What Is an Assault Charge?
When arrested on any type of assault charge, your mind is full of questions and concerns. You may be wondering if you will go to prison. If so, for how long? How much will this cost you? Can you even afford it? Out of all these questions, the most important will concern whether or not you should hire a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney. The answer is a resounding YES. An attorney will not only be able to answer your questions and explain more about your charges, but they can also help you strike a plea deal with the prosecution or fight for your rights with an appropriate defense.
There are several different types of assault charges. Each has its definitions and consequences for convictions. Under Minnesota law, simple assault is a misdemeanor and is defined as an:
- Intentional infliction of injury or death
- Attempted infliction of injury or death
- Act committed to cause the victim fear of immediate injury or death
Fifth Degree Assault
Fifth-degree assault charges are also a misdemeanor but can be charged as a felony in some instances. You can be charged with fifth-degree assault for an attempted but not successful assault. An actual assault does not need to take place for you to be convicted of this charge. Upon conviction, you could spend as many as 90 days in jail and have to pay a fine assigned by the judge.
Fourth Degree Assault
Similar to fifth-degree assault, fourth-degree can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Fourth-degree assault charges apply to a particular victim class, such as:
- Police officers
- School officials
- Public health nurses
- Crime prevention group members
- Postal workers
- Certain employees at the Department of Natural Resources
- Transit operators
- Vulnerable Adults
Fourth-degree assault is also applied to discriminatory crimes. If you assault someone based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, you could face a fourth-degree assault charge.
Felony Assault Charges
Third-degree assault charges are used when the alleged perpetrator inflicts substantial bodily harm on the victim. This charge also applies if:
- The victim is a minor, against whom the perpetrator has a pattern of child abuse
- The victim is under the age of 4, and the alleged perpetrator causes injury to their head, eyes, or neck, or causes multiple bruises on their body
If convicted, you could face as many as five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
You can be charged with second-degree assault if a dangerous weapon was involved, regardless of whether or not it caused significant injury. Examples of deadly weapons include a gun, bat, knife, or even a golf club. If the prosecution can prove that you used the object as a deadly weapon, then the charge applies. The penalties are as follows:
- Using a dangerous weapon— 7 years imprisonment and fines up to $14,000
- Using a dangerous weapon and causing injury— as many as ten years imprisonment and fines up to $20,000
First-degree assault is the highest assault charge an individual can receive. It involves the alleged perpetrator causing substantial injury to the other person. This charge is usually applied if the victim came close to death as a result of the attack, or if the victim sustained permanent disfigurement due to the attack. The potential penalties are below:
- Inflicting great bodily harm—as many as 20 years in prison and fines up to $30,000
- Using deadly force against a peace officer, prosecuting attorney, judge, or correctional employee in the performance of their duties— as many as 20 years and fines up to $30,000
Are You Facing Assault Charges in Minnesota? We Can Help.
No matter what type of assault charge you face, it is a serious offense. You need a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney on your side who can describe your options to you and fight for you. There are many defenses available to those charged with assault, but no defense will be of help to you without the right attorney.
At Gerald Miller P.A., we know that legal problems often arise outside of regular business hours. Our staff is here to help you, 24/7. After serving more than 10,000 clients over more than three decades, we know what it takes to bring justice to your case. To schedule your free legal consultation, contact us online or call 612-440-4608 today. Our results and recognitions speak for themselves.