If so, hiring a criminal defense attorney is the best thing you can do to fight these allegations. The team at Brandt Criminal Defense have over 30 years of experience handling domestic assault allegations. We have successfully defended these charges and have secured not guilty verdicts in jury trials, dismissals, and negotiated significantly reduced charges.
Domestic assault is generally defined as:
- Causing and/or inflicting fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
- Against a family or household member
- Spouses and former spouses
- Parents and children
- People related by blood
- People who presently reside together or who have resided together in the past
- People with a child in common
- People involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship
Domestic assault can encompass a variety of actions. These actions can be physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse between family or household members. The possible consequences of a domestic assault conviction include jail or prison time and fines. In addition to these consequences you could also face collateral consequences if you are convicted of domestic assault. A domestic assault conviction could impact child custody or divorce proceedings, volunteer opportunities, and your ability to possess a firearm.
Let us work with you to develop a plan to protect you and your future.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation at 763-421-6366.
Domestic Assault Information & Guides
All penalties listed below are the maximum penalty that can be imposed under Minnesota Law unless otherwise specified.
- Domestic assault:
Misdemeanor: 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Gross Misdemeanor: one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.
Felony: 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Domestic assault by strangulation: Felony: 3 years and/or a $5,000 fine.
Domestic Assault (Minn. Stat. § 609.2242)
Domestic Assault is the same as Fifth Degree Assault when the alleged victim is a family or household member. (Whoever commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or whoever intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another is guilty of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault.)
Domestic Assault By Strangulation (Minn. Stat. § 609.2247)
Whoever assaults a family or household member by strangulation is guilty of Felony Domestic Assault by Strangulation.
Family or Household Member: spouses and former spouses, parents and children, persons related by blood, persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been marries or have lived together at any time, a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, and persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.
Qualified domestic violence-related offense: “Qualified domestic violence-related offense” includes a violation of or an attempt to violate sections 518B.01, subdivision 14 (violation of domestic abuse order for protection); first-degree murder; second-degree murder; first-degree assault; second-degree assault; third-degree assault; fourth-degree assault; fifth-degree assault; domestic assault; domestic assault by strangulation; first-degree criminal sexual conduct; second-degree criminal sexual conduct; third-degree criminal sexual conduct; fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct; malicious punishment of a child; terroristic threats; violation of harassment restraining order; stalking; interference with an emergency call; and violation of domestic abuse no contact order.
Strangulation: intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.
What if I have a prior conviction in another state?
A conviction for something that is a qualified domestic violence-related offense or similar law in another state or jurisdiction is treated the same as a conviction in Minnesota and can be used to enhance a crime.
My spouse doesn’t want this case to go forward. Can she drop the charges?
No, only the prosecutor can dismiss the charges. Your spouse can provide her input to the prosecutor and the court about whether she wants the charges to go forward, but your spouse does not control whether the charges are dismissed.
The charges say I caused him fear. But he isn’t afraid of me at all. Can this be dropped?
Probably not because how he feels now is largely irrelevant to your determination of guilt. In order to convict you of assault, the state must prove that you either:
- Committed an act with the intent to cause fear in him of immediate bodily harm or death; OR
- Intentionally inflicted or attempted to inflict bodily harm upon another.
If you’re charged with the “fear” version, then it matters less whether or not he is afraid of you. Instead, what matters more is whether the state has evidence to prove that you intended to cause him fear of immediate bodily harm or death on the date of the alleged offense. This evidence usually includes statements he (or other witnesses) made to the police. His lack of fear of you now, however, is an important consideration in negotiating a plea deal.
The court issued a no-contact order. But all my stuff is at my house. Can I go get my stuff?
Yes, you can arrange an escort through your local police or sheriff’s department to go to the residence to collect your personal items. Typically this must be approved by the judge that issued the no contact order.
The court has issued a no-contact order. But she keeps contacting me. Can I see her if she says it’s ok?
No! No contact orders are one-sided and inflexible. It doesn’t matter if the person who has the no-contact order against you says it’s ok for you to see her. Once the order is issued, it can only be changed by a judge. While the order is in effect, if the two of you have contact, no matter who initiates it, the only person who faces consequences is you (the one who is prohibited from having contact).
The other person is actually the one harassing me. Can I get a restraining order against this person?
Yes. You must fill out a petition form and present it to the court in either the county where you or the other person live, or where the harassment occurred. In your form you must describe the harassment that you’ve suffered. A judge must approve the restraining order and may require a hearing. More information about getting a harassment restraining order can be found here.
Can I sue the other person for making this up and having me arrested?
Yes, you can sue the other person in civil court for making a false police report. However, the reality of winning a judgment is not great. This person may also face criminal charges for falsely reporting a crime, under Minn. Stat. § 609.505.
Will this affect my gun rights?
Yes. A conviction for any domestic violence crime carries a three-year prohibition of possessing firearms under Minnesota law and a lifetime prohibition under federal law. A domestic violence crime includes any domestic assault, which includes all assaults committed against family or household members. However, you can avoid these firearms prohibitions with a dismissal of the charges or a resolution of the case by pleading to a non-domestic violence crime, such as disorderly conduct.
The sheriff came and took all my guns. What will happen to my firearms?
If law enforcement took your firearms, then that means either a firearm was alleged to have been used during the commission of the crime, or a court found an imminent risk of substantial bodily harm to others. Law enforcement will hold on to your firearms for the length of your prohibited possession period. If a firearm was not used during the commission of the alleged crime, then this period is up to three years under Minnesota law. If a firearm was used in the alleged crime, then this period may extend for life. While law enforcement keeps your firearms, they can charge you reasonable storage fees.
The police reports are totally wrong. Can I get them to correct the police reports?
Generally speaking, no. Police officers are unlikely to revise their reports. While it’s feasible to give a new statement to the police and they could write a new, separate report with your new statement, we strongly advise against speaking to any law enforcement without an attorney present.
Anytime you are charged with a crime, you should do two things:
1. Contact a criminal defense attorney; and,
2. Do NOT talk to the cops.
Only in extremely rare circumstances do we recommend communicating with the cops and any decision to do so should be made with the advice of counsel and with an attorney present.