Domestic Criminal Charges

Domestic Assault, Felony Assault, Other Crimes Alleged to be Domestic-Related

Thomas Gallagher office wallMinneapolis Criminal Lawyer Thomas Gallagher
This page provides information about the services offered by Minneapolis Domestic Assault Attorney Thomas C Gallagher, of GALLAGHER CRIMINAL DEFENSE; as well as information about Minnesota domestic assault and other domestic relationship-based criminal charges, and defenses (including Minnesota self-defense law).  Gallagher has been representing defendants and sometimes witnesses (victims of prosecutors) in the case since 1988.  In addition to criminal defense legal training and experience, Gallagher has education and experience that help him be effective as a domestic assault attorney, including education in Psychology, study of family violence issues, exoneration of the falsely accused, and experience as Respondent’s counsel in mental health court (chemical dependency and mental illness issues).

What makes these criminal charges “domestic?”  Most, if not all, “domestic” crimes are variations of crimes which include a “domestic” relationship between the accused and the prosecutor’s victim.  The types of relationships that qualify as domestic are defined by statute in an expansively broad way – for example, two male college roommates in a love triangle fighting over a girl were charged with “domestic assault” based on being roommates, in one of Gallagher’s cases.  (Don’t worry. He helped that client win the case.)

Types of domestic criminal charges:  Misdemeanor domestic assault is often also charged as 5th degree domestic assault (which does not include a relationship element).  Domestic violence charges include not only domestic assault charges, but also every degree of felony assault, misdemeanor assault (gross misdemeanor and simple misdemeanor assault), “terroristic threats,” interference with an emergency call (interference with a 911 call), criminal sexual conduct, child neglect, child endangerment, child abuse, stalking and harassment crimes, violation of an Order for Protection (OFP), or violation of a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO).

Self-Defense:  Many domestic assault cases involve a defense based upon Minnesota self-defense law.

False Reports:  Another common fact pattern in these cases is the defendant is falsely accused of conduct that never happened at all, motivated by the accuser’s strong emotions at the time of the police report, influenced by the relationship history.  Almost always, alcohol was involved.

Fifth Amendment Privilege:  In many cases, what was really a mutual assault can get both parties charged with a crime, or sometimes only one.  In this situation, an effective defense can often involve getting both parties their own witness attorney, to checkmate the prosecution.  All the other defenses can be available as well.

These are serious cases, with severe consequences – not only potentially for the accused (if convicted) but also for all the people close to the accused, who are connected to him or her.  They will all be severely damaged as a result of a successful prosecution of one of these charges (and the resulting reduction in annual income, reduced child support, deportation, etc.).

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from these damaging consequences of prosecution is to retain the best criminal defense attorney possible.  With over 30 years experience winning cases involving domestic violence charges, Thomas Gallagher is in a position to provide his clients with the best possible defense in every case he handles.  Gallagher works on his clients’ cases personally.  He does not hand them off to a young Associate “on the team.”  After you hire him to handle your case, you get the real deal — Gallagher himself — personal representation.

As you can see elsewhere on this website, Thomas Gallagher has been rated one of the top 5% of criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota, by several different organizations utilizing peer reviews.  Put his experience to work for you.  You can win.  And Gallagher can help make sure that happens.

Domestic-related criminal charges are some of the most serious, and potentially unreliable claims made in the courts today. They have the highest rate of dismissal of any type of criminal case.  Your choice of defense attorney can make the difference between conviction and dismissal or acquittal.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman or man scorned?”  Is there truth in that ancient idea?  Emotions can run high, especially with alcohol, in relationships as people try to work out their conflicts.  Sometimes hatred, revenge, “sour grapes,” as well as anger and control issues can cause a person to turn against their loved one, and even make a false claim against them.  Sometimes this is done in a hot moment of strong emotion, as in a 911 call or an initial report to responding police officers, only to be regretted and recanted later.  Other times it is planned, coldly and rationally, as part of a strategy to “beat” the former loved one – for example, where there is a divorce or child custody battle planned or pending in court.  Or, it can be both.

Though the laws used to require corroboration of such claims, these statutory requirements to charging were severely reduced by politicians eager to show how “tough” they could be.  The predictable result is that the rate of false convictions has increased, as well as the rate of failed prosecutions.  (See The Innocence Project and The Exoneration Registry.)  Unfortunately it also means that individuals and their families who are put through this excruciating legal process, are the ones who suffer the most.

Even where the complainant (prosecutor’s “victim”) begs and pleads with the prosecuting attorney to drop the charges against their loved one, either because the initial report to police was untrue, misunderstood or simply because the complainant does not want their loved one prosecuted – typically the prosecuting attorneys do their best to ignore these pleas.

This, despite the fact that there is a victim’s rights statute in Minnesota requiring prosecuting attorneys to listen to “victim’s” desired outcomes.  Often, complainants (prosecutor’s victims) end up going to defense lawyers like Gallagher for help, and for a voice in the legal process – either as defendant’s counsel or as the witness attorney.

How does prosecutor’s taking power away from “victims” of alleged abuse help to empower them to control their own lives?  Is the Government an “Abuser” – making their “victim” powerless; teaching them powerlessness?  Is this really a situation of government paternalism, “Big Brother,” taking over and controlling the lives of putative “victims” against their will, against their wishes, and against their interests?

A great example of how the government’s lawyers disempower their “victims” is the pretrial “no contact order” and the Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (or “DANCO“).  Prosecuting Attorneys generally resist dropping them, despite pleading from their “victims.”  For information about how to get rid of them, see our linked article: How to Get Rid of a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order in Minnesota.

Many prosecutors would like to have it both ways.  On the one hand, they “don’t represent the victim, so we don’t have to drop the no contact order or drop the charges even the the victim is pleading for that.”  But on the other hand, they resist and try to stop their “victim” from directly addressing the judge in court to plead for dropping the no contact orders and dismissing the charges, because they claim to represent the “victim’s” interests.  Of course, the fact that the prosecutor is not the “victim’s” lawyer is an explicit admission that they do not represent their interests.  This is glaringly obvious when they argue against what the purported victim is pleading for – dropping the no contact order and dismissing the charges.  Minnesota’s Victims Rights statute has giant loopholes that prosecutors can leisurely stroll through.

A person can be convicted of a domestic-related crime based solely on the uncorroborated claims of a single witness, one with an axe to grind, an agenda.  This is one reason it is so important to have the best defense possible in the circumstances.

Consequences of a Conviction
The consequences of a conviction can be both severe and far-reaching.  Beyond the well-known consequences of incarceration in jail or prison, for the vast majority of cases involving people accused for the first time a lifelong criminal record will have severe consequences.  Just being arrested and accused of a crime is damaging.  Pleading guilty or being convicted are much worse.  This can result in:

  • Reduction in annual income earning potential, for life; lost job opportunities (individual and family); reduced child support
  • Professional and occupational license loss, or ineligibility
  • Increase in health and other insurance premiums
  • Damage to credit report and rating
  • Deportation or Removal from the United States (of non-citizens, including “Permanent Residents”)
  • Gun and firearms civil rights loss
  • Public criminal record

Gallagher has been defending people and their families from domestic-related criminal charges (claims) for over 30 years, including:

  • Domestic Assault claims, including Assault First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Degree charges.
  • Violation of an Order for Protection (OFP) claims
  • “Terroristic threats” claims
  • Kidnapping and false imprisonment claims.
  • Felony strangulation assault claims
  • Murder claims
  • Interfering with a 911 Call, interfering with an emergency call, claims
  • Child Abuse or Neglect claims
  • Malicious Punishment of a Child
  • Aggravated Assault claims
  • Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct

Thomas Gallagher has been successfully defending people from domestic-related criminal charges since 1988.  Give him a call to discuss your criminal matter: 612-333-1500.