Assault charges are serious–although assault in the fifth degree is a misdemeanor in the state of Minnesota, conviction of an assault may land the convicted person in jail for up to ninety days and the court can impose a fine on top of that. Various circumstances can “aggravate” the original charges depending on who the victim is, if the accused has a previous conviction, and other circumstances.
If the alleged assault is in a domestic situation and a jury or bench trial previously convicted the accused against the same victim for assault in the past the charges may rise to the level of a felony, making the sentence up to five years in prison with a possible $10,000 fine.
With serious consequences such as these any accused person needs competent counsel, even if the accused thinks he or she is “guilty.” Often, the defendant and the prosecuting attorney can form a plea deal, but the defendant is more likely to receive what he needs if he has an attorney representing him.
Even though a plea deal is a possible course of action, sometimes the prosecutor is not willing to make a reasonable deal or the defendant is, rightly, unwilling to plea to a crime he or she did not commit. This is when the defendant needs a competent attorney most. An individual can represent himself in court, but with rules of evidence and court procedures that many laypersons find confusing or convoluted there is too much room for error. Hiring an attorney can maximize the accused person’s chances of avoiding a conviction.
If you need an attorney to help you with your assault case or other criminal case you can contact us.