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How Is Domestic Assault Defined Under Minnesota State Law?

Minnesota law says that a person who 1) commits an act with intent to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death, or 2) intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon a family or household member is guilty of domestic assault. So you don’t even have to lay a finger on someone to be charged with domestic assault. 

How Do Police Determine Who Is At Fault In A Domestic Assault Scenario?

When law enforcement arrives at the scene of an alleged domestic assault, they typically separate the people involved and question each of them in an attempt to determine what actually happened. In the great majority of situations, someone will be arrested by law enforcement, if for no reason other than to separate the parties for the night. More often than not, the male is arrested, even sometimes when the accuser does not want them arrested or charged.

What Charges Will I Be Facing If I Am Arrested In A Domestic Assault Scenario?

There are different degrees of domestic assault in Minnesota. Misdemeanor domestic assault charges carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. Gross misdemeanor domestic assault charges and felony charges carry a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail. Felony charges can mean more than a year in prison. The sentence in a particular case will depend on the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of the alleged victim’s injuries, whether or not a strangulation was alleged, and whether or not threats of violence were alleged. Prior convictions for domestic assault may enhance the charges and penalties. 

Can I Have Contact With My Children While Facing A Domestic Assault Case?

Courts will often issue a domestic abuse no contact order (DANCO) in a domestic assault case, which would preclude the alleged offender from speaking to their children or returning to their home. These orders can be dropped or modified on a case-by-case basis, even sometimes when the prosecution objects, which they often do. 

Is An Order Of Protection Automatically Put In Place When Someone Is Charged with Domestic Assault?

An order of protection or DANCO is not always automatically put in place after a domestic assault charge, but judges typically order them along with the charges. 

What Penalties Are Associated With A Domestic Violence Conviction?

A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, while a felony domestic violence conviction carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. 

What Happens If The Alleged Victim Recants Allegations Of Domestic Abuse? Will The Case Be Dropped?

If an alleged victim recants allegations of domestic abuse, the prosecution will often move forward with the case anyway. Ultimately, the decision to pursue a domestic violence case is made by the prosecution, but some consideration can be given to the alleged victim if they decide that they do not want to move forward.  

What Kinds Of Defense Strategies Can Be Used In Domestic Assault Cases?

An act that meets the elements of self-defense is absolutely a strong defense. In Minnesota, an individual has no obligation to retreat into their if they are in their own home. Other defenses include arguing that there is a lack of intent or that a verbal argument should not rise to the level of a domestic assault or does not have probable cause for domestic assault charges. Additionally, we have a private investigator that can help with interviews and obtaining other information. Ultimately, the government has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. 

Additionally, sometimes accusers are really upset when they call police and will say things in police questioning at the scene out of anger or excitement that are not really true. In those instances, if the accuser is willing to cooperate, we will obtain an interview with the truth in mind, and present that in an effort to get the charges dropped or to have the truth come out at trial. Accusers in this situation may wonder if they will get in trouble if they were not initially truthful with the police and want to tell the truth later. In our experience, they are seldom if ever charged, and they also have the right to consult with an independent lawyer before making the decision to give a truthful interview. Nobody should be threatened with a crime for wanting to set the record straight. 

For more information on domestic assault charges in Minnesota, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling Ryan Pacyga Criminal Defense at 612-474-5420 today.