Assault is a violent crime, and a conviction on even a misdemeanor assault charge could leave you with serious criminal repercussions. If you are facing accusations of assault, it is crucial that you take legal action to protect your rights.
A St. Louis Park assault lawyer could investigate the situation that led to the arrest and produce evidence that indicates your innocence. A capable attorney also could ensure that law enforcement respects your rights and prosecutors do not over-reach when bringing charges.
Assault is defined as putting someone in fear of bodily harm or intentionally causing them bodily harm. In legal terms, a threat of physical violence is an assault if it causes another person to experience fear of bodily harm. Just frightening a person into believing they are about to experience bodily harm could be charged as assault.
Intent is an essential element of any assault charge. Accidental or inadvertent physical contact that causes harm might not meet the legal definition of assault, even though a prosecutor might try to charge it as such. A skilled local assault attorney could prevent a prosecutor from bringing more serious charges than the evidence merits.
Under state law, the severity of an assault charge depends on who was assaulted, under what circumstances, and the harm the alleged victim suffered. When an accused has a prior assault conviction, a prosecutor could charge a more serious crime than they could if the alleged assault was a first offense.
Minnesota Statutes §609.2231 defines fourth-degree assault as inflicting demonstrable bodily harm on a police officer, firefighter, correctional employee, court officer, worker at a secure psychiatric facility, or other public employee. An attack against another person due to their perceived race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, color, or disability, is also considered fourth-degree assault.
Inflicting substantial bodily harm on someone, or assaulting a child under the age of 14, or attacking a minor if there is a history of abuse, is third-degree assault. Assault in the second degree occurs when an alleged assailant uses a deadly weapon, which could be a knife or gun, but also could be a tool, a corrosive liquid, or any material or item with the potential to cause fatal injuries.
When an alleged victim suffers great bodily harm, accused could face first-degree assault charges. An attempt to use deadly force against a police officer or court employee also could result in a first-degree assault charge. A St. Louis Park assault attorney could help an individual understand the specific charges they are facing and the potential penalties associated.
The consequences for an assault conviction cover a broad range. At one end of the spectrum, conviction of fourth-degree assault on a public employee other than a police officer carries a possible two-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $4,000. At the other end, a first-degree assault conviction could result in a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $30,000 upon conviction.
The prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to harm the alleged victim. If the charge is first, second, or third-degree assault, the prosecution must establish that the alleged victim’s injuries are severe enough to merit the charge. As in any criminal prosecution, if law enforcement violated the defendant’s rights during the investigation or arrest, the defendant could seek dismissal of the charges on that basis. Mistaken identity and self-defense could be viable defenses to assault.
A capable St. Louis Park defense attorney could assert all possible defenses to mitigate the severity of any sentence a defendant might have to serve. They could force the prosecutor to prove every element of the charge and point out weaknesses in the evidence that could lead to lesser charges. In some circumstances, an attorney could be able to achieve dismissal of the charges or an acquittal before a jury.
If you have been arrested for assault, do not wait to get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney. A St. Louis Park assault lawyer could assess your case and work with you to build a tailored defense. Call us today at BK Law Group to set up your free initial consultation with a dedicated member of our legal team.