A person commits assault in the second degree in Minnesota when they commit an assault with a dangerous weapon. Some cases involve the infliction of substantial bodily harm, which is less than the great bodily harm involved in many first degree assault cases.
While second degree assault is not technically as severe as assault in the first degree, the potential penalties are still serious. Alleged offenders can be sentenced to lengthy prison sentences and may be ordered to pay large fines.
Were you arrested or do you think that you might be under investigation for a second degree assault in Minnesota? Make sure you contact the Barry Hogen Law before saying anything to authorities.
Our firm can conduct an independent investigation of your incident and work to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome that results in the fewest possible consequences. You can have our Minneapolis Assault Defense Attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (612) 338-5545 or fill out an online contact form to set up a free consultation.
Second Degree Assault Laws in Minnesota
Under Minnesota Statute § 609.221(1), a person commits assault in the second degree if they assault another person with a dangerous weapon. Minnesota Statute § 609.221(2) further establishes that a person also commits assault in the second degree if they assault another person with a dangerous weapon and inflict substantial bodily harm.
Minnesota Statute § 609.02(10) defines assault as inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm in another, or causing fear that you will inflict bodily harm in another. Under Minnesota Statute § 609.02(7a), substantial bodily harm constitutes an injury that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, loss of function, or fracture of any body part.
A dangerous weapon as defined under Minnesota Statute § 609.02(6) includes loaded and unloaded firearms, flammable liquids, fire, or any other weapon or object capable of causing injury or death.
Penalties for a Second Degree Assault Conviction
In general, the possible sentence that can be imposed will depend on whether the alleged offense resulted in substantial bodily harm.
A violation of Minnesota Statute § 609.221(1) is punishable by:
- Up to seven years in prison; and/or
- Fine of up to $14,000.
A violation of Minnesota Statute § 609.221(2), however, is punishable by:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and/or
- Fine of up to $20,000.
Because assault in the second degree is a felony in Minnesota, a conviction can also result in the loss of several civil rights. A person convicted of second degree assault can lose their right to serve on a jury, vote, and possess firearms, explosives, or similar devices.
Convictions will also appear in all criminal background record checks, which can cause repeated problems in matters concerning employment, housing, or professional licensing. Even when a person is not sentenced to a full prison term, they may still be placed on probation. A violation of any term of probation will result in new criminal charges.
Defending Against Second Degree Assault Charges
Self-defense is one of the most common defenses against second degree assault charges. However, self-defense is only an applicable defense if the self-defense was “reasonable” as defined by the Supreme Court of Minnesota in State v. Glowacki. This means that you had to reasonably believe you were in danger, that violence was the only option, and that the level and type of harm you caused was warranted.
A similar defense against second degree assault charges is defense of another person. This may be especially applicable during domestic violence altercations involving children, wherein one partner feared for the safety of the children. Just like self-defense, the actions taken to defend another person must be considered reasonable.
Defense of property is another possible defense against second degree assault charges. In Minnesota, it is legal to use lethal force to defend your home from invasion. You may also use force to defend or retrieve property stolen from your person, such as a purse snatcher. However, you may not use force to retrieve disputed property, such as during divorce proceedings.
In some cases, an alleged offender may want to challenge the prosecutor’s definition of a dangerous weapon or substantial bodily harm. If the circumstances of a case do not satisfy these definitions, the criminal charges may have to be dismissed.
Minnesota Statute § 609.06 lists 10 circumstances in which reasonable force can be used toward another person without consent, any of which may be used as a defense. These include helping an officer to arrest or recapture a person lawfully held for a crime.
Another possible defense is, simply, innocence. If you were misidentified via eyewitness accounts, surveillance footage, or other means, you may have an alibi for the crime that can free you from the charges. Even without an alibi, if you are able to introduce any doubt into the proceedings, you may be able to save yourself. In the United States, a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof rests on the prosecution. They must be able to prove within a reasonable doubt that you were the perpetrator of the crime.
Contact Us For A Free Consultation
If you believe that you could be under investigation or you were already arrested for assault in the second degree anywhere in Minnesota, it is in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. The Law Office of Barry Hogen aggressively defends clients in communities all over the greater Minneapolis area.
Our firm can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (612) 338-5545 or contact us online to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.