Assault is a diverse category of criminal offenses. The many forms of this offense can vary in severity, from misdemeanors to felonies. Each can have a great impact on your life and your loved ones, carrying potential jail and prison time among other life-altering outcomes.

Every situation is unique, and a qualified criminal defense attorney could help build a customized legal defense based on the distinct facts of your case. Schedule a consultation today to see how a dedicated Edina assault lawyer could assist you.

Defining Assault

The state defines assault in one of two ways: an act that was intended to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death, or an actual infliction or attempt to inflict bodily harm on another. These definitions encompass a wide variety of criminal conduct.

Conduct that could result in an assault charge is varied and could include:

  • Grabbing a person
  • Hitting, punching, or kicking
  • Pushing or shoving
  • Sexual and non-sexual touching
  • Verbal threats of violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Knowingly transmitting a disease to another person

This conduct, and potentially more, may result in an assault charge depending on the specific nature of a case.

Degrees of Assault Under State Law

Chapter 609 of the Minnesota Statutes defines assault crimes starting at §609.221. This breaks assault into certain categories, including:

Fifth-Degree Assault

This misdemeanor is the lowest level of assault. It carries up to ninety days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Most fights that do not result in serious physical harm fall into this category.

Fourth-Degree Assault

If a person assaults a specially protected position, such as a peace officer, firefighter, or other protected employee, the assault is heightened to the fourth degree. The same is true if the assault is motivated by bias as it pertains to race, gender, ethnicity, and more. Fourth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor and carries up to one year in jail as well as a $3,000 fine.

Third-Degree Assault

An assault that results in substantial bodily harm is raised to the third degree. It carries the possibility of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Second-Degree Assault

When an assault occurs with a deadly weapon and results in significant bodily harm, it is elevated to the second degree. This type of assault can carry up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine.

First-Degree Assault

If an assault results in great bodily harm, or the attack is against a police officer and involves deadly force, the offense is considered a first-degree assault. First-degree assault carries up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.

A knowledgeable Edina lawyer could further explain the degrees of assault and how they apply to a particular case.

Defenses to an Assault Charge

There are certain defenses that may reduce or eliminate the assault charges that a defendant is facing, depending on the unique circumstances of the case. Situations in which charges could be reduced or eliminated may include:

  • The attack was in self-defense or in the defense of others
  • Mistaken identity
  • Duress
  • Improperly collected evidence
  • The harm caused was less serious than alleged

These defenses, as well as others uncovered by a skilled defense attorney, could be determining factors in a defendant’s assault case.

Contact an Edina Assault Attorney for Help With Your Case

Without a proper defense, an assault charge could result in decades of prison time and thousands in fines. Having a tailored legal strategy and an attorney dedicated to protecting your rights could greatly improve the outcome of your case.

An experienced Edina assault lawyer could speak with you and begin to develop a strong defense strategy. Call today to schedule a consultation.