For most of us, assault is assault. According to Minnesota law, however, there are varying degrees of assault and in some instances, a person can be charged with assault even if they never laid hands on another person.
Any assault charge should be taken seriously. Anyone facing assault charges in Minnesota should seriously consider hiring an attorney experienced in criminal defense, particularly if the charge is a felony.
Felony convictions can seriously impact your future. Persons with felony convictions almost always find it difficult to obtain a secure, well-paying job. This, in turn, affects one’s ability to provide for themselves and their families. A person charged with a felony offense should never attempt to represent themselves. The risk is too great and the outcome can have far-reaching implications.
Let’s take a brief look at simple vs. aggravated assaults in the legal sense:
A person can be charged with simple assault when they have inflicted injury on a person or attempted to inflict injury. If the accused did not touch the alleged victim, but threatened to harm them or committed an act that was intended to cause fear in the other person, they can be charged with assault.
The charge of aggravated assault is levied against any person who commits an intentional act that was designed to harm someone physically. The aggravated part comes into play when during the act of the assault, the alleged perpetrator used a weapon of some sort. This weapon can be a gun, knife, baseball bat or motor vehicle, among other things.
Here’s a local example of aggravated assault charges where an automobile is considered the weapon: This past July, a Detroit Lakes man was arrested and charged with assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon for an incident that took place on a local Otter County road. The man was driving his SUV when he passed another vehicle on the right and then got in front the other vehicle jamming on his brakes and causing the second vehicle to rear end him.
When the other driver attempted to get out of his car to confront the erratic driver, his open door was rammed by the driver.
The man was later arrested and charged and placed on a $25,000 bail.
DEGREES OF ASSAULT
1st-degree assault is the most serious of the assault charges. The charge is levied against someone who has inflicted physical harm against individual to the point of putting their life at risk. If convicted, a person could face up to 20 years in prison.
2nd-degree assault is characterized by the assault being carried out with the use of a dangerous weapon as described in the aggravated assault paragraphs above. A prison term of up to 7 years is possible if convicted.
3rd-degree charges is still a serious charge and comes with a potential year sentence. Individuals charged with this may have committed the following: assault of a minor where there is a history of abuse, assaulting someone under the age of 14 years of age, assault that results in serious bodily injury.
4th-degree assaults are usually brought against someone whose victim doesn’t meet the stipulations for any of the other degrees. Committing assaults against law enforcement, fire personnel, first responders or the assault was because of someone’s race, religion or culture, 4th-degree charges would be levied.
4th-degree charges can be bumped up to felony status.
When all else fails, 5th-degree assault charges are used when none of the other assault charges fit the bill. This is a misdemeanor charge that can come with a 90-day jail sentence.
Assault charges can follow you for your entire life. Getting professional help to address these charges is paramount to protect your future.
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