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Basic questions about assault in Minnesota

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2016 | Injuries

An assault charge is very serious legal matter that can have severe consequences. This type of charge can result in probation or even prison time and negatively affect your personal and professional life.

The first step in making sure you are properly defended is to contact a criminal defense attorney. The advice of experienced legal counsel will help you navigate the legal process and court system.

What is assault?

Assault is typically defined as an attempt to injure another individual. In some instances, a physical act of violence is not necessary to evoke an assault charge. Threats or threatening behavior can be considered assault as well.

What is the act requirement?

In general, assault requires that an overt or direct act take place. The act must be threatening enough that a reasonable person fears for one’s safety as a result.

Usually, a verbal threat alone will not be considered assault. However, if that threat is accompanied with an act that elicits fear of harm, then assault may have occurred.

What is the intent requirement?

An individual’s intent to frighten another person can result in assault charges. Also, if a person acts in a way that can be considered dangerous to others, regardless of whether there is intent to harm, an assault charge may be filed.

What are the penalties for assault in the first degree?

Minnesota statute on assault states that you can be sentenced for up to 20 years and be fined not more than $30,000 as a result of inflicting great bodily harm on another individual.

These penalties also apply if assault with deadly force is committed against a peace officer, prosecuting attorney, judge, or a correctional employee. However, conviction carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years without eligibility for probation, parole, discharge, or work release.

What defenses are available?

The most common defense of assault is self-defense. In order to prove thi s, the accused individual must show that there was an existing threat of unlawful force or harm against him or her, there was no harm or provocation for the existing threat, there was no option to escape the situation, and the individual had a real perceived fear of harm to oneself.

The consequences of an assault conviction can be devastating. Having someone on your side to argue in your favor and protect your rights will greatly benefit you on your day in court.