First Degree Assault occurs when one person assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm. In rarer circumstances it can occur when someone uses or attempts to use deadly force against a peace officer, prosecuting attorney, judge, or correctional employee who is engaged in the performance of their job.

What level of crime is First Degree Assault?

First Degree Assault is a felony meaning the maximum penalty is over one year in prison. Specifically, for First degree assault the maximum sentence is 20 years and a fine of $30,000 or both. If the assault was against a peace officer, prosecuting attorney, judge, or correctional employee then there is a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, but the maximum of 20 years still applies.

Importantly, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines applies to felony cases, including first degree assault. This means that the maximum possible punishment may not be imposed depending on the defendant’s criminal history score. In some cases, there is also a possibility to file a motion for a sentencing departure and ask the court to deviate from the guidelines and sentence lower than the guidelines call for in your particular situation. In short, the maximum does not always mean the maximum will apply, just as the minimum does not always mean the minimum will apply.

What does great bodily harm mean?

Great bodily harm is any bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, causes serious permanent disfigurement, or causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. In short this means that a person’s life is at risk based on the injury or there is some lasting permanent damage to the person whether it is noticeable like a physical disfigurement or internal.

What does deadly force mean?

Deadly force is force used with the purpose of causing, or which the actor should reasonably know creates a substantial risk of causing, death or great bodily harm. Discharging a firearm at a person or an occupied vehicle would constitute deadly force. The maximum sentence someone can receive is 20 years in prison, a fine of $30,000, or both. If the charge is connected to assaulting a peace officer, prosecuting attorney, judge, or correctional officer the minimum sentence is ten years. Similarly to first degree assault resulting in great bodily harm, keep in mind the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines and how they may apply to your case.

What are the main factors making an assault First Degree?

The big factors that raise an assault to first degree are the injury that occurs, the type of force used, and whether the assault was done to a specific group of people.

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