If you have been accused of domestic violence, it may be crucial to seek legal guidance as soon as possible after your arrest. Domestic assault is defined as a discrete criminal offense in Minnesota, and courts tend to impose particularly harsh penalties on people convicted of this crime, especially if they have a prior record of violent domestic conduct.
A Hennepin County domestic violence lawyer could serve as a dedicated and knowledgeable ally in your fight to defend your legal rights and preserve your future in the face of this accusation. A skilled criminal defense attorney could compile all available evidence into a comprehensive case and work tirelessly to secure a positive outcome on your behalf.
Qualifications of a Domestic Violence Offense
A person may be charged with a domestic violence offense if they do anything to threaten or cause harm to a household or family member. According to the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act, which is listed under Minnesota Statutes §518B.01, the term “family or household members” includes all of the following individuals in relation to the perpetrator:
- A current or former spouse
- A biological or adoptive child or parent
- Any blood relative other than a child or parent
- A co-parent of a child, regardless of prior relationship status
- A current or former intimate relationship partner
- A current or former roommate or housemate
The law also clarifies behaviors that may constitute domestic abuse, including any form of physical harm or assault, intentionally causing someone to fear physical harm, sexual abuse, terroristic threats, and interference with an emergency call. A Hennepin County domestic violence attorney could work with a defendant to contest allegations that they committed any of these offenses against a household or family member.
Potential Consequences of a Conviction in Hennepin County
In some situations, criminal actions classified as domestic abuse have different penalties upon conviction than an equivalent crime would if committed against a non-household or family member. For example, acts of assault against family or household members are criminalized under MN Stat. §609.2242 as unique offenses separate from the typical five degrees of assault defined in MN Stat. §§609.221 through 609.224.
The penalties associated with domestic violence can vary significantly depending on the exact offense, as well as any prior record the defendant has of similar or identical behavior. For example, a first offense of domestic assault as defined by MN Stat. §609.2242 is a misdemeanor offense, but a second offense within ten years is a gross misdemeanor. A third offense is a felony that could result in a maximum of five years’ imprisonment and $10,000 in fines upon conviction.
Various other factors may also aggravate penalties for domestic violence convictions, including the presence of a firearm and/or the defendant allegedly strangling the victim. A qualified domestic violence lawyer in the area could identify what factors may influence the outcome of a particular case and work to compensate for them in the defense strategy.
Contact a Hennepin County Domestic Violence Attorney Today
While every criminal charge should be taken seriously, those classified under domestic violence can often result in especially severe consequences. Depending on the specific allegations against you, you may find yourself facing enhanced criminal penalties and even the loss of certain rights.
In order to effectively pursue the desired outcome in your case, you may need help from a Hennepin County domestic violence lawyer who has successfully aided defendants with similar cases before. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation and start working on your defense.