Domestic violence is any intentional physical or emotional assault perpetrated by a person against their intimate partner or family member. While many accusations of domestic abuse involve acts of physical violence, these cases can also include intimidation or threats as well.
Like in most states, prosecutors in Minnesota take allegations of domestic violence seriously. The police aggressively investigate these allegations to the point that they often over-charge individuals involved in family disagreements. This is troubling, as the mere allegation of domestic violence could alter your life forever.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand the weight of a domestic violence arrest. We are ready to hear your side of the story and advocate on your behalf. If you’re wondering what is domestic violence in Minnesota, call right away to learn more.
Understanding Domestic Violence
There are many different forms of domestic violence. In many cases, allegations involve more than one of these categories. Understanding the nature of domestic violence claims can be helpful in your effort to fight back against the prosecution at trial. One of the most common types of domestic violence is physical abuse. Physical abuse involves any effort to cause physical harm or restrain a person against their will. Examples include biting, slapping, kicking, or punching. Forcing drugs or alcohol on a person is also an example of physical abuse.
Sexual abuse is also a form of domestic violence. Any attempt to coerce a spouse or intimate partner into sex through force or fear qualifies as domestic abuse. Domestic violence can include an effort to use physical force to coerce an intimate partner into a sex act.
Many allegations of domestic violence occur between two individuals that are dating or married. While intimate partner violence might be the most common form of domestic abuse, it is not the only form. Domestic violence could also involve immediate family members, cohabitants, children, and co-parents.
Minnesota Domestic Violence Laws
In Minnesota, there are multiple criminal offenses related to domestic violence. The most commonly-charged domestic violence offense is domestic assault. According to state law, domestic assault involves one of the following acts towards a family and household member:
- physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
- the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
- terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call.
State law also makes clear which parties qualify as either family or household members. Domestic abuse statutes apply to:
- 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; and
- persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.
Domestic assault is generally treated as a misdemeanor. A conviction will carry as much as 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.
Escalating Penalties for Domestic Abuse
Domestic assault begins a misdemeanor, but circumstances can cause those charges to carry steeper penalties in some cases. Anyone with a prior domestic abuse conviction—known as a “qualified domestic violence-related offense”—in the previous 10 years will face a gross misdemeanor charge. This ups the maximum penalty to one year in prison and $3,000 in fines.
Domestic assault becomes a felony charge for anyone with two or prior qualified domestic violence-related offenses on their record. In that case, a conviction carries up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.
Discuss Allegations of Domestic Violence with Gerald Miller
A domestic abuse conviction can carry a host of consequences. Jail time and fines are one thing, but the collateral consequences that can follow these convictions are another. A domestic violence conviction could cost you your right to vote or own firearms. It could impact your immigration status or cost you dearly during a child custody disagreement.
Not all domestic charges end in a conviction. The attorneys at Gerald Miller have experience in facing these charges head-on and prevailing. To learn how we can help, schedule your free consultation as soon as possible.