What is “Assault”?
Minnesota has five degrees of criminal assault. First degree assault is the most serious. Fifth degree is the least serious and does not require a physical injury or even physical contact. The mere threat of physical contact is can be enough to be charged with fifth degree assault.
What is “Domestic Assault”?
Typically, people think of domestic assault as physical abuse of a spouse. In Minnesota, however, domestic assault does not require any physical contact between the parties involved. Nor is domestic assault limited to assault of a current spouse. It also includes assault of (1) a past spouse; (2) anyone to whom you are related by blood; (3) anyone with whom you have (or are expecting) a child; (4) anyone with whom you currently live; and (5) anyone with whom you are involved in a “significant” sexual or romantic relationship.
How is “Domestic Assault” different than “Assault”?
Someone convicted of domestic assault faces additional penalties and restrictions beyond those faced by someone convicted of assault.
Can a conviction of domestic assault prohibit me from having a firearm or hunting?
Yes. There are state and federal laws that apply to cases of domestic assault. If you are convicted of domestic assault, these laws can prohibit you from possessing a firearm.
What if I have previously been convicted of domestic assault?
You can be charged with a more serious crime. If you have previously been convicted of domestic assault and are later (within 10 years) charged with domestic assault, 5th degree assault, harassment, stalking, violation of an order for protection, violation of a restraining order or violation of a domestic abuse no contact order you can be charged with a gross misdemeanor. If you have two prior convictions within 10 years, you can be charged with a felony.
What should I do if I have been charged with a assault or domestic assault?
If you have been charged with an assault crime, speak to a knowledgeable defense lawyer as soon as possible. Early preparation by an experienced defense lawyer can increase your chances of a favorable outcome, including the possibility of charges being dropped.