Here in Minnesota, intentionally injuring someone, trying to injure someone, or taking threatening action against someone to put that person in fear of immediate injury or death is assault. Being accused of such conduct can lead to criminal charges.

How severe assault charges are varies. This is because the crime of assault comes in five different degrees in the state, fifth through first. What degree of assault charge a person would be facing depends on what specifically he or she is accused of doing. What degree of assault a person is charged with impacts what consequences he or she could face if convicted.

The most basic, and least severe, of the assault degrees is fifth-degree. This covers assaults that don’t have any special circumstances present that would bump them up to the more severe degrees.

Fifth-degree assault is generally a misdemeanor offense. The other degrees are typically gross misdemeanors or felonies, and thus carry heavier potential penalties. The heaviest potential penalties generally come with first-degree assault.

However, this does not mean that accusations of fifth-degree assault are insignificant.

For one, being accused misdemeanor crimes can still have major impacts on a person’s life. For example, in Minnesota, a conviction on a standard misdemeanor can lead to a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days.

And the situation can be even more severe if a person has domestic violence offenses on his or her record. There are situations in which fifth-degree assault can jump up to a gross misdemeanor or even a felony for such individuals.

Defense attorneys can advise people accused of fifth-degree assault here in Minnesota on what can be done to protect their future from the potential consequences of the allegations.