Assault – Unborn Child

Assaulting a pregnant woman and her baby in utero is not an offense the court, or the general public, will turn a blind eye to. A pregnant woman is not considered a vulnerable person, but they are, along with the baby in utero, granted added legal protection to prevent them from being victims of crimes.

You could face over a decade in prison depending on the level of harm the unborn child suffered. A judge or jury will not tolerate the assault of an unborn child since the baby is ultimately helpless. Because of this, it’s crucial you retain legal counsel.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Apple Valley

Maybe you didn’t know the woman was pregnant or your actions were taken out of context. Regardless, James Blumberg Law wants to help. James Blumberg is a persistent criminal defense lawyer who will stop at nothing to clear your name. He will not focus on guilt or innocence but rather on what he can do to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Take advantage of our free consultation. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a time to sit down with us. Some of the areas James Blumberg Law serves include Apple Valley, Saint Paul, Savage and Woodbury.

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What are the Levels of Harm in Minnesota?

Assaulting an unborn child is charged based on the degree of harm the baby sustained. The higher the level of harm, the greater the criminal penalties. The Minnesota Statutes divides levels of injury into three categories: bodily harm, substantial bodily harm and great bodily harm.

Bodily harm is considered the lowest degree of harm. According to state law books, this type of pain is any physical pain or injury, illness or impairment of physical condition. No matter how minimal, any level of pain may qualify as bodily harm. A blow to a pregnant woman’s belly that bruises the baby would be considered bodily harm.

Substantial bodily harm is more severe than bodily harm but not as drastic as great bodily harm. This type of damage is any physical injury that leaves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, loss or impairment of bodily function or organ or causes a fracture. Semi-permanent injuries such as broken bones and being temporarily unconscious fall into this category.

Great bodily harm is the most severe level of harm. According to the Minnesota Statutes, this level of harm is any bodily injury that creates a high chance of death, causes serious permanent disfigurement or causes permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any body part. Any injury that leaves permanent scarring or results in a lost body part is considered great bodily harm. Even a collection of injuries grouped together constituting a great degree of harm may qualify.

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How is Assault of an Unborn Child Charged in Minnesota?

Like mentioned earlier, charges for assaulting an unborn child are based on the degree of harm caused to the baby in utero. Listed below is a brief explanation of each charge and their respective penalties:

Assault of an Unborn Child in the Third Degree

The unborn child is not required to suffer any degree of harm for you to be charged with assault of an unborn child in the third degree. However, you will be guilty of a misdemeanor if you did any of the following:

  • Committed an act with the intent to cause fear in a pregnant woman of immediate bodily harm or death to the unborn child; or
  • Intentionally causes or attempted to inflict bodily harm on an unborn child who is subsequently born alive.

A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both a fine and incarceration.

Assault of an Unborn Child in the Second Degree

Causing substantial bodily harm to a baby in utero is charged as assault of an unborn child in the second degree. Remember, substantial bodily harm is any injury that leaves semi-permanent damage.

Assault of an unborn child in the second degree is a felony punishable by the following:

  • Up to five years in prison; or
  • A fine of up to $10,000; or
  • Both a fine and incarceration

Assault of an Unborn Child in the First Degree

Assault of an unborn child in the first degree involves causing great bodily harm to the baby in utero. The baby is required to be born alive, but if it sustained injuries such as a fetal skull fracture or permanent eye damage, you will face charges for the offense. If the baby ends up being stillborn, you will be charged with murder of an unborn child rather than assault.

Assault of an unborn child in the first degree is a felony punishable by the following:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; or
  • A fine of up to $30,000; or
  • Both a fine and incarceration

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Additional Resources

Criminal Code | Minnesota Statutes – Follow the link provided to view the state’s criminal code. Scroll down to section 609.266 to learn more about crimes against unborn children. You can gain access to information about the offenses mentioned on this page as well as other crimes such as murder of an unborn child. The chapter can be read on the Minnesota Legislature website.

Criminal Code Definitions | Minnesota Statutes – Visit the official website of the Minnesota Legislature to read the precise legal definitions of bodily harm, substantial bodily harm and great bodily harm.  You can also find the definitions of intent, felony and misdemeanor.

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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Apple Valley

Being accused of assaulting an unborn child can be a dramatic experience. You will likely be alienated from your community and people will assume you are guilty until proven innocent.  James Blumberg Law will aggressively advocate on your behalf and ensure the court hears your side of the story and your name is cleared.


Take the first step in your defense and contact James Blumberg Law. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free case evaluation. We are based in Dakota County but regularly assist clients in areas such as Ramsey County, Scott County and Washington County.

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