Many people are surprised to learn that they can be charged with assault without actually striking another person. This is because, in addition to the intentional or attempted infliction of bodily harm, in Minnesota assault is defined to include “an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death.” People can be – and often are – charged with assault based on their words or gestures.
In highly-charged situations, like a rowdy bar, a fight can break out and charges often follow. Actions like shoving or pushing, touching without consent, slapping, or striking with an object, can be grounds for assault. Even verbal threats can be enough. Depending on the circumstances, an assault charge could range anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony. Key factors include the amount of harm caused, whether a weapon was used, and whether the victim had a special status (such as police officer, transit operator, vulnerable adult).
Assault charges are always serious, and often complicated. Some scenarios, such as a bar fight, can involve many witnesses, some of whom were intoxicated at the time. Give our criminal defense attorneys a call if you or someone you know has been arrested.