Simple Assault refers to intentionally causing injury to another person. This act may also be done to generate a fear of harm or death in an individual. The State of Brainerd considers physical harm and even the threat to cause harm as assault. If you’ve been accused, do you know how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainerd, MN?
An assault charge is considered proven by the prosecutor if it becomes clear that the victim was afraid due to an injury that was caused or intended to be caused and was the result of a deliberate act of the defendant.
Every case is unique and involves different circumstances. No assault lawyer can guarantee to beat any of the assault charges, though they will work diligently and try to defend clients with the best possible representation.
Let us understand the types of assault and defenses that can be used in an attempt to beat these charges.
What Are the Types of Assault in Brainerd and Minnesota?
Assault can be broadly categorized into simple and aggravated assault. An act that may cause the least injury or pose a limited threat of violence is called a simple assault. An aggravated assault involves serious circumstances and violence, resulting in life-threatening consequences.
Scenarios that may result in simple assault charges include:
- Pushing or shoving
- Raising a clenched fist
- Making threats of injury
- Applying physical force
- Using an object to inflict or attempt to inflict injury
A few scenarios that may result in aggravated assault are as follows:
- Striking or threatening to strike a person with a dangerous weapon or object
- Committing a felony crime like rape or robbery
- Actions resulting in life-threatening physical injuries
- The behavior of violence while concealing identity
- Hurting a person from the protected class like a police officer, healthcare provider, social services worker or a disabled person.
Simple and aggravated assault charges come in five degrees, which determine whether the offense is a felony or a misdemeanor. The five degrees of assault charges also help courts determine fines and sentencing punishments. If you’re wondering how to beat a simple assault charge in MN, you should know that the higher the degree, the more severe the punishment may be.
The Statutes of Brainerd classify assault charges into the following:
- Fifth-degree assault
- Fourth-degree assault
- Third-degree assault
- Second-degree assault
- First-degree assault
Each of these assault types has varying charges and consequences. The penalties associated with them range from a maximum of one-year imprisonment and a $3,000 fine for a fifth-degree assault to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine for first-degree assault.
Also, an individual is charged with domestic assault when he/she intentionally inflicts harm or causes fear of harm to a family/household member.
Assault Against Protected Employees in Minnesota
Protected employee assaults, assault against law enforcement officers, assaults committed by inmates incarcerated in state prisons, and hate crime assaults are also defined as assault crimes in Minnesota.
Minnesota defines “protected employees” as forest firefighters employed by the Department of Natural Resources, teachers, school administrators, and other public school employees. If you’re trying to learn how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainerd, know that assaults against these protected individuals can incur more severe fines and jail sentences than assaults against non-protected individuals.
Assailants who intentionally target protected employees in the following job roles are also eligible for more severe assault conviction penalties:
- Postal service workers
- Utility service workers
- Law enforcement reserve officers
- Community crime prevention members (while at work)
- Parole officers
- Public health workers
- Child protection workers
- Occupational safety and health investigators
- Agriculture inspectors
- Mentally or physically disabled adults
- Vulnerable adults receiving home health care services
“Hate crimes” are assaults or other crimes committed against and motivated by victims of certain races, nationalities, religions, genders, disabilities, and/or sexual orientations.
Brainerd courts charge some assaults as misdemeanors. These minor assaults occur when someone intends to cause fear of bodily harm or death. In other words, most simple assaults are misdemeanor offenses.
Gross Misdemeanor Assaults
An assault charge can advance to a gross misdemeanor in certain circumstances. For example, committing a second misdemeanor assault against the same person within 10 years will result in a gross misdemeanor.
It’s also a gross misdemeanor when someone commits a second assault against a different person within three years of the first offense. Assaults involving a firearm or other dangerous weapon are always gross misdemeanors, whether or not it’s a first offense.
In Brainerd, an assault is an automatic felony if significant bodily harm occurs to the victim. It doesn’t matter if the assault was simple or aggravated (e.g., involving a weapon).
Three or more assaults against the same person and within 10 years of the first offense is a felony charge. Three or more assaults against different people within three years is also a felony offense.
First Through Fifth-Degree Assault in MN
Fifth-degree assault is the least severe and will typically only earn you a misdemeanor. As we’ve mentioned, there doesn’t have to be actual physical contact involved in a fifth-degree assault. Intent to harm is enough for a conviction.
Fourth-degree assault is also a misdemeanor. However, Brainerd courts can escalate this charge to a felony if aggravating factors (e.g., using a firearm) are present.
Third-degree assaults include crimes against children under 18 years of age. These offenses are typically felony charges.
First-degree assault is the most severe assault charge in Minnesota. It requires that “great bodily harm” (GBH) occurred to the victim. GBH includes permanent disfigurement, limb loss, significant impairment, or risk of death.
Assault Conviction Penalties in Brainerd and MN
You don’t want to suffer the consequences of an assault conviction, simple or otherwise. Are you trying to find out how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainerd, MN? Without the help of the best assault lawyer in Brainerd, you could face the following penalties.
Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Assault Penalties
A simple assault charge is a misdemeanor that will earn violators up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine.
Simple assaults against protected employees, hate crime assault, and second offenses will increase the charge to a gross misdemeanor, resulting in up to one year in jail and/or up to a $3000 fine.
Additionally, a Brainerd court could confiscate or restrict access to your firearm if you used a weapon during gross misdemeanor assault.
Felony Assault Penalties
The penalties for felony assault depend on the degree of the offense and how many priors you have. For example, three or more assaults within 10 years can earn you $10,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, or both.
First Through Fifth-Degree Assault Penalties in Minnesota
Fifth-degree assault penalties are virtually the same as the punishment for simple assault. A conviction can come with fines of up to $1000 and/or 90 days in jail. When the charge advances to fourth-degree assault, fines increase to $3000 and jail sentences go up to one year in jail.
Aggravated fourth-degree assault charges incur heftier punishments. A Brainerd court has the right to charge fourth-degree assault offenders with double the fines and jail time as a non-felony fourth-degree offense.
In Minnesota, third-degree assault comes with up to $10,000 fines and/or up to five years in prison. Second-degree assault punishments vary depending on whether there were injuries.
If the assault resulted in no injuries, you could see fines of up to $14,000 and prison sentences of up to seven years. Fines increase to $20,000 and prison times go up to 10 years if the assault resulted in injuries.
First-degree assault convictions earn the highest penalties. Offenders must pay up to $30,000 in fines, spend up to 20 years in prison, or both.
What Types of Defenses Can Be Presented for a Charge of Assault in MN?
An assault may be the result of certain factors like serious accusations and exaggerated arguments. Luckily, an experienced assault attorney knows the strategies to defend your case.
The defense strategies that can be put forth to beat these charges are:
- Affirmative Defenses
This affirmative defense strategy acknowledges that the act in question was committed, but the behavior should not be considered as an assault for different reasons.
This is one of the common strategies used to defend against assault charges. It is also considered the easiest to prove in court.
Your assault lawyer may argue that your action was an act of self-defense for protection from any harm that may have been caused due to another person. Also, the other party was the aggressor and that your act did not need any force on him/her.
This argument of self-defense is of two types:
- Defense of other individuals
This refers to your act of defending another person from the aggressor.
- Defense of property
This is the act of defending your home or movable/immovable assets from an invader.
You will need to discuss with your assault lawyer to find the best-suited defense based on your situation.
Consent is an act of assault that cannot be legally constituted if the parties involved agree to it.
Consider a scenario involving two professional boxers. One boxer cannot accuse the other of assault for punching him during the match. Both parties involved should have agreed to the terms of the match ahead of time.
Again, consider that one boxer punched/beat his/her opponent before or after the match. This action cannot be considered legal because the other party consented to the match. The action of beating and punching exceeded the permission that was provided.
However, consent can be used in rare scenarios. Your assault lawyer should be able to determine the best circumstances to use this mode of defense.
- Disputative Defenses
These defenses question the actual behavior you were alleged to have engaged in.
- Lack of Credibility
This defense is used to prove that the victim or a witness is providing incorrect information about the assault. Your assault lawyer will need to work diligently to prove the lack of credibility. This involves finding inconsistencies in statements provided by the victim or witness. The lawyer will need to pay attention to intricate details and raise questions about them.
This kind of argument may need contradictory evidence to the proof already provided before the jury or rebuttal witnesses who recount a different series of events about the assault in question.
Furthermore, your assault lawyer may try to call into question the character of the victim or witness presenting the information. He may try to prove that the individual lacks credibility due to distrustful events he/she may be associated with.
- Incorrect Identification of the Accused
Human beings can be biased and unreliable. Details about incidents that we believe to be true may be wrong when presented with evidence like a video recording of the occurrence.
Due to this, victims tend to identify the wrong person as accused. If you have been falsely accused of an assault, it may be because you look similar to the actual convict or due to your proximity to the scene of the assault.
If you haven’t been part of an assault and pulled into it due to incorrect identification, you can seek help from your assault lawyer to prove your innocence. Seek help from witnesses who know you weren’t responsible for the assault. You can also consider surveillance footage or video recordings that show the actual perpetrator.
The alibi defense should include evidence that proves you were elsewhere when the assault occurred. However, you should be able to prove this with an appropriate stand, like witnesses who can vouch for your presence. For example, a video recording that shows you in another location or a ticket to an event that confirms your presence may work.
How Can an Assault Charge Defense Lawyer in Brainerd Help?
As mentioned, there are varying degrees of assault. The State of Brainerd involves different penalties for them based on their severity. It can be challenging to understand the legal grounds of your arrest and defending yourself in court.
An assault lawyer in Brainerd is equipped with comprehensive knowledge of the legal nuances of assault cases. His/her experience will help in strategizing the best defenses to protect you against serious assault charges.
Rather than putting your future at risk, it is best to seek representation from a skilled Brainerd assault lawyer to defend your case.
Reach Out to Our Seasoned Assault Lawyers in Brainerd, MN
In a case of assault, the prosecutor is responsible for proving the defendant guilty. If you’re trying to find out how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainers, the above-mentioned types of defense for assault should provide an overview of how your assault lawyer can challenge the credibility of the evidence and protect your interests.
To discuss your assault case with our experienced lawyers, give us a call at 855-762-6548 or contact us online. We will work relentlessly and represent you vigorously while protecting your rights. At Carlson & Jones P.A., our lawyers will build an ironclad defense to try and get a positive outcome in your favor.
This article was originally published on July 31, 2020 and updated on August 23, 2021.