If you are facing accusations of family violence, it is important to act quickly to secure legal assistance and protect your rights. As these allegations can have significant effects on your reputation, contacting a Bloomington domestic violence lawyer right away may be in your best interest.

The penalties of this offense are severe, and you could face incarceration, fines,  decreased employment opportunities, and the loss of certain rights. A skilled criminal attorney could help you build a strong defense against your charges.

Domestic Assault Under State Law

Minnesota Statutes § 609.2242 defines domestic assault as an individual committing either of the following actions against a family or household member:

  • Causing fear of immediate bodily harm or death
  • Intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict physical harm

Minn. Stat. § 518B.01.2 defines family and household members as current or former spouses, parents and children, blood relatives, people who live or lived together, people who share a child, and people in a significant romantic or sexual relationship. Family and household members also include pregnant women and the alleged fathers of their unborn children.

A lawyer in the area could help an individual facing domestic assault charges navigate these laws.

Penalties for Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is typically classified as a misdemeanor under state law, resulting in a jail sentence of up to one year. Individuals who commit a second domestic assault within ten years will face a gross misdemeanor charge. Penalties for a gross misdemeanor can include incarceration for up to one year and a $3,000 fine.

An individual may face felony charges for a domestic assault conviction that occurs within ten years of the first of two or more qualified domestic violence-related convictions or adjudications. Potential penalties for felony domestic assault can include up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Under Minn. Stat. § 609.02.16, qualified domestic violence-related offenses can result in enhanced penalties for a domestic assault conviction. These related offenses include murder, assault, criminal sexual conduct, and violation of protective domestic abuse orders or harassment restraining orders, among others. As the enhanced penalties for those with prior domestic violence-related convictions can be harsh, consulting a knowledgeable local attorney may be wise.

Orders for Protection in Cases of Domestic Abuse

In addition to criminal charges, domestic violence incidents often result in the implementation of orders for domestic abuse protection. Any individuals claiming that family or household members have committed domestic abuse can ask the court to issue a protective order. These orders can contain various forms of relief, including:

  • Restraining the accused party from committing acts of domestic abuse
  • Excluding the party from a shared residence or the residence of the complaining party and a reasonable area around it
  • Establishing temporary custody, parenting time, and child support orders
  • Awarding temporary possession and use of specific items of property

Many other forms of relief may be available through protective order proceedings, such as excluding the party from the place of employment of the complaining party, prohibiting all contact between the parties, and ordering the party to maintain existing insurance coverage for the complaining party and any children. A nearby lawyer with experienced handling domestic abuse protective orders could help an individual who is facing one.

Call a Bloomington Domestic Violence Attorney for Advice

If someone has accused you of domestic assault or abuse, you may want to enlist a Bloomington domestic violence lawyer. Taking this step could allow a legal advocate to evaluate the evidence against you and build a strong defense on your behalf.

It may be difficult to handle domestic violence charges on your own, and the impact of a conviction could upend your life. A qualified lawyer could mitigate the consequences of these charges and fight for your rights. Call today to schedule a consultation.