Can I Get a Fifth-Degree Assault Charge Without Hitting a Person?

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Last updated on: December 30, 2022
Depending on the allegations against you, fifth-degree assault may be classified as either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony.
Can I Get a Fifth-Degree Assault Charge Without Hitting a Person?

Can I Get a Fifth-Degree Assault Charge Without Hitting a Person?

States vary in how they handle assault charges. When another person feels that they are in danger, the person inflicting that distress is bound to face the consequences.

Unfortunately, police often rush to an assault charge without having all the facts. 

If you have been arrested for fifth-degree assault, you need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense Attorneys have experience representing clients such as yourself, and they can assist you during a time of crisis.

What is Fifth-Degree Assault?

Depending on the allegations against you, fifth-degree assault may be classified as either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony.

An assault charge does not require that you physically touch the other person but rather that you cause them a fear of bodily injury.

Fifth Degree Assault as a Misdemeanor

According to Minnesota law, as a misdemeanor, fifth-degree assault is an offense in which someone:

(1) commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or​

(2) intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.

Fifth-degree assault is considered a simple assault. You could be subject to up to 90 days in jail and have to pay a fine of $1,000.

Fifth Degree Assault as a Gross Misdemeanor

A fifth-degree assault will become a gross misdemeanor if:

  • The assault took place within ten years of another domestic assault conviction involving the same person; or
  • The assault took place within three years of another domestic assault conviction involving the same or a different person.

A judge could sentence you to one year in jail and a fine of $3,000 for a fifth-degree gross misdemeanor.

Fifth Degree Assault as a Felony

A fifth-degree assault will become a felony if:

  1. Two or more assaults occurring within ten years involving the same person; or
  2. Two or more assaults occurring within three years involving the same or a different person

A fifth-degree felony charge can carry a fine of $10,000 and potentially five years in prison. 

A fifth-degree assault charge does not require that you physically touch another person.

Presuming you meet the criterion, if authorities believe that the other person feared that you would hurt them, you can be charged with fifth-degree assault.

Consequences of a Fifth-Degree Assault Charge

Although a fifth-degree assault is the least severe, it can still carry serious legal consequences.  

You may be unable to rent an apartment or buy your own home, have difficulty finding a job, have your professional license revoked, or lose your right to vote.

You may also lose your right to carry a gun if you are convicted of a felony for fifth-degree assault.

Defenses to an Assault Charge

Minnesota was home to just under 11,000 aggravated assault incidences in 2021, which was an increase of 33.69% from 2020.

With such a high level of crime, police and other authorities may not investigate thoroughly when charging someone with assault. 

There are a number of defenses available if you have been arrested for assault:

  • Self-defense: the person accused of assault can plead that they performed their actions in self-protection. The accused must prove there was a threat of force being used against them, and the accused must show that they had no opportunity to retreat from the danger.

  • Insufficient evidence: the police must have sufficient evidence to prove that you committed the crime that you are being charged with, which can be difficult, considering there are no witnesses.

  • Statute of limitations: the defense can have an assault charge dismissed if the statute of limitations has passed. In Minnesota, assault has a six-year limitation in bringing assault charges against someone.

An assault lawyer will be able to assess the charges against you and determine what course of action is preferable in defending your rights. 

It is not uncommon for a police officer to incorrectly arrest someone for assault. You need aggressive representation to defend yourself.