Domestic Violence and the Holidays
The holidays. A time of gift giving, celebrating, and spending time with loved ones. Alcohol pours and spirits rise as a new year approaches. However, the holidays can also bring about a significant amount of stress and tension. Experts say the end of the year creates a toxic storm, with alcohol mixing with financial stress and relatives being in close quarters for an extended period.1 According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, domestic violence reports increase by approximately thirty percent on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.2
Minnesota’s domestic assault laws are broad, and you can be charged with domestic assault without ever putting hands on a family or household member. It is important to understand the language of Minnesota’s domestic assault statutes, because Domestic Assault charges can result in serious consequences with long lasting ramifications.
Minnesota Domestic Assault Statutes
- Commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate harm or death; or
- Intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.
- Whoever commits a Misdemeanor Domestic Assault within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or an adjudication of delinquency is guilty of a Gross Misdemeanor.
- Whoever uses a firearm in any way during commission of a domestic assault is guilty of a Gross Misdemeanor.
- Whoever commits a Misdemeanor Domestic Assault or a Misdemeanor Assault in the Fifth Degree, within ten years of the first of any combination of two or more previous qualified domestic violence-related offense convictions or adjudications of delinquency is guilty of a felony.
- Whoever strangles or suffocates a family or household member is guilty of a felony.
Misdemeanor: May be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 90 days and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.
Gross Misdemeanor: May be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year and/or payment of a fine of not more than $3,000.
Domestic Assault Felony: May be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years and/or payment of a fine of not more than $10,000.
Domestic Assault by Strangulation Felony: May be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years and/or payment of a fine of not more than $5,000.
Assault: A person commits assault by:
- Intentionally inflicting bodily harm;
- Attempting to inflict bodily harm; or
- Committing an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death.
Family or Household Members:
- 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 married 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 Offenses include:
- Domestic Assault;
- Domestic Assault by Strangulation;
- Female Genital Mutilation;
- Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images;
- Criminal Sexual Conduct;
- Malicious Punishment of a Child;
- Violation of Harassment Restraining Order, Domestic Abuse Order for Protection, or Domestic Abuse No Contact Order;
- Harassment or Stalking; or
- Interference with an Emergency Call.
Strangulation: intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by:
- Applying pressure on the throat or neck; or
- Blocking the nose or mouth of another person.
What to Do If You Have Been Charged with Domestic Assault
Being charged with domestic assault can lead to serious consequences, such as protective orders or no contact orders being filed, firearm bans and forfeitures, and the stress of a potential conviction weighing on your shoulders. If you are charged with domestic assault, it is imperative to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case. If you have questions about your situation, contact Brandt Criminal Defense at 763.421.6366 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
1Caren Lissner, New Year’s Eve is Coming – The Deadliest Time for Domestic Violence (Dec. 15, 2019), https://medium.com/@CarenLissner/new-years-eve-is-coming-the-deadliest-time-for-domestic-violence-c8a1953d78db (last visited Dec. 20, 2019).
1Myra Fleischer, New Year’s Eve Puts Women in Danger of Domestic Violence (Dec. 30, 2011), https://www.commdiginews.com/life/new-years-eve-puts-women-in-danger-of-domestic-violence-8799/ (last visited Dec. 20, 2019).