Assault charges can be the result of different kinds of circumstances. They may stem from exaggerated accusations, mutual altercations or arguments due to a misunderstanding. Furthermore, these alterations may involve self-defense or the defense of another person.
To defend charges of assault with a deadly weapon, it is best to seek the recommendation of an experienced assault lawyer in Minnesota. Though dropping assault charges depends purely on the case facts and details, a lawyer will be equipped with comprehensive knowledge about relevant assault laws. He/she will be in a position to defend clients by providing the best possible representation.
Let us now understand how Minnesota laws apply to charges of assault with deadly weapons.
What Are the Types of Assault with Deadly Weapons Charges?
The use of a deadly weapon for assault can be either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the severity and circumstances surrounding the assault.
Misdemeanor Assault with Deadly Weapon Charges in Minnesota
If the offender has used a deadly weapon during an assault, he/she may be levied of misdemeanor charges under the following circumstances:
The assault was committed with the intention of causing fear/immediate bodily harm or death
The accused was intentionally inflicted/attempted to inflict bodily harm on another person
“If the accused violates the provisions of subdivision 1 against the same victim within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency is termed guilty of a gross misdemeanor.”
The penalty for a gross misdemeanor may include a sentence of imprisonment of not more than one year or payment of a fine up to $3000, or both.
“If the accused violates the provisions of subdivision 1 within three years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than a year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3000, or both.”
Furthermore, it is important to note that one need not necessarily cause bodily harm to another individual to be charged by assault. Even having a firearm during the act can result in being charged with fifth-degree assault.
Felony Assault with Deadly Weapon Charges in Minnesota
According to the Statutes of Minnesota, felony assault with deadly weapon charges are imposed in the following scenarios:
“Whoever assaults another with a dangerous weapon may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years or to payment of a fine of not more than $14,000, or both.”
If substantial bodily harm occurs, the following penalties apply:
“Whoever assaults another with a dangerous weapon and inflicts substantial bodily harm may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.”
What Defenses Can Be Used against Assault with Deadly Weapon Charges?
Depending on the facts of the case, your assault lawyer may use the below-described defenses to get the charges minimized or even dropped.
Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to second-degree assault.
A person can claim self-defense in the following scenarios:
If the victim has initiated the confrontation
If the accused believes that the assault caused bodily harm to him/her
If the accused was not able to escape from the assault to a safe location
If only a negligible amount of force was used to stop the attack
Defense of Others
This kind of defense is similar to self-defense. This mechanism is used to defend others from bodily harm that may have been caused due to the assault.
Defense of Property
Defense of property can be used only in limited circumstances. For example, if someone has attempted to steal your wallet or harm your movable/immovable assets, the application of reasonable force to defend property can be used.
Lack of Evidence
The lack of evidence can be cited in cases wherein the weapon used for committing the assault is not found. Again, if the accused was present at the crime scene circumstantially, the assault charge may be questioned. These are a few ways to find loopholes in the prosecution’s case due to lack of evidence.
Mental incapability refers to the unstable status of the accused during the assault. It means that the accused did not have the mental stability to make a sound judgment about reacting to the assault. Therefore, the person in question should not be severely punished based on the statutes of law.
Involuntary intoxication can be used as a defense if the defendant proves that he/she was tricked into consuming drugs/alcohol. This could have prevented the defendant from understanding the intent of his/her actions.
However, the jury may accept voluntary intoxication as a defense based on the details of cases.
Using an alibi involves proving that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime, thereby proving that he/she is being falsely related to the assault charge. It may also need to be proven that the defendant was present elsewhere. For example, a third party may claim that the defendant was with them when the assault happened.
How Can a Lawyer Help in Dropping Assault Charges with Deadly Weapons?
The jury may have a wide degree of discretion when imposing a sentence for assault charges with deadly weapons. Several factors are taken into consideration during case evaluation. A few of them are as follows:
The ages of the victim and the defendant
If the defendant already has a criminal record
The strength of the evidence submitted by the prosecution
An experienced assault lawyer will be able to analyze the intricacies of the case and try to get the charges of an assault to lesser severity or even completely dismissed.
Assault allegations may result in serious penalties upon conviction. However, an assault lawyer will strive hard to support his/her client to the maximum extent possible and fight for the best representation based on the case facts.
Hopefully, the above-mentioned details will give you a comprehensive view of how assault charges with deadly weapons are presented in court and the possible defenses that may help fight these charges.
Reach out to Our Assault Lawyers in MN
For any further questions and legal help, feel free to connect with our experienced assault lawyers at our Buffalo office at (855) 215-6862 or contact us online and get a free consultation.