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Minnesota Assault Laws

The offenses of assault and battery consist of actions such as hitting another person, threatening someone, or taking a swing at an individual and missing. Battery usually involves an offensive touching, while assault often involves a threat or putting someone in fear.

Some jurisdictions combine assault and battery into one crime, but other states separate them; some states may have only one or the other. For instance, Minnesota's assault laws cover both assaults (threats, placing victims in fear) and traditional battery offenses that include making unwanted physical contact.

Simple Assault

In Minnesota, a simple assault is a misdemeanor that occurs with the intentional infliction, or attempted infliction, of injury, or by any act committed with the intent to cause fear of imminent injury or death.

Summary of Minnesota Assault Laws

When you need to become acquainted with the law without reading the legal jargon contained in the statutes, you can start with a plain language reference. See the chart below for a summary of Minnesota's assault laws.


Minnesota Statutes:

  • Section 609.02 (Simple Assault)
  • Section 609.224 (Fifth Degree Assault)
  • Section 609.2231(Fourth Degree Assault)
  • Section 609.223(Third Degree Assault)
  • Section 609.222 (Second Degree Assault)
  • Section 609.221(First Degree Assault)


Assault Charges


Fifth Degree:

  • Intent to cause fear of bodily injury or death, or
  • Intentionally inflicting, or attempting to inflict, bodily harm.

Fourth Degree:

  • Assault on a certain class of victims including, but not limited to, police officers, fire fighters, and school officials.

Third Degree:

  • Inflicting substantial bodily harm; punishable by up to 5 years and/or fines up to $10,000.
  • Assaulting a minor and the perpetrator has engaged in a past pattern of child abuse against the minor; punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $10,000.
  • Assaulting a victim who is under age 4 and causing bodily harm to the child's head, eyes, or neck, or causing multiple body bruises; punishable by up to 5 years and/or fines up to $10,000.

Second Degree:

  • Using a dangerous weapon; punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $14,000.
  • Using a dangerous weapon and inflicting substantial bodily harm; punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $20,000.

First Degree:

  • Inflicting great bodily harm; punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $30,000.
  • Using deadly force against peace officer, prosecuting attorney, judge, or correctional employee while the person is performing their duties; punishable by up to 20 years and/or fines up to $30,000.

Enhanced Penalties

Fifth degree assault can be upgraded to gross misdemeanor or felony if the actor commits a second assault against the same victim.

A conviction of assaulting a peace officer/attorney/judge/ is punishable by being committed for not less than 10 years and not more than 20 years.

A defendant is not eligible for probation, parole, discharge, work release, or supervised relation until they have served the full term of imprisonment.

Assaults on certain types of employees will result in higher penalties. Some of the employees include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Peace officers
  • Firefighters/Emergency medical personnel
  • Certain Dept. of Natural Resources employees
  • School officials
  • Public health nurses
  • Crime prevention group members
  • Postal workers
  • Transit operators
  • "Vulnerable Adults"

Domestic Violence

If a person commits an assault considered domestic violence within 10 years of a prior domestic assault (even against a different family/household member), it's a gross misdemeanor.

Hate Crimes

Assaults that are motivated by bias regarding another person's actual or perceived:

  • Color
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation or
  • Disability

Penalty: Imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or fines up to $3,000.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Minnesota Assault Laws: Related Resources

Discuss Assault Charges with a Minnesota Attorney

If you're accused of violating Minnesota's assault laws, then you could be dealing with severe ramifications including incarceration and costly fines. Discuss your assault charges with a defense attorney right away to explore the possibility of reducing or dismissing the charges.

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