Domestic Assault: what is it?
There are various ways one can be charged with a domestic assault charge in Minnesota. The two primary domestic assault related charges are when one either: 1) intentionally or attempts to cause harm to a family member, or 2) does some act with the intent to make that family member fear harm. Other related domestic assault charges in Minnesota include violating a domestic-assault no-contact order or an order for protection.
Who Counts as a "Family Member" for purposes of Domestic Assault?
The common domestic assault involves a spouse. However, a child can commit domestic assault against their parent. A brother can commit domestic assault against a brother. A cohabiting couple can commit domestic assault against each other. An unmarried set of parents can be charged with domestic assault. Even two unmarried sexual partners with no kids and living separately can be charged with domestic assault. In other words, it isn't just a husband-wife type of crime.
What are some of the penalties?
A first time domestic assault is typically a misdemeanor, unless one is charged with felony domestic assault by strangulation. However, if one has been convicted of a prior "qualified domestic-violence related offense" within the last ten years, they can be convicted of a misdemanor. If one has been convicted of two priors within the last ten years, they can be convicted of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Gross Misdemeanor Penalties
A gross misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to 365 days in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.
Mandatory Minimum Penalites
If one is convicted of a gross misdemeanor domestic assault, they face a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 days in jail. However, a court may not make one serve this time if they complete anger management counseling and other conditions as set by the Court.
If one is convicted of a felony domestic assault on the basis of prior offenses, they face a mandatory minimum penalty of 45 days in jail, at least 15 of which must be served consecutively.
Why You Should Hire the Legal Mustache for your Domestic Assault Charges
Domestic assault charges carry significant consequences for your life, liberty, and reputation. Depending on the facts of the case, there may be a path to acquittal. These cases can often come down to the credibility of the person charged versus the credibility of the person making the accusation. Having an attorney with knowledge and experience in these cases can help break down your options, craft a defense, and fight to make sure that you're treated fairly against such accusations. In the end, for an innocent defendant, you always have the right to a trial, where a jury of your peers will determine if there is enough evidence to find you guilty.