Under Minnesota law, domestic assault is similar to assault except that the identity of the victim is someone that is related to or lives with the accused. Domestic assault may be charged as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony offense.

Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 1 defines domestic assault as an act committed “with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death” or an act that “intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another” against a family or household member. A family or household member can be your spouse, former spouse, parents/children, persons related by blood, roommate, persons who have a child together or persons involved in a significant romantic relationship. The first domestic assault conviction under the statute is a misdemeanor offense.

If someone is charged with domestic assault within ten years of a previous “domestic violence-related offense,” Minn. Stat. § 609.2243 provides for a mandatory jail term if that person is convicted of domestic assault unless certain conditions are met. These qualified prior offenses, listed in Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 16, include a wide range of offenses such as violation of an order for protection, terroristic threats, assault, and criminal sexual conduct. Under Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 2, a person who commits a domestic assault within ten (10) years of a previous “qualified domestic violence-related offense” may be charged with a gross misdemeanor and sentenced up to one year in prison. Under Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 4, a person who commits domestic assault within ten years of two or more domestic violence-related offenses may be convicted of a felony and sentenced to five years of prison, a payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

If you have been charged with domestic assault, a criminal defense attorney can conduct a thorough investigation of the facts and evidence, file the necessary court documents, and serve as a strong advocate in the courtroom. Contact a criminal defense attorney at Blahnik Law Office, PLLC for a complimentary initial consultation to discuss your case.