Second Degree Assault is a felony and it occurs when someone assaults another with a dangerous weapon. The person does not need to be injured by the dangerous weapon to meet the statutory requirement of second degree assault. So, the main factor raising an assault to the level of second degree is the use of a dangerous weapon.

What are the possible consequences?

Second Degree Assault is a felony with a maximum penalty of either 7 years and a fine of $14,000 or 10 years and a fine of $20,000. The difference depends on whether substantial bodily harm is inflicted on the alleged victim. So, if there is substantial bodily harm then the maximum penalty is increased to 10 years and a fine of $20,000.

It is important to know that these are the maximum penalties which often are not always imposed by a Judge. In felony cases like second degree assault the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines apply. This means that a defendant’s criminal history score will determine whether the maximum possible punishment will be given. It is also possible to request a deviation from the sentencing guidelines by the way of a motion. By filing a motion, the Judge can decide to sentence lower than what the guidelines call for in your particular situation. In short, the maximum does not always mean the maximum will apply.

What is a dangerous weapon?

A dangerous weapon is a firearm, loaded or unloaded, or any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm including combustible or flammable liquids. A firearm is always considered a dangerous weapon, but a hammer or glass bottle can also be a dangerous weapon. A motor vehicle has also been considered a dangerous weapon meaning that hitting someone or attempting to hit someone with your car can constitute second degree assault.

What is substantial bodily harm?

Substantial Bodily Harm in terms of the law means a temporary but substantial disfigurement, a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or a fracture of any bodily member. So, a chipped tooth, a broken arm, or an injury that causes loss of physical function like to someone’s shoulder could all be considered substantial bodily harm. The injury does not need to be permanent so even though a broken arm will heal, the fracture is still considered substantial bodily harm. Therefore, without substantial bodily harm the maximum consequence is decreased from 10 years and $20,000 to 7 years and $14,000.

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