Criminal assault can happen in a variety of circumstances.
The types of charges vary depending on the circumstances and the severity of the harm.
Second-degree assaults involve a dangerous weapon and carry serious penalties.
If you are facing 2nd-degree assault charges, contact a qualified Minnesota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options.
What Is Second-Degree Assault?
Under Minnesota law, second-degree assault is a felony offense. Second-degree assault charges fall into two different subdivisions:
- Subdivision 1, assault with a dangerous weapon, and
- Subdivision 2, assault with a dangerous weapon that causes substantial bodily harm.
A “dangerous weapon” can include numerous different objects if used as a weapon to harm another person.
Dangerous weapons include:
- Any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded;
- Any combustible or flammable liquid; and
- Any other object that is used or intended to be used to cause great bodily harm or death.
Under subdivision 2, if a person causes substantial bodily harm to another person while using a dangerous weapon, the aggressor will face heftier penalties.
Minnesota law defines “substantial bodily harm” as bodily injury that:
- Involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement,
- Causes a temporary but substantial loss of function of a body part, or
- Causes a fractured or broken bone.
It is important to remember that a person can face 2nd-degree assault charges even if substantial bodily injury does not occur. Even threatening someone with a dangerous weapon may be sufficient evidence to prove guilt.
2nd-Degree Assault Sentences
People charged with 2nd-degree assault face felony charges and serious consequences. Under subdivision 1, if you commit an assault with a dangerous weapon, but the victim does not suffer substantial bodily injury, you may face:
- Jail time up to seven years,
- A fine of up to $14,000, or
- A combination of jail time and monetary fines.
Second-degree assaults that cause substantial bodily harm carry harsher penalties. Subdivision 2 second-degree assault sentences include:
- Imprisonment of up to ten years,
- A fine of up to $20,000, or
- A combination of jail time and fines.
Second-degree assault charges are very serious and can substantially disrupt your life. A criminal defense attorney can help you assess your options and figure out the best course of action.
How Will It Affect Me?
In addition to the possible legal penalties, felony convictions can affect you long after you pay your fines and serve your jail sentence.
Felony convictions may:
- Prevent you from securing a job,
- Limit your ability to find housing, and
- Prevent you from obtaining student loans for education expenses.
Because second-degree assault charges carry such severe penalties, it is critical that you seek an experienced attorney to help you defend your interests. Your attorney can help you understand your legal options and craft a defense that improves your chances of success.
Defenses to Second-Degree Assault Charges
Depending on the facts of your case, several different defenses may be available. The most common types of defenses to second-degree assault are described below.
Self-Defense and Defense of Others
Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to second-degree assault.
A person can claim self-defense when:
- The alleged victim initiated the confrontation,
- You reasonably believed you faced immediate bodily injury,
- You could not escape or retreat to a safe location, and
- You used only enough reasonable force to stop the attack.
Defense of others is another common defense to second-degree assault. Defense of others is the same as self-defense except that you may use reasonable force to protect others from imminent bodily injury.
Defense of Property
A person may also reasonably defend their property, but only in limited circumstances. For example, if someone steals your property, such as a wallet, directly from your person, you may use reasonable force to protect your property.
Other types of defenses to second-degree assault include:
- Lack of sufficient evidence,
- Consent to the contact,
- Voluntary or involuntary intoxication, and
- An alibi.
A strong defense can result in dismissal of all of your charges, or the defense can help reduce your criminal sentence. However, successfully proving your defense is a complex process. Working with a skilled Minnesota criminal defense attorney will improve your chances for success and help you return to your normal life as quickly as possible.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
Experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorneys understand the nuances of the criminal justice system. The attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., have a comprehensive understanding of the relevant laws and decades of experience defending clients in state and federal courts.
Our attorneys will advise you on what to do after an arrest to avoid making the situation worse. In addition, our team of attorneys and staff will handle all of the steps necessary to create a strong legal defense.
Our team of attorneys and staff can help you by:
- Performing factual investigations, gathering witness statements, and other relevant documents;
- Gathering medical records and hospital reports;
- Collecting police crime scene reports;
- Negotiating agreements and pleas with the prosecutor; and
- If necessary, defending you during trial.
As soon as you are arrested, you have a right to a lawyer, and you should exercise that right. Working with an attorney improves the chances the court or prosecutor will dismiss your case or reduce your charges.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you are facing second-degree assault charges, contact the law firm of Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., today. Our dedicated staff cares deeply about our clients, and we will assist you every step of the way.
We provide hands-on, personalized legal services, and we will fight aggressively to defend your interests. Call our offices at 651-401-7926 or fill out an online form today.