Assault – Intent to Cause Fear

Minnesota’s domestic assault laws do not require an offender to cause physical harm. Merely instilling fear of injury or harm into a family or household member is enough to land you in handcuffs for the offense. Domestic assault with the intent to cause fear, legally known as fifth-degree domestic assault, is typically charged as a low-level misdemeanor but can be reclassified to a felony under certain circumstances.

Domestic assault charges are serious. Not only could you spend time behind bars, but you could be denied access to your home, be fired from your job and lose your second amendment right. It’s critical you contact a criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested or charged with domestic assault.

Domestic Violence Attorney in Apple Valley

Just an accusation of domestic violence is enough to ruin your reputation. Members of your community will refuse to listen to your side of the story and will assume you are guilty until proven innocent. James Blumberg Law understands how trying this is for you, which is why we want to help. James Blumberg will investigate every aspect of your case and ensure your side of the story is heard.

Call (952) 431-7758 to take advantage of our free consultations. We are based in Apple Valley but regularly assist clients in areas such as Minneapolis, Anoka and Chaska.

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What is Intent to Cause Fear?

Domestic assault with the intent to cause fear is the lowest level of assault in the Minnesota Statutes. Despite the low-level charge, all assault allegations are serious and can have a significant long-term impact. You are not required to actually commit assault to be charged with the offense. Simply threatening that you will cause bodily harm is sufficient for a conviction.

The assault must have been committed against a family or household member. The Minnesota Statutes has a specific definition of what is considered a family or household member. According to state law, a family or household member is regarded as any of the following:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • Parents
  • Children
  • People related by blood
  • Individuals who currently live together
  • Individual who lived together in the past
  • Persons who share a child
  • Individuals involved in a romantic or sexual relationship 

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Penalties for Fifth-Degree Assault in Minnesota

As previously mentioned, assault with the intent to cause fear is the lowest level domestic assault charge in Minnesota. Under state law, fifth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor punishable by the following:

  • No more than a year of imprisonment; or
  • A fine of up to $3,000; or
  • Both a fine and time behind bars

Assault in the fifth degree will be reclassified to a felony if this is your second conviction within three years, or if the offense was against the same person within 10 years of the most recent conviction. If this is the case, you could spend up to five years in prison and pay a fine costing up to $10,000.

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Non-Criminal Consequences of an Assault Conviction

Before you decide to represent yourself or plead guilty to domestic assault charges, you should be aware of the unexpected consequences that come with conviction. In addition to criminal penalties, you will also have to endure non-criminal consequences that can affect multiple aspects of your life.

For one, conviction can affect your living arrangements If you live with the accuser, a judge may order that you do not enter the home. If this is the case, you will have to find a new place to live, which is harder than it sounds. Many landlords and housing units refuse to rent to individuals convicted of violent crimes like domestic assault.

When trying to get a job, the conviction will come up during a criminal background check and result in being denied job opportunities. Your current job could also be in jeopardy, especially if you are a teacher, police officer or firefighter. A domestic assault conviction can also impede your ability to receive promotions and leadership positions in any job.

This is just a few examples of non-criminal consequences that entail domestic assault charges. It’s advised you contact a defense attorney to prevent this from happening to you.

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Additional Resources

Domestic Assault | Minnesota Statutes – It’s advised you read up on the state’s domestic assault laws, especially if you’ve been charged with the offense. You can read the legal definition of the offense and learn about other domestic assault crimes. The statute can be read on the Minnesota Legislature website.

Domestic Abuse Act | Minnesota Statutes – Follow the link provided to learn more about family and household members. You can also gain access to information about the types of orders of protection, when an order can be modified or vacated and if an order can affect titles to real estate.

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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minneapolis

James Blumberg is a veteran attorney with over a decade of experience in criminal defense. He will evaluate the facts of your case and build a defense plan with your best interest in mind. Take the first step in your defense and contact James Blumberg Law at (952) 431-7758.

James Blumberg assists clients in areas across Minneapolis and Greater Minneapolis such as Dakota County, Anoka County, Carver County and Hennepin County.

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