What Exactly Is Assault in the First Degree in Minnesota?

Christian PetersonViolent crime, regardless of where committed, can result in some serious penalties. However, if you commit an act of violence, such as assault in the first degree, in Minnesota you face some of the strictest penalties in the country.

What exactly is assault in the first degree?

In Minnesota there are varying degrees of criminal assault, ranging from fifth degree up to first degree. A charge of first degree assault is a felony charge and can result in a jail-time sentence of up to 20 years and/or a fine of up to $30,000.

There are two separate actions that can result in a charge of this type:

1. Assault to a person resulting in great bodily harm. According to Minnesota statute 609.02, great bodily harm means any injury to a person’s body that has a great chance of resulting in death, a serious and permanent disfigurement, or results in a substantial loss or impairment to any bodily member or organ.

2. An assault using deadly force against any of the following: peace officer or correctional employee, judge, or prosecuting attorney. In this instance the mere use of deadly force is enough to bring this charge, even in cases where no injury occurs as a result of the attack.

What constitutes deadly force?

Deadly force means using force that any reasonable person would believe could result in serious harm or death. This includes use of a loaded firearm, knife, or any other weapon capable of dealing such harm.

The Minnesota law clearly states that the only justifications for taking a life (and therefore, using deadly force) are the following:

1. To prevent or resist an attack to oneself or another that can be reasonably expected to cause great bodily harm or death.

2. To prevent a felony occurring in the person’s own home.

What are the definitions for the other levels of assault?

Assault in the second degree: There are two separations of this type of charge, each carrying its own sentencing and fines. The first is assault with a dangerous weapon. A conviction of this type of assault can result in jail time of up to seven years and/or a fine of up to $14,000.

The second is the more serious offence of the two: assault with a dangerous weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm. This charge may result in imprisonment for up to ten years and/or a fine of up to $20,000.

Assault in the third degree: There are three separations for this degree. The first is an attack on another person that results in substantial bodily harm. Note that no weapon is needed for this charge to hold.

The second classification is for those with a history of child abuse against a minor. If one has a history of abusing a minor, another assault on that minor can result in this charge being brought against them.

The third classification for this degree of assault is a felony offence. If the assault is against a victim under four years of age and results in harm to the child’s head, neck, or eyes, or causes multiple bruises to the child’s body, this charge is applicable.

Assaults in the fourth degree: This level of assault can result in a gross misdemeanor or a felony charge and is much too detailed to discuss here. For more information, please visit The Office of the Revisor of Statutes.

Assaults in the fifth degree: This level of assault is reserved for attacks on members of the person’s family or household. Continuing charges and convictions can result in increasing penalties.

As you can see, Minnesota is tough on those who commit violent crimes in their state, especially those guilty of assault in the first degree. If you find yourself charged with this, or any other level of assault, you need a good attorney that can help you walk through all of your defense options. For more information on obtaining us as your attorney, please contact us. We can help you create the best defense for your personal situation.