A charge of second-degree assault in Minnesota is serious. Any lawyer worth their salt will ascertain that there is no surefire way to have these charges dismissed. The decision to dismiss a criminal case rests with the prosecutor, and they will not do so without a good reason.
That does not mean that it is impossible to obtain a dismissal, have the charges against you reduced, or obtain some other form of a favorable outcome in your assault case.
The lawyers of Gerald Miller can help you pursue the outcome you deserve in your assault case. By building a strong defense, we can increase your chances of seeing the charges against you dismissed entirely. Contact the attorneys of Gerald Miller to learn more.
Understanding Second-Degree Assault Charges
In Minnesota, assault charges run the spectrum from relatively minor misdemeanor to life-changing felony offense. Second-degree assault is one of the most serious assault offenses under state law. This offense is governed by Minnesota Statutes Section 609.222. According to the statute, this charge is different from other assault cases due to the use of a dangerous weapon.
The use of a deadly weapon in an assault is enough to bring second-degree assault charges. A conviction for this offense can result in imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine of no more than $14,000. However, the potential penalties are much steeper in cases where an assault with a deadly weapon results in substantial bodily harm. In these cases, a conviction could lead to a prison term of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of $20,000.
The term “deadly weapon” does not refer to the specific type of weapon used in an assault. Instead, it is the manner in which a weapon is used. An improvised weapon could result in a second-degree assault charge just as easily as a firearm depending on the circumstances. Under the law, a dangerous weapon can include:
- Any firearm
- Combustible or flammable liquid, or
- Any object that is used or intended to be used to cause great bodily harm or death
Great Bodily Harm
The state also defines what constitutes “substantial bodily harm.” This is an important standard, as a second-degree assault that results in substantial bodily harm carries much steeper penalties. According to state law, substantial bodily harm includes an injury that:
- Involves temporary but substantial disfigurement
- Causes a fractured or broken bone
- Results in a temporary but substantial loss of bodily functions
How a Lawyer Can Help Get Your Charges Dismissed
There are a number of approaches to having your criminal charges dismissed. It is important to understand up front that no attorney can guarantee success. However, an aggressive approach to these charges often results in a dismissed or reduced charge.
One way an attorney might obtain a dismissal is through attempting to exclude the evidence against you. If the police violated your rights, your lawyer could move to exclude any of the evidence they obtained at the time.
Exculpatory evidence also frequently leads to the dismissal of criminal charges. For example, if your attorney can obtain video evidence that shows you were not responsible for the assault, they could pressure the prosecutor to drop all charges against you.
Assault cases often come to an end when the victim decides they do not want to participate. In some cases, a prosecutor might not even be aware that the alleged victim would rather the prosecution not move forward. In other cases, an alleged victim could later change their story that casts doubt on their allegations or points to a different assailant. A criminal defense attorney can use this information to push the prosecution to drop all charges.
Let Gerald Miller Help With Your Second-Degree Assault Case
A dismissal of the charges against you without the need for a trial is a best case scenario. However, it is not the only potentially positive outcome that could result from your case. Often, prosecutors agree to lower the charges as part of a plea bargain. This could result in a plea offer of a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
You are not out of luck even if the prosecution refuses any sort of leniency in your case. The lawyers of Gerald Miller can fight for you at trial and work for an acquittal from the jury. Call (612) 440-4608 right away to schedule a free consultation and discuss your defense options with the attorneys of Gerald Miller.