Post-Assault Jail Release and Hutchinson, MN Law Firms

If the defendant remains in jail pending trial, the defendant is behind the eight ball. Tha’s especially true regarding assault trials. These proceedings have many moving parts. Unless the defendant is free pending trial, some defensive options are probably unavailable.

Neither side should have a significant advantage or disadvantage during criminal matters. So, the Eighth Amendment guarantees reasonable bail in criminal cases.

That being said, McLeod County prosecutors have a number of natural advantages in assault cases. Prosecutors have a small army of investigators and other professionals at their fingertips. Moreover, they have almost unlimited financial resources. Finally, during a trial, the state has the first word and the last word.

Experienced professionals in Hutchinson, MN Law firms have the skills to overcome these advantages and level the playing field. But first things first. Jail release is the number one priority for both defendants and defense attorneys. And, there are a number of ways jail release could happen.

Assault Arrest Procedures in McLeod County

Most area law enforcement agencies have mandatory arrest policies. If officers respond to an assault call, someone immediately goes to jail. The officer’s call as to who started the fight is only a preliminary determination. It is not binding in court. But that fact may not prevent the defendant from being booked and held overnight.

Furthermore, family violence assault cases often involve protective orders. In fact, many departmental policies require officers to give the alleged victim protective order information. An assault arrest is just an accusation. But a protective order, even an ex parte order, is a judicial determination that the defendant assaulted the alleged victim. That determination could thow a very large monkey wrench in a family law proceeding.

Note that, in almost all situations, the officers did not witness the assault. Without personal knowledge, they cannot testify in court. As a result, many assault cases have proof problems. Hutchinson, MN law firms may be able to use these problems to reduce bail, as outlined below.

Hutchinson, MN Law Firms and Immediate Jail Release

Before we get to bail reconsideration, there is the matter of initial jail release. McLeod County offers limited pretrial release. If the defendant is accused of a nonviolent crime, like drug possession, a review board often recommends OR (Own Recognizance) release. The defendant promises to appear in court, and the sheriff opens the cell doors.

Since it is a violent crime, OR release is often not available in assault cases. A Hutchinson, MN law firm’s intervention may change that outcome, but it is not too likely.

So, in assault cases, immediate pretrial release usually means cash bail or a bail bond. The sheriff usually sets a presumptive bail amount based on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal record. Based on that amount, the defendant may opt for:

  • Cash Bail: Misdemeanor assault bail amount is usually less than $1,000. If the defendant posts that amount in cash and fulfills all bond conditions, the defendant gets most of that money back when the case is resolved. The obvious issue here is that, to most people, a few hundred dollars might as well be a few million.
  • Bail Bond: A criminal bail bond is like an insurance policy. A bonding company posts a surety bond and assumes the financial risk. If the defendant’s bail is revoked, the company, and not the individual, is liable for payment. Most bonding companies charge a 10 or 15 percent premium.

If the defendant has already partnered with a Hutchinson, MN law firm, initial release is usually easier to arrange, especially in misdemeanors.

Reconsidering Bond

If the defendant cannot afford bail, or if the judge did not set bail, this issue usually comes up during the arraignment. By law, this hearing must usually occur within about seventy-two hours of arrest.

Part of the arraignment, reading the charges, is often a formality. In fact, many Hutchinson, MN law firms waive reading of the charging documents. But that’s not always the case. Legally, police officers need not inform defendants of the charges against them. Sometimes, the arraignment is the first time the state puts these cards on the table.

Bail reconsideration may be an important element. As mentioned, many assualt cases have proof problems in court. Hutchinson, MN law firms can often leverage this lack of evidence into a lower bail amount. Alternatively, the prosecutor may agree to reduce bail if the defendant submits to additional conditions, like staying away from the alleged victim.

Connect with a Tenacious Attorney

Getting out of jail after an assault arrest is important, but not always easy. For a free consultation at a Hutchinson, MN law firm, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We routinely handle criminal law matters in McLeod County and nearby jurisdictions.

A Hutchinson, MN Lawyer Breaks Down the Five Types of Assault

As the outside temperature rises, the number of criminal assaults usually rises as well. Researchers say the reason is simple. Hot weather makes people cranky. So, a minor affront suddenly becomes a major offense which justifies, or even demands, a violent response. In some studies, hot weather increased the number of violent assaults by as much as 15 percent.

There are five different types of assault in Minnesota law. All of them have basically the same defenses. Sometimes, police officers did not have probable cause to enter private property and stop an assault. Other times, officers arrive after the alleged assault occurred. The alleged victim’s story is so shaky, perhaps because s/he was intoxicated, that officers make an arrest even though they lack probable cause.

In still other cases, the complaining witness moves beyond the court’s subpoena power or simply loses interest in the case. If these things happen, McLeod County prosecutors have a hard time establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A Hutchinson, MN lawyer can use these defenses, and others, to obtain a not-guilty verdict at trial, negotiate a favorable pretrial settlement, or have the case thrown out of court.

Fifth Degree Assualt

Simple assault is the most common kind of assault case in McLeod County, probably because it is the easiest kind of assault to prove in court.

In many cases, fifth-degree assault is a lot like common law assault. A credible threat of imminent violence is enough to satisfy the elements of this offense. In other words, prosecutors do not need to prove the defendant injured the alleged victim. IN fact, prosecutors do not even need to prove the defendant touched the alleged victim.

Fifth-degree assault could mean a maximum 90 days in jail. There are some collateral consequences as well. Assault is a crime of moral turpitude. That label could cause immigration, employment, and other problems.

Fourth-Degree Assault

The next step up is fourth-degree assault, which is a gross misdemeanor (maximum one year in jail). Prosecutors could upgrade the charges to a felony, in some cases.

This offense is basically fifth-degree assault with some aggravating circumstances. If the alleged victim is in a protected class, which includes police officers, probation officers, medical officers, and other public servants, the defendant will probably face fourth-degree charges if the alleged victim sustained no visible injury. Additionally, if there is hate crime evidence, fifth-degree assault moves up to fourth-degree assault. In Minnesota, it is illegal to target people because of their religion, sexual orientation, race, or disability. The required animus is sometimes difficult to prove in court.

Third-Degree Assualt

The least serious kind of felony assault could mean up to five years in prison. Prosecutors will file these charges if the defendant did not inflict serious bodily injury and the defendant did not use a deadly weapon. Additionally, Hutchinson, MN lawyers can reduce these charges to a misdemeanor unless the alleged victim:

  • Was a minor who had been physically abused before,
  • Suffered “considerable bodily harm,” or
  • Was under five years old at the time.

There are basically three levels of harm in Minnesota assault cases. Considerable bodily harm typically means putting someone in an ambulance for some superficial wound care. Substantial bodily harm basically means sending someone to the emergency room with a broken arm. Great bodily harm usually means putting someone in the intensive care unit with a ruptured spleen.

Many times, Hutchinson, MN lawyers can get the charges reduced because the defendant did not inflict the requisite amount of harm. For example, the alleged victim might check himself into the emergency room and leave before receiving treatment. In that situation, there may not be enough evidence to support felony charges.

Second-Degree Assualt

Defendants who use deadly weapons during assaults can be charged with second-degree of assault, regardless of the degree of injury. Under Minnesota law, pretty much anything can be a deadly weapon. Some examples include:

  • Guns,
  • Knives,
  • Bowling balls,
  • Frying pans,
  • Baseball bats, and
  • Golf clubs.

Prosecutors must establish that the defendant intended to use the object as a deadly weapon. Defendants who inflict substantial bodily harm face up to ten years in prison; others face up to seven years in prison.

First-Degree Assault

In layman’s terms, first-degree assault is one step short of murder or attempted murder. An alleged victim must suffer great bodily harm. These assaults usually, but do not always, involve deadly weapons. The maximum penalty is twenty years in prison.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

When the weather gets hot, people get hot as well. For a free consultation with an experienced Hutchinson, MN lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We routinely handle matters in McLeod County and nearby jurisdictions.

How Do Hutchinson Criminal Defense Lawyers Deal with Assault Charges?

There is a link between hot weather and assault cases. Statistically, assault rates usually peak in May and June when the weather is warm. When it gets hot in July and August, assault rates go down, because most people just want to run away.

So, we are getting close to another assault season. These offenses are among the most commonly-charged ones in McLeod County. Even if the defendant did not injure the alleged victim, a jury can still return an assault conviction. That’s also true if the defendant simply threatened the victim.

Fortunately for Hutchinson criminal defense lawyers, these prosecutions also have lots of moving parts. If there is a breakdown in any one area, the whole case usually comes crashing down.

Pretrial Issues

Police officers rarely stumble upon an assault in progress. Generally, they receive verbal information about a disturbance or another such incident. To justify an arrest, these tips must meet stringent legal requirements. McLeod County criminal judges look closely at things like:

  • Source: Most assault tips are anonymous tips, like “I heard two people fighting next door.” Tipsters who refuse to leave their names are unwilling to vouch for the flimsy information they provide. Furthermore, in anonymous tip cases, it’s almost impossible to determine the informer’s track record, if any.
  • Time: Assaults, especially warm-weather assaults, are spontaneous events. If the tip is more than a few minutes old, it’s probably no longer reliable. If officers make an arrest based on a stale tip, the arrest was probably just a coincidence. That coincidence does not make the tip reliable.
  • Specificity: The aforementioned “two people next door” tip is incredibly vague. There’s no way to tell which two people were fighting in which dwelling. This vague tip may not even justify an investigation, let alone an arrest. A tip like “Joe and Flo are at it again” might be sufficient.

Other cases are on the other extreme. Instead of a private conflict, the assault occurs at a large gathering, like a music festival. Officers on duty might see an assault take place in this context. But there are issues here as well.

For example, it’s often hard to separate alleged victims from alleged assailants. In most cases, a verbal fight became physically violent. Officers must determine who made the first credible threat or who threw the first punch. That determination is almost entirely subjective.

Hutchinson Criminal Defense Lawyers and Assault Defenses

Assault cases are among the few criminal law violations which require non-police witnesses. Of all the moving parts mentioned above, this aspect of a Section 609.244 or other similar infraction may be the most important to Hutchinson criminal defense lawyers.

But an attorney must tread carefully here. Some lawyers approach alleged victims to gauge their interest in the case. Alleged victims cannot “drop” charges, but they can tell prosecutors they do not want to pursue the case. However, it’s very easy for people to misinterpret or misrepresent such conversations. These misunderstandings could cause lots of trouble later.

The same thing could happen if a Hutchinson criminal defense lawyer offers to pay medical expenses. The unspoken quid for quo is that if the bills are paid, the witness will not cooperate with prosecutors. That sounds a lot like bribing a witness and obstructing justice, and prosecutors might see it that way as well.

Putting off the case may be one of the best defenses. Delays are frustrating for defendants. But during these delays, many alleged witnesses either lose interest in the case or move beyond the court’s subpoena power. Delay also gives a Hutchinson criminal defense lawyer time to fine-tune a defense. For example, many alleged victims were intoxicated during the incident. Alcohol affects memory and other key brain functions.

Legal defenses may be available as well. Minnesota is not a stand-your-ground state, but it is a castle doctrine state. So, if the incident occurred in the defendant’s home, self-defense is easier to establish in court.

Resolving Assault Cases in McLeod County

If the prosecutor’s case has any weaknesses or there is any applicable defense, it’s usually easier to engineer a favorable plea bargain, like pretrial diversion or deferred disposition. It’s important to keep an assault conviction off your record if at all possible. These offenses, especially domestic violence assault, have significant collateral consequences. And, in many cases, assault convictions cannot be expunged.

Voluntary rehabilitation may be the key. For example, if you have a substance abuse issue, a Hutchinson criminal defense lawyer may send you to Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Prosecutors are more willing to offer good deals if they believe the defendant is not a threat to society anymore.

Team Up with Experienced Attorneys

If you were charged with misdemeanor or felony assault, you have options. For a free consultation with an experienced Hutchinson criminal defense lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We routinely handle matters in McLeod County and nearby jurisdictions.

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