What Every Minnesotan Should Know about Domestic Assault

Arguments and disputes are part of life

When those disputes are between family or household members and get out of hand, it is not unusual for the police to be called and for one of the parties to be charged with domestic assault.

Domestic abuse is serious, but too many Minnesotans fail to understand what exactly counts as domestic assault or just how severe the consequences can be.

Domestic assault can be based on your words alone, even if you do not physically strike the other party. Almost everyone knows that aggressive or unwanted physical contact is assault. But if your words cause immediate fear of bodily harm, you can be charged with domestic assault, even if you never touch the other person.

A no contact order means absolutely no contact

If a no contact order has been issued, you cannot contact the other party in any way. This means no phone calls, no texts, no facebook messages or social media contact, and no asking friends or family to contact them on your behalf. It also means you cannot respond to any attempts by the other person to contact you. If you see that person’s phone number on your caller id, you should ignore the call and inform your attorney right away. A violation of a no contact order is usually easy to prove, and having a new charge will complicate the resolution of your original case.

The no contact order may remain in place even if the alleged victim comes to court and asks to have it dropped. Getting a no contact order lifted is a complicated task. Most prosecutors oppose having no contact orders lifted. Judges can be wary of lifting no contact orders. Domestic situations are often complicated and volatile, and no prosecutor or judge wants to be the one who agreed to lift a no contact order just before a tragedy occurs. However, a judge who is unwilling to drop a no contact order completely may be open to modifying it to allow some contact, especially if there are issues such as the care of minor children. Having a no contact order lifted or modified is a job best handled by an experienced attorney.

The prosecutor can pursue the case even if the alleged victim wants it to be dropped. Once the police become involved in your life, the case belongs to the state, and it is up to the state to determine whether to proceed with criminal charges. Input from the alleged victim can be, and often is, an important factor in resolving a case. But in most cases, a domestic assault charge will not be dropped simply because the alleged victim does not want to proceed.

If you have been charged with domestic assault, you need an attorney

Because domestic assault can be a misdemeanor, and can be based on behavior which in context seems minor, it may be tempting to think that if you just go to court and explain what happened, the whole thing will be dropped. This is almost never the case. A domestic assault conviction can have very severe consequences for your life. It can result in being terminated from your job and make it difficult or almost impossible to find new work. You can lost your right to possess firearms and your eligibility for public benefits. If you are a noncitizen, it can adversely impact your immigration status.

At F. Clayton Tyler, P.A., our proven track record, personal attention, and straightforward approach will ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Please contact us today to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation