Domestic violence encompasses a variety of crimes that are committed against family or household members. These crimes can include anything from stalking to emotional abuse to assault. While domestic violence is a general term, each state defines it in their own way. For example, in Minnesota, physical domestic abuse is called "domestic assault."
Defining Domestic Assault
Under Minnesota laws, domestic assault is basically a category of assault that's committed against a family or household member which, for purposes of Minnesota domestic violence laws, includes:
- Current and former spouses;
- Parents and children;
- Blood relatives;
- People currently and formerly living together;
- People with a child in common;
- A man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is the alleged father; and
- People involved in a significant sexual or romantic relationship.
Minnesota also has a separate statute that addresses domestic assault by strangulation. This crime is defined as intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure to a family or household member's neck or throat, or by blocking their mouth or nose. This crime is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000, unless there's a greater penalty provided in another applicable statute.
Minnesota Domestic Violence Laws at a Glance
Although the text of a statute is one of the best sources of information when conducting legal research, statutes often don't provide straightforward answers as they're usually written in lawyerspeak. For this reason, it can be very beneficial to read a summary of the statute as well. The following table provides an overview of domestic violence laws in Minnesota as well as links to applicable statutes.
Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 609, Criminal Code:
|Defining the Offense(s)
Domestic assault is a misdemeanor if a person does any of the following against a family or household member:
- Commits an act with intent to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death; or
- Intentionally inflicts (or attempts to inflict) bodily harm upon another.
Domestic assault is a gross misdemeanor if a person commits the acts described above within 10 years of another domestic violence-related conviction or adjudication of delinquency.
Domestic assault is a felony if a person violates this section or Section 609.224, subdivision 1 within 10 years of two or more domestic violence-related convictions or adjudication of delinquency.
A misdemeanor domestic assault is punishable by imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
A gross misdemeanor domestic assault is punishable by imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or up to $3,000 in fines.
A felony domestic assault is punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
Note: There are additional sentencing guidelines for repeat domestic assault offenders.
Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 609. Criminal Code: Section 609.355, et seq. (Crimes Against the Family)
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 Domestic Violence Laws: Related Resources
For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links below.
Charged with Violating Minnesota Domestic Violence Laws? Get Legal Help
Not only can a domestic violence conviction land you in jail, it can also affect other aspects of your life including your rights as a parent and your gun rights. Considering the consequences, it makes sense to consult with a local criminal defense attorney if you've been charged with domestic assault in Minnesota.