Laws on First-Degree Assault in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the law defines assault as: (1) an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or (2) the intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another. There are varying degrees of the crime that a person may be charged with. The most serious is first-degree assault. A first-degree assault charge is classified as a felony, which means that a person convicted could receive a prison sentence of more than one year.

  1. Great Bodily Harm

    • The first criteria that an assault must meet in order to press charges of first-degree assault is that there must have been "great bodily harm" inflicted. Under Minnesota Statute 69.02 Subdivision 8, the definition of great bodily harm "means bodily injury that creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm."

    Against Peace Officer or Correctional Employee

    • Under Subdivision 2 of 609.22, if the assault was against a peace officer or correctional employee and involved the use or attempted use of deadly force against the officer or employee while the officer or employee was engaged in the performance of a duty, the charge for the crime would be first-degree assault. Deadly forced is defined as force used with the intention of causing death or great bodily harm.


    • A person convicted of first-degree assault faces a mandatory sentence of imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $30,000, or both. If the assault was against a peace officer or correctional employee, as described in the statute, then the penalty shall be a sentence of a minimum of 10 years up to a maximum of 20 years.

      The defendant is not eligible for probation, parole, discharge, work release or supervised release, until he has served the full term of the prison sentence imposed by the court.

    Other Degrees of Assault

    • Minnesota Law has several other levels of assault, including second-degree and third-degree assault, which, like first-degree assault, are classified as felonies. Fourth-degree and fifth-degree assault are classified as misdemeanors. A sixth classification of assault -- knowingly transmitting disease -- is also considered a misdemeanor.

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