Man Yelling at Sad Woman

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence charges typically occur as assault charges. There are five degrees of assault charges, which vary in fine amounts and potential prison sentences. Not all domestic violence cases result in violence; you can be charged for threats as well. If you put a partner or family member in danger or threaten them, this could be grounds for an assault charge. Domestic violence cases vary greatly depending on the situation, but the common theme is a pattern of power over another person. This article will explore the different charges related to domestic violence.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is any kind of abusive behavior that’s part of a pattern of control and power over an intimate partner. It can include sexual assault, physical assault and battery, stalking, intimidation, and a variety of other abusive behaviors. Most commonly, domestic violence charges will fall under the umbrella of assault. Charges will vary depending on the frequency and severity of the act. Listed below are the most common forms of domestic violence that can occur:

  • Physical abuse such as hitting, cutting, or slapping.
  • Denying medical treatment.
  • Forcing drug or alcohol usage.
  • Sexual abuse or any sexual acts done without consent.
  • Martial rape.
  • Emotional abuse, including targeting a person’s self-esteem.
  • Consistent name-calling and other verbal assaults.
  • Making an individual financially reliant.
  • Taking over financial resources and withholding funds.
  • Not allowing a person to work or go to school.
  • Intimidation tactics meant to frighten the person.
  • Threatening to hurt oneself or other individuals.
  • Injuring pets.
  • Isolating a person from their family.
  • Stalking someone, whether physically, through phone calls, or online.
  • Unwarranted visits to someone’s home or work place.
  • Other repeated contacts, whether through social media or email.

The Different Types of Assault Cases

In the state of Minnesota, there are various degrees of assault charges. Each degree represents a specified severity and seriousness of assault and is associated with varying fines and punishments. Minnesota’s assault charges are as follows:

  • First degree: This is the most severe assault charge, meaning great bodily harm has occurred. Individuals charged with assault in the first degree may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 20 years, a fine of up to $30,000, or both. (MN Stat § 609.221)
  • Second degree: An individual is commonly charged with assault in the second degree when substantial bodily harm is inflicted, or a dangerous weapon was utilized to assault another individual. Individuals charged with assault in the second degree may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 7 years, a fine of up to $14,000, or both. (MN Stat § 609.222)
  • Third degree: If an assault results in substantial bodily harm or a minor has been assaulted, the individual will likely be charged with assault in the third degree. Individuals charged with assault in the third degree may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 5 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. (MN Stat § 609.223)
  • Fourth degree: A charge of assault in the fourth degree can be implemented if a “peace officer” is physically assaulted. The term “peace officer” refers to numerous professions such as firefighters and emergency medical personnel, school officials, transit operators, and more. Individuals charged with assault in the fourth degree may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 3 years, a fine of up to $6,000, or both. (MN Stat § 609.2231)
  • Fifth degree: This is the least severe of assault charges and can be implemented if an individual commits an act with the intent to cause or intentionally inflicts fear, immediate bodily harm, or death. If an individual is charged with numerous fifth-degree assault charges, the misdemeanor will be enhanced to a felony. Individuals charged with assault in the fifth degree may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 1 year, a fine of up to $3,000, or both. (MN Stat § 609.224)

Domestic Violence Case Process

You might be wondering what happens in a domestic violence case. First, it’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the court process. After an arrest, an arraignment will take place. Allegations are issued here, and you will be asked to issue a plea. New court dates will be set after the arraignment and your defense lawyer will start to build the case.

Your criminal history and the victim’s history will be vital to the case, as will other factors relating to the case, such as possible injuries. Witnesses may be called, especially those who understand the relationship between the victim and the accused. The defense will also call witnesses who will have positive comments about the accused.

It’s essential for defendants to provide any valuable information to their criminal defense attorney in domestic violence cases. In certain cases, this can include information about the victim’s violent behavior, drug addiction, or false accusations made in the past. All of these details will be vital in building a case.

The next step is a jury trial. A plea bargain offer can be made before, during, or after this trial. It’s essential to understand what the plea bargain entails, and whether it includes prison time or probation. If the defendant is convicted and no plea deal is made, they could face jail time or fines. Because of the nature of domestic violence cases, the sentence could also include required counseling and the issuance of a protective order. The defendant may lose the right to a firearm.

Contact an Experienced Minneapolis Domestic Violence Attorney

Have you been faced with a domestic violence charge? Criminal defense attorney, Lauren Campoli, is dedicated to protecting your future. Assault charges can be life-changing, and a strong defense strategy is required to get the outcome you deserve. One allegation shouldn’t tarnish your entire future, and seeking guidance from an experienced domestic violence attorney will ensure you’re represented correctly in court. To see how Lauren Campoli can help you, call the Law Office of Lauren Campoli at (612)-810-0060 or complete our online form now to discuss next steps.