What Does Domestic Violence Mean in Minnesota?
Domestic violence (or domestic assault) is a criminal act that occurs between family members, spouses, household members, or intimate partners. Typically, domestic violence focuses on the relationship between the accuser and the accused during the course of violent criminal offense.
Domestic violence cases carry steep penalties and are often pursued aggressively by state prosecutors. Conduct that might otherwise result in relatively minor consequences could lead to serious jail time when the individuals involved are family members.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, all is not lost. It is not uncommon for these charges to result in a dismissal or an acquittal at trial. The domestic violence attorneys of Gerald Miller can help you fight back against allegations of and potentially overcome the charges against you. Call right away to schedule your free consultation.
Personal Relationships as an Element of Domestic Violence
What makes domestic assault offenses stand out is the relationship element involved in each of these cases. For example, domestic assault is no different than a standard assault claim outside of the relationship between the complaining witness and the accused.
For many people, the concept of a domestic assault arrest involves some form of violence between spouses. The reality is that the relationship element of the offense covers far more relationships than the one between two married people. Violence with any family our household member could bring about a domestic assault case. Family and household members include:
• Current spouses and former spouses
• Current and former co-habitants
• Blood relatives
• Individuals with children together
• The alleged father of a pregnant woman
• People in a romantic relationship
• People in a sexual relationship
Domestic Violence Penalties in Minnesota
The penalties that come with a domestic violence conviction will depend entirely on the type of case filed by the government. Domestic violence charges can be misdemeanors or felonies, and the difference in prospective sentences is substantial.
As a baseline, domestic assault charges are treated as a misdemeanor. A conviction will lead to as much as 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. The state has the power to elevate these charges depending on the circumstances, however. For example, a person convicted of domestic assault involving strangulation could face up to a year in jail. Prior convictions could increase a domestic assault charge to a gross misdemeanor or even a felony.
Understanding Minnesota Protection Orders
In addition to the potential penalties for a conviction, domestic violence arrests also have the potential to result in protection orders against the accused. This is possible before you are ever convicted of any wrongdoing. In Minnesota, these are typically known as Orders for Protection or OFPs.
Any household or family member can file for an OFP following an allegation of domestic violence. This process requires the household or family member to file a petition with the court. Minors aged 16 or 17 can file a petition on their own behalf, while younger children require the assistance of a guardian or reputable adult.
There is always a hearing for these order of protection within 14 days of their issuance. At the hearing, the court will consider the evidence offered by both sides when determining if a permanent OFP is necessary. There are a few outcomes that are possible following these hearings. The court could:
• Prohibit any contact with the reporting witness or their children
• Order the accused to leave a shared home
• Award temporary custody of a minor child
• Require counseling or treatment
If the court decides to issue a OFP, it will last for two years. The court can extend this order for up to 50 consecutive years as long as the court determines there is still a threat of violence.
Talk to a Domestic Violence Attorney From Gerald Miller, P.A.
Any allegation of domestic violence has the potential to bring harsh consequences into your life. A conviction can lead to jail time, fines, and collateral issues regarding your employment, immigration status, or even child custody rights.
Let the attorneys of Gerald Miller review your case and advise you on your rights. In many cases, it could be possible to see a domestic assault charge reduced or dismissed entirely. Call the attorneys of Gerald Miller today to get started with a free consultation.