Two Ways to Commit Assault In Minnesota

Did you know that you can be convicted of Assault in Minnesota without ever making physical contact or causing harm to another? It’s true!

There are two forms of assault under Minnesota law. The first is “the intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.” This is often referred to as Assault-Harm. The second is “an act done intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death.” This is referred to Assault-Fear. Find them at: Minnesota Statute § 609.02, subdivision 10.

Assault-Fear is a specific-intent crime, meaning, there must be proof that you “intended to cause a particular result.” i.e. (cause fear of immediate bodily harm without actual contact). Assault-Harm is a general-intent crime, or in other words, the statute simply prohibits a person from intentionally engaging in the prohibited conduct. i.e. (causing harmful physical contact to another).

In the most recent Minnesota Court of Appeals decision on this issue, State v. Dorn, 875 N.W.2d 357 (Minn. Ct. App. 2016), the Defendant was charged with First-Degree Assault for pushing the victim and causing him to fall into a nearby fire. The Defendant told police that she did not intend for him to fall into the fire, but only to push him away after he had insulted her. To support her position, the Defendant argued that to prove assault-harm the State need to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she intended “to do the prohibited act,” which was to inflict bodily harm.

The Court rejected her argument. Instead, the Court held that all that was necessary was to prove that some degree of physical force was intentionally used against another and was a substantial cause of the bodily harm. The Defendant was convicted of First-Degree Assault because the evidence sufficiently showed that she intentionally pushed the victim, which resulted in him tripping and falling into the fire.

Whether you face assault charges or another violent crime, contact an experienced attorney immediately—before you talk to the police. A bad outcome could result in a lifetime of negative consequences, including the inability to secure a job, a loan or a house. You need to be sure you get criminal defense from the moment you are accused until your case is tried.

The attorneys at Sieben and Cotter Law have the experience that you need. Together we have over a dozen complete jury acquittals on assault cases, as well as dozens of charge dismissals in our careers. We will take immediate action to protect your rights and achieve the outcome you deserve.

Call Sieben & Cotter at 651-455-1555 to arrange a free and comprehensive consultation or send a request for more information.