. This can result in additional jail time or fines.
In addition to jail time and fines, it is important to note that if a firearm was used in any way during the commission of the assault, then the court will order you to forfeit or give up that firearm. In some instances, you may even be prohibited from owning a firearm in the future. If you violate this order, you can be charged with a gross misdemeanor where punishment can include up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.
Still Have Questions? Need Legal Counsel in St. Paul?
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic assault in St. Paul, or you have received notice of a protective order or no contact order, it is important that you consult with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible.
Having an experienced attorney by your side, who has the knowledge and resources to help you navigate the legal system, will only increase your chances for a successful outcome in your case. At Gerald Miller, P.A., our attorneys are ready to help you in the fight to protect your rights.
We are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Call us today at (612) 440-3677 to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.