Assault Against a Peace Officer

No one wants to be touched or hit in an unwanted or offensive manner. Doing so, or even attempting to do so, is classified as assault in Minnesota. The offense is heavily prosecuted when committed against a civilian, but the court will take it a step further if you assaulted a police officer.

You are not required to cause any bodily harm to the officer. Simply pushing their hands out of the way is enough to be charged for the offense. Assaulting a police officer has the potential to be charged as a felony, so it’s advised you seek legal representation.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Apple Valley 

Charges for assaulting a police officer are typically handed down in addition to charges for another offense, which will result in double the time behind bars and more expensive fines. Don’t let this happen to you. Your chances of a more favorable outcome are much higher when a defense attorney is by your side. Find that attorney at James Blumberg Law.

James Blumberg has more than a decade of experience defending the rights of men and women in Minnesota. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a time to speak with James Blumberg Law.  We are based in Dakota County, but regularly assist clients in areas such as Anoka County, Carver County and Hennepin County.


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What is Considered Assault in Minnesota?

Charges for assaulting a police officer are typically the result of a frightening and emotionally charged situation, most of which are not accurately portrayed in police reports. Your actions will have to meet the legal definition of assault for the court to convict you of the offense. According to the Minnesota statutes, you can meet this definition in two ways, including:

  • Intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm
  • Intending to cause fear of bodily harm or death

According to the Minnesota Statutes, a peace officer is an employee of the state who is licensed to enforce general criminal law and has the power to make arrests. This can include Minnesota Troopers, state conservation officers, park police and police officers at the University of Minnesota.

Assaulting a police officer is charged as assault in the fourth degree. You can be charged with the offense for assaulting other public servants as well. Keep in mind; these individuals are not peace officers.

Assaulting the following individuals can also result in charges for assault in the fourth degree:

  • Firefighters
  • Medical Personnel
  • Certain employees of the Department of Natural Resources
  • Correctional employees
  • Prosecuting attorneys
  • Judges
  • Probation officers
  • Personnel at a secure treatment facility
  • School officials
  • Public employees with mandated duties
  • Members of a community crime prevention group
  • Vulnerable adults
  • Reserve officers
  • Utility and postal service employees and contractors
  • Transit operators

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Is Assaulting a Police Officer a Misdemeanor or Felony

It’s important to remember police officers are honorable people who act with integrity and are serious about their difficult job. The profession is held to a high standard, so assaulting a law enforcement officer will not play over well in court.

As mentioned earlier, assaulting a police officer is classified as fourth-degree assault, which has the potential to be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the facts of your case. According to the Minnesota Statutes, physically assaulting a police officer without bodily harm is a gross misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to a year in jail; or
  • A fine of up to $3,000; or
  • Both incarceration and a fine

Assaulting a police officer is a felony in the following situations:

  • Physically assaulting an officer and causing bodily harm; or
  • Intentionally throwing or transferring bodily fluids or feces at or onto an officer.

Felony fourth-degree assault is punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $6,000 or both a fine and incarceration.


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Possible Defenses for Assault Against a Police Officer

Defending charges for assault against a police officer is not easy, especially since the offense commonly stems from situations of miscommunication. Defending the crime may come with its challenges, but not all hope is lost.

The statute requires that you knew or had reason to believe the alleged victim was a police officer acting within their line of duty. It may be beneficial to try and prove you did not know the alleged victim was, in fact, a police officer. For example, the officer may have been dressed in plain clothes or was a non-identified school official.

Another common defense against charges for fourth-degree assault is self-defense. But keep in mind; the Supreme Court of Minnesota ruled in State v. Glowacki, the type and level of self-defense must be reasonable. You will have to prove you had reason to believe you were in danger and that your response was reasonable for the situation.

Additional defenses could include you were defending other people, property or you were misidentified as the assailant. No two cases are alike, and there is no one defense strategy suitable for every case. The best defense you can take is contacting a criminal defense lawyer. They can evaluate the facts of your case and formulate a defense plan in your best interest. 


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Additional Resources

Assault in the Fourth Degree | Minnesota Statutes – It’s advised you read through the section of the state statutes governing fourth-degree assault if you have been charged for the offense. You can read the legal definition of “peace officer,” learn about other assaultive acts that can result in fourth-degree charges and gain access to other state laws. This section of the statutes can be read on the official website of the Minnesota Legislature.

State v. Glowacki – Follow the link provided to read the Minnesota Supreme Court Case that determined self-defense must be reasonable to be considered a valid defense. You can also learn more about the original case, its outcome and statements from both the defendant and the plaintiff. The case can be read on Findlaw.com, an online legal resource.


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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Apple Valley 

Have you been accused of assaulting a police officer? Were you acting in self-defense, or were your actions taken out of context? James Blumberg will not focus on guilt or innocence. Instead, he will concentrate on what he can do to facilitate the best possible outcome for you.

Exercise your right to legal counsel and contact James Blumberg Law. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free case evaluation. James Blumberg defends clients in areas such as Apple Valley, Ham Lake, Chaska and Minneapolis.


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