Getting into an altercation with another person is never enjoyable. While some people may have a verbal spat and go their separate ways without further incident, there are times when individuals can get into physical altercations. Law enforcement takes the latter incidents much more seriously, and if you find yourself at odds with another person, you could end up in a difficult spot.
It is likely that you would rather walk away from a belligerent person than actually come to blows. Of course, sometimes that choice is not up to you if another person makes you or a loved one feel physically threatened. In order to protect yourself or someone else, you may have had to fight back. Unfortunately, that may have led to your arrest.
Facing assault charges in Minnesota
Under Minnesota state law, assault charges come in varying degrees. If authorities suspect that a simple assault occurred, a misdemeanor charge may apply. Simple assault could involve intentionally causing or trying to cause injury or fear of injury or death. Additional assault categories range from fifth degree, which is least severe after simple assault, to first degree, which is most severe. The actions that could result in a higher degree charge include the following:
- Fifth-degree charges could occur after the intent to cause fear of injury or death or intentionally causing or trying to cause bodily harm.
- Fourth-degree charges could apply if an assault occurs against a police officer, firefighter, school official or other specific classes of individuals.
- Third-degree charges could result if the incident resulted in substantial bodily harm; if the victim was under the age of 4 and suffered injury to the head, neck or eyes; or under similar circumstances.
- Second-degree charges may apply if the situation involved a dangerous weapon or if it involved a dangerous weapon and resulted in substantial bodily harm.
- First-degree charges may result after an event that led to great bodily harm or if it involved deadly force against a peace officer, correctional employee, judge or prosecuting attorney.
Understanding the type of charge you face is essential in criminal cases. The allegations could range from a misdemeanor to a felony, and you undoubtedly want to ensure that you prepare for the appropriate type. Plus, the more severe the charge, the steeper the penalties you could face. Gaining more information on your specific circumstances could better ensure that you understand your defense options, particularly those relating to self-defense if applicable.