Domestic Violence/Assault FAQ
A first-degree felony assault can land you behind bars for up to 20 years. Guilty or innocent, don’t walk into court and accept the first deal out of fear or abandon. You might save money on an attorney, but you’ll lose more in your sentencing. That deal is not a win.
What are the different degrees of assault?
First-degree assault requires great bodily injury, meaning there is a high probability of death or loss of bodily function. This is a felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
Second-degree assault requires the use of a dangerous weapon and substantial bodily harm, meaning temporary but substantial disfigurement, impairment, fracture, or loss of a body part. This is a felony with a maximum sentence of seven years and a fine of up to $14,000.
Third-degree assault requires substantial bodily harm, as described for second-degree assault, but does not require the use of a dangerous weapon. This is a felony with a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Fourth-degree assault requires demonstrable bodily harm, which has no set definition in Minnesota statutes. We know demonstrable, or provable, bodily harm to be below the level of substantial bodily harm (third-degree assault). This is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.
Fifth-degree assault requires that the victim experienced fear of immediate bodily harm caused by the intentional actions of the defendant. Assault only qualifies as fifth degree if the defendant’s actions did not result in bodily harm. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in custody and/or a fine of up to $3,000.
Does assault require that I hurt or even touch the other person?
No. Assault can be any act that puts someone in imminent fear of bodily harm.
What if you have prior convictions?
Two domestic violence convictions will allow the state to charge you with a felony, regardless of the original classification of your new assault charge.