If You Have Been Charged with Second Degree Assault: What Does It Mean and What Are Your Next Steps?
What Does 2nd Degree Assault Mean?
Second Degree Assault is a felony-level offense defined under Minnesota Statute Section 609.222. The maximum prison time that you face (7-10 years) depends on the level of harm caused to the victim. Both subdivisions are defined below:
- Subdivision 1. Dangerous weapon.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.
- Subdivision 2. Dangerous weapon; substantial bodily harm. 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 is a “dangerous weapon?”
A dangerous weapon does not have to only be an object that was designed to be a weapon like a firearm or knife, but it can also include any object or instrument that, in the way you use it, can likely cause death or serious injury. The statutory definition under Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 6 states,
“Dangerous weapon” means any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm, any combustible or flammable liquid or other device or instrumentality that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm, or any fire that is used to produce death or great bodily harm.
What is “substantial bodily harm?”
The Minnesota Legislature and Courts have not provided much guidance as to what exactly this term means, but there are three general categories:
- A temporary but substantial disfigurement;
- A temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; or
- A fracture of any bodily member.
Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 7a. In general, substantial bodily harm is caused when the victim suffers a bone is broken, a significant cut or laceration, and/or a temporary limp or other temporary loss of normal function.
What Are Your Next Steps?
Timing is Critical. Second Degree Assault charges are very serious and carry with them lifelong consequences. The first thing that you need to do is to get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. It is important to do this even BEFORE speaking to the police because what seems like an innocent explanation to you CAN and WILL be used against you in court.
Second Degree Assault is a specialty of the attorneys at Sieben and Cotter. We can help you get out in front of the charges against you and work to establish a number of DEFENSES:
- Prosecution lacks evidence to prove the case
- Defense of Others
- Voluntary or Involuntary Intoxication
Not only is it our specialty, but we have achieved proven results over the last few years:
Not Guilty Jury Verdict — Dakota County — Second Degree Assault
Not Guilty Jury Verdict — Dakota County— Aggravated Second Degree Assault
Not Guilty Jury Verdict — Hennepin County — 2nd Degree Assault; Terroristic Threats
Not Charged — Hennepin County — Assault with a Knife