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What You Should Know About Domestic Assault in Columbia Heights

The laws for assault in the state of Minnesota are some of the toughest in the country. If you have been charged with domestic assault you may be facing the prospect of serving a lengthy jail term – not to mention a hefty fine.

A first-degree assault, for example, is characterized by physically assaulting someone to the point of great bodily harm, or in other words putting a person at risk of death, causing disfigurement or loss of use. 

First-degree assault is a felony charge and carries up to 20 years in prison with $30,000 in fines. There is also the possibility of facing second, third, fourth and fifth degree assault charges. 

And then there is domestic assault. Which can have varying degrees depending on history or past offenses, injury to the victim, and more. Basically, there are details that can change the seriousness of the domestic assault situation. 

As the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues throughout the world, and health officials continue to stress the importance of self-quarantining, most people are now working from home, facing governor-ordered stay or shelter in place declarations, and encountering various types of disruption to their lives. 

For senior citizens and the elderly, those with preexisting medical conditions or other health challenges, and other high-risk individuals, the spread of the virus may bring extra stress brought on by anxiety, confusion and loneliness.

But for individuals experiencing domestic violence, the COVID-19 pandemic comes with additional, life-changing dangers. And even with the current stay at home order, police are still there to help. And in the circumstances where you are the possible offender, they are still going to come to the scene and take action against you. COVID-19 does not stop them from enforcing the assault laws.

If you’ve been charged with a crime of domestic assault, the most important thing to remember is never talk with the investigators or prosecutors without talking to a lawyer first. Contact the team at Gerald Miller Law Firm quickly. We can evaluate the strength of the case against you, and discuss the defenses you believe you may have. You are not in this alone. We’re here to help you. Call us for a free consultation at 612-440-4610. 

In Minnesota, it is against the law to “intentionally inflict physical harm” or “cause fear of immediate physical harm or death” to another family or household members including:

  • spouses and former spouses  
  • parents and children  
  • persons related by blood  
  • persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past  
  • persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time  
  • a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time 
  • persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship

In determining involvement in a significant romantic or sexual relationship, the court must consider the length of the relationship; type of relationship; frequency of interaction between the parties; and, if the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination. 

Typically in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, a first offense domestic assault is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. And although the sentencing can be scary, usually the hardest part of an assaultive offense, is that the court will place you on certain conditions of release. Many times, a judge will order an offender to have no contact with the victim. If you lived at the same house they did, you now cannot go home. And these conditions of release can carry through the entire case. So a charge of domestic assault can have a very impactful hit right off the bat.

However, if a person has a criminal history that includes prior offenses of any qualified domestic abuse related offenses, then the newest offense can be even more serious. Although the certain act or facts of the case can be the same between a misdemeanor or up to a felony, the previous history can really affect the available punishment the state can use against you.

A pre-sentencing domestic abuse investigation will be conducted for domestic abuse-, restraining order-, and harassment-related crimes. The report may recommend a variety of actions including anger management, specific domestic abuse programming, and/or a drug and alcohol dependency evaluation, among other options.

Other – more severe – domestic violence crimes in Columbia Heights include domestic assault by strangulation, where a person “strangles or blocks” the nose or mouth of a family member. And a person who commits other crimes such as criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping or false imprisonment against a family member can be tried for those crimes the same as if they were committed against a stranger.

If a person is convicted of domestic assault, domestic assault by strangulation, or assault in the first through fifth degree against a family or household member and the person owns a firearm that was used during the assault, Minnesota law states the gun must be forfeited. The person charged with the crime could also be prohibited from owning a gun for three years to the rest of the person’s life. Violating this gun prohibition is a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year imprisonment or a fine up to $3,000.

If someone has a protection order against you, even a temporary one, it is very important that you follow the order or you can get into serious legal trouble. In Minnesota, a first-time violation of a protection (or no contact) order is a misdemeanor that could start with an arrest, a few days in jail waiting for a court date, get you forced into counseling or other behavioral adjustment programs. 

If you violate the order within 10 days of a prior domestic violence-related conviction, it’s a gross misdemeanor and the jail time as a possible sanction increases. The statutes in play allow for enhancement based in prior history. The charge level goes up, and the possibility of serving jail time goes up with it.

If you have two prior domestic violence-related convictions within the past 10 years or you violated the order while in possession of a dangerous weapon, the violation is a felony with a 30-day minimum and five-year maximum imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000. 

If you or a loved one have been charged with a domestic violence crime, you should immediately contact the skilled attorneys at Gerald Miller Law Firm. Call us 24 hours a day at 612-440-4610. With all of the discussions behind jail time and incarceration as a form of punishment, this coronavirus situation could also “help” people in that regard. We are in the office during the coronavirus outbreak, and we can utilize this situation to make new arguments to make sure that your health is not compromised by the rigid sentencing guidelines that are normally involved in domestic assault offenses. 

A common situation encountered by law enforcement and first responders is when the person arrested was actually acting in self-defense and the real instigator of the event is the person alleging to be the victim. In some states, police officers are required to make a judgment as to who was the original aggressor and arrest that person, even when physical acts were committed by both. 

In Columbia Heights, Minnesota, an officer may arrest a person anywhere without a warrant, including at the person’s residence, if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed domestic abuse within the preceding 24 hours. The officer may make the arrest even though the domestic abuse did not take place in the officer’s presence.

In addition, an arresting officer may not issue a citation in lieu of arrest and detention to a person charged with domestic abuse, harassment/stalking, violation of an order for protection, or violation of a no-contact order. An individual arrested on any of these charges must be brought to the police station or county jail where the officer in charge of the police station or the county sheriff in charge of the jail must issue a citation in lieu of continued detention, unless it reasonably appears to the officer or sheriff that release of the person poses a threat to the alleged victim, another family or household member, or public safety; or there is a substantial likelihood the arrested person will fail to respond to a citation. 

If the officer or sheriff does not issue a citation to the arrested person, the arrested person must be brought before a judge without unnecessary delay.

A person arrested for violation of an order for protection or a no-contact order must be held in custody for at least 36 hours, excluding the day of arrest, Sundays, and holidays, unless a judge or judicial officer releases the person earlier. And a police officer is required to make a report. An officer who investigates an allegation that domestic abuse has occurred must make a written police report of the alleged incident, whether or not an arrest is made. A copy of this report must be provided upon request, at no cost, to the alleged victim, the alleged victim’s attorney, or designated organizations that provide services to domestic abuse victims.

In trial, a defendant is free to open the issue and attempt to show that whatever physical assault he or she is charged with committing was done for self protection against the alleged victim’s violent aggression.

Coronavirus is a terrifying situation. So is getting arrested.The office of Minnesota domestic assault defense lawyer Gerald Miller, P.A. will fight for you and your rights. Call our experienced legal team today at 612-440-4610. We offer free consultations and are available anytime. We’re on your side.  Experience matters with a crime as complex as domestic assault and it comes from a professional Columbia Heights defense attorney.

Protect yourself, wash your hands and call us today at 612-440-4610. We are still open and ready to help!

About Gerald Miller, P.A.

Were you or someone you love arrested for domestic assault, DWI or another crime? The process can be worrisome – or even frightening. There is a lot of legal jargon to weave through and court dates to attend.

You’re not alone. We can help, whether it’s your first domestic assault arrest  or if you’ve been convicted in the past. If you are facing a Minnesota criminal conviction, the experienced Columbia Heights defense attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. will review your case and determine the best course of action. We will guide you through the process, working toward a positive outcome no matter the circumstances of the arrest. Our firm has a high success rate. We’ve fought cases all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. We dig into every aspect of the case, from the time of the arrest the officer’s actions to the accuracy of their alleged evidence.

What makes Gerald Miller different from other Minnesota criminal defense lawyers?

The Columbia Heights lawyers at Gerald Miller handle all aspects of criminal law across the Twin Cities and statewide, but we have focused on criminal defense for nearly 40 years. A domestic assault charge can affect your living situation, your finances, and your professional reputation. Don’t let one incident negatively impact your future. 

We have earned dozens of positive Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews from satisfied clients. Our firm is widely recognized throughout the Twin Cities for our professionalism, compassion, knowledge, and dedication both in and out of the courtroom. The Columbia Heights defense attorneys at Gerald Miller Law Firm are respected by our peers, colleagues, judges, and prosecutors. We have earned national awards and accolades from the American Bar Association, The National Trial Lawyers, the American Institute of DWI/DUI Attorneys, the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the National Academy for DUI Defense, and more. 

Gerald Miller, P.A. also has received the elite “SuperLawyer” distinction by Thomson Reuters. 

Legal Counsel is Critical to Success

The sooner you contact us, the faster we can start protecting your rights.  Even if your case cannot be dismissed, the charges may be reduced and punishment can be minimized, which are positive outcomes as well. There are a number of details in each person’s case that could have a huge impact on the possible outcome. It also helps if you were cooperative at the time of your arrest.

Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation at 612-440-4610. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to give you some answers, a little hope, and plenty of well-deserved peace of mind. Visit www.geraldmillerlawyer.com or check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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