Zach Bauer:Domestic and sixth Degree Assault[Podcast]

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Zach Bauer:Domestic and sixth Degree Assault[Podcast]

Assault is a serious crime, often resulting in jail time. But while domestic and fifth degree assaults are very different, they also share a few commonalities. Meshbesher & Spence’s Zach Bauer stopped by KROC AM recently to discuss domestic assault, fifth degree assault, and the difference between the two.

Domestic and Fifth degree Assaults: The Difference

Is domestic assault equal to a fifth degree assault? No, not exactly. A domestic assault can range in severity from first degree to fifth degree, depending on the offender’s history and other factors. But a domestic assault is perpetrated against a household or family member, while a fifth degree assault would be more likely to be against a stranger.

Are the consequences similar? Whether an assault is against a family member, friend, or complete stranger, the consequences can sometimes be very similar.
Are the consequences similar? Whether an assault is against a family member, friend, or complete stranger, the consequences can sometimes be very similar.

Assault Charge Penalties
What are some of the consequences of an assault charge? One of the first things will be the transfer of a person’s firearms, even while a case is pending. Thanks to new legislature that was passed in 2014, when someone is brought in on assault charges, a judge can order that any firearms be transferred either to law enforcement, a federal licensed firearms dealer, or to a third-party person not currently residing with the offender. Once convicted, it is mandatory that the firearms be transferred within three business days.
That includes all firearms? Yes. There are actually forms that the attorneys must complete to ensure that if the firearms go to a third party, that person understands that they cannot return the firearms to the person until they’re cleared to do so.

Is that legislation geared more toward domestic assault? Yes and as a result, some attorneys have tried to shift a fifth degree domestic assault case to a fifth degree assault case to avoid the firearm-transfer process. To account for that, the legislature has changed the wording to state that if the case is in any way related to domestic assault, the firearms must be transferred.

Is there a limit to the amount of time a domestic assault offender will be without firearms? The state might often talk about a three-year restriction after a domestic assault charge, but there’s a federal law called the Lautenberg Amendment. That law prohibits a domestic assault offender from possessing a firearm for life. So even though state law may only prohibit domestic assault offenders from possessing a gun for three to five years, federal law will extend that prohibition for the rest of the person’s life. For that reason, it’s important that someone who is charged with domestic assault has good representation, since a judge won’t necessarily mention these consequences when an offender is standing in front of him.

What about professional licenses? Are those impacted by assault charges? It depends on the charges. First-time offenders can carry with it a seven-year disqualification by the Department of Human Services from being licensed in that field. Other professional licenses can be pulled by the state, as well, including medical and day care licenses. Those are very significant consequences. In many cases, a person will lose his job even after only one offense.

Is there anything someone can do to prevent that from happening? There are a couple of different ways to prevent that from happening by asking the licensing board to reconsider. The offender could also ask for a variance from his employer. There has been some level of success with that but the best thing to do, obviously, is to avoid being in that situation in the first place.
What can someone do to avoid getting in that situation? If someone finds that tempers are escalating, whether while around family or strangers in a public place, the best thing to do is try to take a step back. The person should leave the place if possible to prevent something from escalating. When someone does find that a situation has escalated and the worst has happened, it’s important to get advice from the right person to protect himself.

If you need help with a domestic or fifth degree assault charge or you have legal questions about it, contact Zach Bauer at 507.280.8090.

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