Assault Charges in Minnesota: Fear vs. Harm

A common question clients often ask is how they can be charged with the crime of assault when the allegations against them do not involve any claim of actual physical harm to the accuser. The answer lies in how Minnesota Statutes define “assault,” which goes beyond how many people use the word in everyday conversations.

In Minnesota, assault is defined to include two separate types of acts. Under state law, Assault can be either “an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death,” or “the intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.”

The latter definition is the one most people think of when they hear the term assault. This covers situations where bodily harm is inflicted or attempted on another through punching, kicking or the like. But the one that catches some people off guard is being charged with assault based merely on the allegation that they put someone in fear of immediate bodily harm. This form of assault can be charged when a person is accused of engaging in threatening behavior with the intent to cause fear of bodily harm in another person, even if no actual bodily harm occurs.

There are five degrees of assault in Minnesota that can range from felony level offenses to misdemeanor level offenses. Which degree a person is charged with depends on the level of harm inflicted or whether a weapon was used. There is also a separate offense of domestic assault that covers assaults committed against persons that meet a certain statutory definition, such as spouses, relatives, significant others, or roommates.

Regardless of the level of assault a person is charged with, it is a serious criminal offense warranting a vigorous defense by lawyers who practice frequently in that area. Attorneys John J. Leunig and Justin J. Duffy have vast experience handling assault matters and they aggressively and intelligently defend clients accused in these cases.

If you or a loved one are facing charges of assault, or any other criminal offense, call the dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of John J. Leunig, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 952-540-6800 for a free consultation.

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