In Minnesota, a person commits assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony, by injuring, attempting to injure, or threatening to injure another person with a gun or other weapon or object.
In Minnesota, dangerous weapons include:
- firearms (loaded and unloaded)
- objects designed to be used as weapons and capable of causing death or great bodily harm
- any fire used to cause death or great bodily harm, and
- any object (including a flammable liquid) that is used or intended to be used in a way that is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
Great bodily harm creates a serious risk of death, or causes permanent disfigurement or permanent or lasting impairment of any part of the body. Most gunshot wounds are considered great bodily harm.
(Minn. Stat. § 609.02.)
For example, shotguns are dangerous weapons, along with knives and clubs. Ordinary objects such as gasoline and baseball bats will be considered dangerous weapons if used in a way that is intended to or likely to produce very serious injury.
Assault With a Dangerous Weapon
Assault is the intentional infliction of bodily harm, the attempted infliction of bodily harm, or any act intended to cause fear of imminent bodily harm or death. (Minn. Stat. § 609.02.)
Examples of assault with a dangerous weapon include shooting someone with a gun, trying to shoot someone with a gun, dousing someone in gasoline, and threatening to kill someone with a knife.
Substantial Bodily Harm
Minnesota’s laws, assault with a dangerous weapon that results in
substantial bodily injury is punished more severely than an assault that
does not result in this level of harm. Substantial bodily harm includes
fractures and any injury that causes temporary disfigurement, or
temporary but substantial impairment of any part of the body.
(Minn. Stat. §§ 609.02, 609.222)
Substantial bodily harm is less serious than great bodily harm. Examples of substantial bodily harm include serious burns that leave no permanent damage and knife wounds that cause temporary scarring.
Assaults Against Law Enforcement
Under Minnesota’s laws, any assault against a law enforcement officer or correctional officer who is performing official duties is punished more severely if the defendant uses (or attempts to use) deadly force. In using deadly force the defendant intends to cause death or reasonably should know that there is a substantial risk of death or great bodily injury. Firing a gun at a person or a vehicle is always deadly force.
(Minn. Stat. §§ 609.066, 609.221.)
Assault with a dangerous weapon is punishable in Minnesota by up to seven years’ imprisonment and fine of up to $14,000.
Assault with a dangerous weapon causing substantial bodily harm is punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $20,000.
Using deadly force against a law enforcement officer and any assault, including assault with a dangerous weapon, that causes serious bodily injury is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $30,000.
(Minn. Stat. § 609.222)
Getting Legal Advice and Representation
Being convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon can result in time in prison, a large fine, and a very serious criminal record. If you are charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, you should contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to tell you how such cases are usually treated by the courts and how your case, in particular, is likely to be treated based on the facts of the offense. An attorney may be able to help you get the charges reduced or dismissed, or obtain a plea bargain, a shorter sentence than the maximum, or a not guilty verdict.