While Minnesota has stiff penalties and possible jail time as punishment for assault cases, they are even more severe if the assault has been perpetrated on certain employees or certain groups. (Simple assault is the infliction of bodily harm or injury, attempting to inflict bodily harm or injury, or acting in a manner that threatens such harm or injury.) Simple assault is a misdemeanor; assault against protected employees and groups are a gross misdemeanor.
In most cases of assault against protected groups of employees, the defendant must have reasonably known that they were performing job duties and the injury must have been inflicted during the performance of job duties.
What are these classes of employees? They are:
- law enforcement officers
- teachers, school administrators, and school employees in the conduct of their jobs
- Department of Natural Resources employees engaged in forest fire activities
- agricultural inspectors
- occupational safety and health investigators
- child protection workers
- public health nurses
- animal control officers
- probation or parole officers
- members of a community crime prevention group engaged in neighborhood patrol
- reserve law enforcement officers
- postal services employees
The other protected group under Minnesota law is people termed “vulnerable adults.” They are classified as those are requiring and getting inpatient treatment or home care services and those requiring and getting outpatient treatment (except treatment for chemical dependency, sexual dangerousness, or mental illness). People who are mentally or physically disabled and thus not able to provide self-care and protect themselves from mistreatment also fall under the vulnerable adults category.
Because assaults against protected employees and vulnerable adults are gross misdemeanors, they are punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, or both.