Third Degree Assault in Minnesota most commonly occurs when a person assaults another and inflicts substantial bodily harm. There are two other ways that someone can be charged with third degree assault and they deal with assaults on minors. If someone assaults a minor (person under the age of 18) and there is a past pattern of child abuse against a minor, then the person can be charge with third degree assault without a showing of substantial bodily harm. Additionally, if a person assaults a child under the age of four and causes bodily harm to the child’s head, eyes, neck, or causes multiple bruises to the body. Thus, the big factors making an assault rise to the level of third degree is an assault to a minor or substantial bodily harm to the alleged victim.

What are the possible consequences?

Third Degree Assault is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000. This is the maximum sentence so often it is possible to receive a sentence lower than the 5 years. As a felony the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines apply so the maximum possible punishment may not be imposed depending on the defendant’s criminal history score. Third Degree Assault is a severity level four crime according to the guidelines. Which does not typically carry with it a presumptive prison sentence, unless the offender’s criminal history score is four or higher. If convicted, there is an option to file a motion for a sentencing departure and ask the court to deviate from the guidelines and sentence lower than what the guidelines call for in your particular situation. Meaning in short, the maximum sentence will neither always apply, nor will the guideline sentence always employ.

What is considered child abuse?

Any act that constitutes an assault (in the first, second, third, or fifth degree), domestic assault, criminal sexual conduct (in the first, second, third, or fourth degree), malicious punishment of a child, neglect or endangerment of a child, or a threat of violence is considered child abuse. Meaning that any assault, sexual contact, neglect, or threat to commit violence can be considered child abuse. The act does not need to take place in Minnesota and for third degree assault, but there needs to be a pattern of abuse.

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 can all be classified as substantial bodily

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