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Sadly, domestic assault charges are one of the top three most common offenses in which we issue bail bonds. Minnesota has a reputation for some of the toughest assault laws in the country. Of course, each case is unique and has a variety of contributing factors. Here are some common terms, statistics, and frequently asked questions when it comes to assault charges:

What does an assault charge mean? A first-degree assault  is characterized by physically assaulting someone to the point of great bodily harm, putting a person at risk of death, causing disfigurement or loss of use. First-degree assault is a felony charge and carries up to 20 years in prison with $30,000 in fines. There is also the possibility of facing second, third, fourth and fifth degree assault charges. 

Is that different from domestic assault? Another charge, domestic assault,  can have varying degrees of charges and consequences depending on history, past offenses, injury to the victim, and other contributing factors. Typically in Minnesota, a first offense domestic assault is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

What defines domestic assault in MN? In MN, Domestic Assault it is against the law to “intentionally inflict physical harm” or “cause fear of immediate physical harm or death” to another family or household member, including:

  • 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 
  • persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship

Can charges of domestic assault vary? Yes, if a person with a criminal history with any prior offenses of qualified domestic abuse, then the newest charge can be even more serious. While it may not change the charges or facts presented, a prior history can change the consequence issued by the state. 

Did you know?

  • Nearly 35% of all Minnesota law enforcement calls are domestic disputes.
  • Domestic violence affects one in four Minnesota women.
  • Women aged 18-34 have the highest risk of victimization.
  • Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury to women, exceeding injuries caused by muggings, stranger rape and automobile accidents combined.

If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic assault, please contact 911.