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ND Domestic Assault Law Overview 2020

North Dakota’s assault statutes carry some serious penalties and the recent outbreak in Covid-19 related travel restrictions may play a part in increase in domestic violence related assault charges throughout the state. This guide is designed to help people understand these laws. If you have questions or need the help fighting charges for Assault (domestic violence or other), you should definitely seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney in North Dakota.


Simple Assault as a misdemeanor crime in North Dakota


A person is guilty of an offense if that person willfully causes bodily injury to another human being. Simple Assault in North Dakota is a B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to thirty days incarceration and / or a fine of $1500.00. However, a person is guilty of a more serious charge of Assault, a class A misdemeanor, if that person willfully causes substantial bodily injury to another human being; or negligently causes substantial bodily injury to another human being by means of a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon, the use of which against a human being is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year of incarceration and / or a fine of $3000.00. Simply put, a fight or dispute that leads to injury of another person will likely lead to a misdemeanor criminal charge of some sort, unless there is evidence of a more serious offense.


Felony Assault in North Dakota


A person is guilty of a class C felony if that person willfully causes serious bodily injury to another human being. A Class C Felony is very serious and punishable by up to five years incarceration and / or a fine of $10,000.00. It is also a felony if a person knowingly causes bodily injury or substantial bodily injury to another human being with a dangerous weapon or other weapon. Also, it is a felony if that person either causes bodily injury or substantial bodily injury to another human being while attempting to inflict serious bodily injury on any human being or fires a firearm or hurls a destructive device at another human being. The charge can be even more serious if the victim is under twelve years of age; or is a peace officer or correctional institution employee acting in an official capacity (which the actor knows to be a fact); or the victim suffers permanent loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.


Domestic Violence is separate from Simple Assault/Assault in North Dakota? A person is guilty of an offense if that person willfully causes bodily injury to the actor's family or household member; or causes substantial bodily injury to the actor's family or household member; or serious bodily injury to the actor's family or household member. A second or subsequent offense can lead to a higher level of charge for domestic violence, and if the victim’s age may lead to even more serious charges.


A domestic violence offense conviction in North Dakota must include a sentence that includes an order to complete a domestic violence offender evaluation and treatment program as determined by the court. A court may not order the offender to attend anger management classes or individual counseling unless a domestic violence offender treatment program is not reasonably available to the defendant and the court makes findings for the record explaining why an order to complete a domestic violence offender treatment program would be inappropriate. Finally, there are additional consequences to domestic violence offenses, including the loss of rights to possess or use firearms under both state and federal law.

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