It is stressful and confusing to go through the criminal justice system alone. From the moment you are arrested, things can move very quickly, and you can end up being fined, jailed, or imprisoned. It is wise to choose an experienced criminal defense attorney with a proven track record to represent you throughout your case. If you are charged with a crime in Red Lake County, Minnesota, contact Ringstrom Law today. Our defense attorneys will help you build a strong defense and fight your charges. Attorney Bruce Ringstrom Jr. has years of experience defending cases specifically in Red Lake County, including achieving dismissals of felony charges for his clients, reinstatements on probation, and many other favorable outcomes. 

Assault Crimes in Minnesota and Their Penalties

Minnesota law outlines five degrees of assault. The severity of the penalty for an assault conviction will vary by the degree of the charge. First-degree assault carries the highest penalties, while fifth-degree assault has comparatively modest penalties. More details about the different degrees of assault are found below.

First-Degree Assault

A charge of first-degree assault (Minn. Stat. § 609.221) may be brought in Minnesota when “great bodily harm” has allegedly been inflicted by one person onto another. Great bodily harm is shown when there is an injury creating a high probability of death, serious permanent disfigurement, permanent or long-term functional impairment to a body part, or other serious bodily harm. The charge is also brought when there has been a “use of deadly force” against a peace officer, judge, prosecutor, or correctional employee. The potential penalty includes a maximum of 20 years in prison, a maximum of $30,000 in fines, or both.

Second-Degree Assault

Assault with a deadly weapon falls under a second-degree assault charge (Minn. Stat. § 609.222). In order to prosecute this crime, the prosecutor has the burden of showing that the instrument used in the assault would be construed as a deadly weapon. Penalties for this crime will vary, depending on the results of the assault. In general, assault with a deadly weapon carries a sentence of imprisonment of up to seven years, or a fine of $14,000, or both. However, if there is also a finding of substantial bodily harm, the sentence of imprisonment may be for up to ten years, or the fine may be for up to $20,000, or both.

Third-Degree Assault

A third-degree assault charge (Minn. Stat. § 609.223) may be brought under multiple circumstances, including the following: (1) an assault results in substantial bodily harm to another; (2) an assault is made on a minor who has been the subject of past abuse by the same perpetrator; or (3) an assault on a minor under the age of four that results in bodily harm. A conviction for this offense carries a potential sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both. Alleged assaults that involve a broken bone are often charged as third-degree assaults.

Fourth-Degree Assault

Fourth-degree assaults (Minn. Stat. § 609.2231) may be treated as either gross misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the facts of the case. Gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assaults include (1) physical assaults on a peace officer; (2) an assault with demonstrable bodily harm on a Department of Natural Resources employee engaged in forest fire activities; (3) an assault motivated by bias due to age, national origin, race, color, disability, religion, sex, or sexual orientation; (4) an assault with demonstrable bodily harm on a school official while that person is performing official duties; (5) assaults with demonstrable bodily harm on certain public employees while they are performing duties mandated by law; (6) assaults with demonstrable bodily harm on community crime prevention group members while engaged in that capacity; (7) an assault with demonstrable bodily harm on a vulnerable adult; (8) an assault on a reserve officer while engaged in public duty; (9) an assault with demonstrable bodily harm on an employee or contractor of the Unites States Postal Service while working in that capacity; and (10) an assault or intentional transfer of bodily fluids or feces on a transit operator acting in the course of the operator’s work duties.

An assault meets the level of a felony charge when the following conditions are found: (1) an assault on a peace officer inflicting demonstrable bodily harm or transferring bodily fluids or feces; (2) an assault with demonstrable bodily harm on a firefighter or emergency medical professional providing services in a hospital emergency department; (3) an assault with demonstrable bodily harm or the transfer of bodily fluids or feces on an employee of a correctional facility, a prosecutor, a judge, or a probation officer while performing work duties; or (4) an assault with demonstrable bodily harm or the transfer of bodily fluids or feces on an employee of a secure treatment facility.

Gross misdemeanor convictions may include imprisonment for up to one year, a fine up to $3,000, or both. Felony convictions can carry an imprisonment from one year and one day up to three years, a fine of up to $6,000, or both, depending on the victim.

Fifth-Degree Assault

A fifth-degree assault (Minn. Stat. § 609.224) is a misdemeanor charge on a first offense but becomes a gross misdemeanor under two circumstances. In the first, a gross misdemeanor results when the charge has been brought on the same perpetrator for an assault on the same victim within ten years of a previous fifth-degree assault conviction. In the second, a gross misdemeanor is found when the assault occurs within three years of a previous qualified domestic violence-type offense. This charge is made when a person has engaged in conduct designed to create fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death, or when a person intentionally causes or tries to cause bodily harm on another.

The potential sentence for a misdemeanor violation includes ninety days in jail and a fine assigned under the discretion of the judge. A gross misdemeanor may include imprisonment for not more than a year, or a fine of up to $3,000, or both.

Facing an assault charge in Minnesota can be devastating, especially when the circumstances under which an assault took place can be so difficult to unpack. However, with a Red Lake Falls attorney's intervention, defenses can be developed that could help get your case dismissed or reduce it to a less severe charge. And with a criminal defense lawyer with a record of winning trials, an acquittal remains a meaningfully potential outcome.

Sex Crimes in Minnesota and Their Penalties

In Minnesota, sex crimes, like many other types of crimes, are charged according to the degree of seriousness. Criminal sexual conduct may range from a first- to a fifth-degree offense. The extent of these offenses depends on the nature of the case, the prosecutor’s evidence, and the perpetrator's criminal history. These kinds of charges include the following listed here.

First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

A charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (Minn. Stat. § 609.342) is made when a person has achieved sexual penetration of another, or sexual contact with a person under age 13, and any of the following additional conditions exist:

  • Sexual contact was with someone below 13 years of age and the perpetrator was more than 36 months older than the victim
  • Sexual penetration was with someone between 13 and 15 years of age, the perpetrator was more than 48 months older than the victim, and the perpetrator was in a position of authority over the victim
  • Sexual contact or penetration was with someone under 16 years of age and the perpetrator had a significant relationship with the victim
  • Sexual contact or penetration was with someone under 16 years of age, the perpetrator had a significant relationship with the victim, and (1) the perpetrator or an accomplice used force or coercion; (2) the victim was personally injured; or (3) multiple acts of a sexual nature were carried out over an extended period of time
  • Sexual penetration was achieved by creating a reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm in the victim
  • Sexual penetration was achieved by use or threat of use of an article that could reasonably be used as a dangerous weapon
  • The perpetrator caused personal injury to the victim and (1) force or coercion was used, or (2) the perpetrator knew that the victim lacked the mental or physical capacity to consent
  • The perpetrator had the help of an accomplice (1) to force or coerce submission, or (2) to use or threaten to use an article that could reasonably be used as a dangerous weapon.

The penalty for a conviction of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree carries a sentence of imprisonment of not more than 30 years, a fine of $40,000, or both. In certain circumstances, a longer mandatory minimum sentence may be imposed under the state sentencing guidelines.

Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree (Minn. Stat. § 609.343) is found under all the circumstances noted above for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree when the conduct involves sexual contact only (i.e., no sexual penetration). A conviction of this offense carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years, a fine of $35,000, or both. Again, a longer mandatory minimum sentence may be imposed under the state sentencing guidelines under certain conditions.

Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree (Minn. Stat. § 609.344) involves sexual penetration when any of the following additional conditions exist:

  • Sexual penetration with a person under 13 years of age and the perpetrator is less than 36 months older than the victim
  • Sexual penetration with a person between 13 and 15 years of age and the perpetrator is more than 24 months older than the victim
  • Sexual penetration with a person between 16 and 17 years of age, the perpetrator is more than 48 months older than the victim, and the perpetrator is in a position of authority over the victim
  • Sexual penetration with a person between 16 and 17 years of age and the perpetrator has a significant relationship with the victim
  • Sexual penetration with a person between 16 and 17 years of age, the perpetrator has a significant relationship with the victim, and (1) the perpetrator or an accomplice used force or coercion; (2) the victim was personally injured; or (3) multiple acts of a sexual nature were carried out over an extended period of time
  • Force or coercion is used to achieve penetration
  • Perpetrator knows that the victim lacks the mental or physical capacity to consent
  • Perpetrator is psychotherapist and victim is a patient or former patient, under multiple circumstances
  • Sexual penetration is achieved by deception that it was necessary for a bona fide medical purpose
  • Perpetrator is a clergy member and sexual penetration occurs during the course of some form of spiritual advisement
  • Perpetrator is an employee, contractor, or volunteer at either a public or private facility for the treatment of mental and/or criminal issues, and the victim is a resident of said facility
  • Sexual penetration occurs before or after the perpetrator provides the victim with special transportation service, under certain circumstances
  • Sexual penetration occurs before or after the perpetrator provides the victim with massage service, under certain circumstances
  • Sexual penetration is achieved by a peace officer who either physically or constructively restrains the victim

Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree may result in imprisonment of not more than 15 years, a fine of not more than $30,000, or both.

Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree (Minn. Stat. § 609.345) is found under all the circumstances noted above for criminal sexual conduct in the third degree when the conduct involves sexual contact only (i.e., no sexual penetration). A conviction of this offense carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of $20,000, or both.

Fifth- Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree (Minn. Stat. § 609.3451) is charged where an individual has engaged in non-consensual sexual contact or has masturbated or lewdly displayed his or her genitals in a child’s presence. A first offense is a gross misdemeanor, carrying a possibility of imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than $3,000, or both. A felony may be brought when there have been prior convictions of other sex crimes, including convictions in other states. A felony conviction may result in imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine of up to $14,000, or both.

Minnesota sex crimes are some of the most severe offenses in the state. The use of witness testimonies and prior criminal records often makes it difficult for anyone accused of these crimes to fight the charge alone. But our Red Lake Falls attorneys are well-versed in these charges and would use their experience and resources to offer the legal services that you need.

Many criminal defense attorneys fail to discuss registration requirements with their clients charged with criminal sexual conduct. In Red Lake County, registration as a predatory offender (colloquially referred to as “sex offender registration”) is governed by Minnesota statutes § 243.166 and § 243.167 in the same manner as it is governed in the rest of Minnesota.

Driving Offenses in Minnesota

Driving violations are among the most common offenses in the state of Minnesota. Red Lake County sees a commensurate number of driving violations. A crime like speeding typically results in mild fines, while a hit and run offense can result in grave consequences such as years of imprisonment. Whatever charge you may face, you should speak to a Ringstom Law attorney after being charged with a driving offense. They will explain the legal process and aggressively defend your case to completion.

Some of the common Minnesota driving offenses are set out below.

Careless or Reckless Driving

Careless driving and reckless driving (Minn. Stat. § 169.13) are broadly defined, and many people may not even realize that they are breaking the law. That's why we advise anyone charged with either of these crimes to consult an attorney to learn your options and ensure that your rights are upheld throughout the case.

Careless driving is a misdemeanor offense brought when a person carelessly or heedlessly operates or halts a vehicle upon a highway or street in a manner that disregards the rights of others or endangers another’s property.

Reckless driving is found when a person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to another’s person or property. It is also a charge that may be brought for street racing, even when not exceeding the speed limit. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor with the same punishment as careless driving; however, if great bodily harm or death to another results, it becomes a gross misdemeanor (and in the event there is a death, a felony charge will likely be brought by the Red Lake county attorney).

Hit and Run

When you are involved in an automobile accident, you are legally obligated to stop. You must give law enforcement and the drivers involved in the accident your name, address, date of birth, and vehicle registration. Failure to follow this duty to stop can result in a hit and run offense (Minn. Stat. § 169.09). The charges for hit and run depend on the details surrounding the accident. You may be charged for a hit and run even if you did not cause the collision.

The kind of penalty that follows a hit and run conviction depends on the nature of the accident. If someone died in the accident, you would face a potential prison sentence of up to three years, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. If the accident caused significant bodily harm to someone, the potential sentence includes a maximum of two years in prison, a maximum fine of $4,000, or both. An accident that caused substantial physical harm and created a high chance of death, or caused temporary impairment or disfigurement of a member of the body, is punishable by up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $3,000, or both.

Find a Red Lake Falls Criminal Attorney Near Me

You should consult a Red Lake Falls attorney no matter the criminal case that you are facing. A reliable Red Lake Falls attorney should commit to your case and ensure that you obtain the best results. At Ringstrom Law, we are well-versed in the Minnesota justice system and will use our experience to take you through the legal process and defend you in court. Contact us today at 214-284-0484 for a free consultation on your case.