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Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney | Assault Charges Explained in the Wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent quarantine requirements is turning out to be a huge psychological test for many of us. Sequestered inside our homes and fearful of a spreading deadly disease, nobody completely feels like themselves. News reports across the country share stories of people inflicting assault on one another or threatening violence against someone else. The reason? The demand for toilet paper (among other things). 

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you have been arrested for assault, contact the Minneapolis defense attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. as soon as possible. We have experience in all types of criminal defense strategies, including the varying degrees of assault. Call 612-440-4608 or fill out or confidential contact form here. You also can reach out via our live chat on our home page. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and fight for your rights. Your first consultation is always free. 

COVID-19, Lockdown, and How Behavior is Affected 

The World Economic Forum recently released a report on how the COVID-19 coronavirus quarantine happening throughout much of the world will affect many people. According to its findings, those who are quarantined are likely to develop “a wide range of symptoms of psychological stress and disorder, including low mood, insomnia, stress, anxiety, anger, irritability, emotional exhaustion, depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Low mood and irritability specifically stand out as being very common.” People with children are even more likely to experience a “trauma-related mental health disorder.” 

In other words, people going through emotional and mental distress during this time are probably more likely to act out and do things they wouldn’t normally do. And that includes assaulting someone else out of anger, frustration, fear, and other life-altering mental health issues. 

People are different under duress. Someone might act out against a loved one in a domestic assault after having been cooped up at home for weeks upon weeks. Or, a homeowner might threaten or go after his or her neighbor for coming too close, not wearing a mask, or having a party instead of social distancing.  

Assault in Minnesota 

There are different types of assault in Minnesota – and there are important distinctions between them. State statute 609.224, subdivision 1,  (1) and (2) are among the most important aspects of assault to understand. The statute specifically relates 5th degree assault, which is the most common of all the degrees of assault under statute. 

  • Subdivision 1 (1) and (2) identifies assault as a misdemeanor if a person is guilty of either inflicting physical harm on another person, such as punching, kicking, or causing other bodily harm. 
    • However, a defendant can also be convicted of misdemeanor assault if they attempt to inflict harm on someone else. For example, if a man goes after another man with the intent to hurt him, but doesn’t, he could still be accused and convicted of assault because he made the victim believe he was going to hurt them. Proving and defending intent is often difficult, because it can be subjective and open to how the victim and defendant interpreted the alleged altercation. 
    • That is why it is crucial to have an experienced Minnesota assault attorney on your side to go over key defense strategies in order to bring you the best outcome to your case possible. Give the criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. a call at 612-440-4608 or fill out our contact form here.  
  • Subdivision 2 classifies assault as a gross misdemeanor – a more serious charge – when a suspect assaults the same victim he or she assaulted in subdivision 1 within a 10-year period. This is especially true when it comes to domestic violence. If a spouse assaults their partner twice within three years or 10 years, for example, then they are guilty of a gross misdemeanor and subject to stiffer penalties, including up to one year in prison and/or a fine of $3,000.

Degrees of Assault in Minnesota 

As noted above, assault could involve trying to harm another person or actually inflicting bodily harm. The law sees the severity of the crime through different degrees, or levels, of assault. 

1st Degree

The most serious form of the offense is 1st degree assault and is charged when either the accused causes great bodily harm to the complaining witness or assaults a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon.  A violation of this offense will lead to exposure to a sentence of up to 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $30,000.

2nd Degree

The accused can face this charge if they used a dangerous weapon during the commission of the offense.  The punishment for 2nd degree assault includes a maximum term of imprisonment of 7 years or a fine up to $14,000.  If the accused inflicts substantial bodily harm, the penalties increase to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $20,000.

3rd Degree

This offense can be charged when inflicting substantial bodily harm or assault of a minor is involved.  The exposure for a conviction of this offense is up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

4th Degree

An assault against a peace officer engaged in duties imposed by law, including executing a lawful arrest, constitutes a gross misdemeanor.  The offense carries a potential penalty of up to 12 months incarceration and a maximum fine of $3,000.

The offense becomes a felony when the victim suffers demonstrable bodily harm, which is punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $6,000.  If an assault is committed against a fireman or other emergency medical responder during the performance of their duties, the offense is a felony, punishable by 3 years in prison and a fine up to $4,000.

If the act is motivated by prejudice based on sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation, the accused can be charged with a 4th degree assault, punishable by 12 months incarceration and a fine up to $3,000.

5th Degree

This type of assault is sometimes called “simple assault.” It involves the commission of the offense with intent to cause fear or immediate bodily harm or intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm on another.  A violation of this grade constitutes a misdemeanor, which can result in up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Assault Attorneys in Minnesota: Your Best Defense 

The criminal law attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. will build the best defense strategy to win our client’s case. Some common defenses for assault include: 

Self-defense or defense of others can be an effective strategy, because the defendant admits the assault occurred. However, the defendant contends that threatening acts on the part of the perceived victim justified the assault. The defensive act must be reasonable under the circumstances.

Or, our legal team might contend that you had an alibi, so you could not have committed the assault and thus were falsely accused. Our criminal law attorneys will also explore defenses like seeking the exclusion of illegally obtained statements to police and attacking the credibility of witnesses – including the alleged victim.

Seek Legal Help Now 

If you are arrested and charged with any kind of assault, it’s important that you seek legal representation before you speak to investigators. Give Gerald Miller, P.A. a call as soon as you can after your arrest. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and fight for your rights. Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation at 612-440-4610 or visit our live chat via our home page. 

About Gerald Miller, P.A.

Were you or someone you love arrested for domestic assault, DWI or another crime during the COVID-19 lockdown? 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 Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis 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. We’re here to help. 

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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