What should I expect with a 2nd Degree Dangerous Weapons charge against my father in Minnesota?
My father was arrested today (in Minnesota) after pointing a gun at the person that ran over and killed his dog. He has severe untreated mental illness. I am wondering what to expect with sentencing and/or fines? I am a couple thousand miles away and feel quite helpless. He is getting a criminal attorney, is there anything I should know about this charge that he may not be communicating to me? Is there anything with his depression/schizophrenia that could be used in his defense? Any advice is greatly appreciated thank you!
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We are often hesitant at eNotes to offer suggestions in specific cases (as opposed to classroom ones) because we are not attorneys, and I must caution you that this is a conversation best had with your father's criminal attorney in Minnesota.
State law varies from place to place, but based on what you have told us in this situation, there are a number of mitigating factors for the judge, jury and prosecutor to consider. For example, you did not mention the age of your father, and if he is of advanced years, the prosecutor may be less likely to recommend jail time. You also did not mention if your father has a criminal record of any kind, as, if it is not his first offense, that may make him harder to defend.
The mental illness will be the key factor in my opinion. The prosecutor may want to avoid the expense and time of a trial when there is no guarantee a jury would convict a mentally ill man. In that case, they might recommend a plea deal, where in exchange for pleading guilty, your father would be given a suspended sentence and place on probation, requiring your father to receive sustained medical treatment. They may also recommend he be placed in an institution, though this is difficult to do without consent. The fact that your father had a gun and has a serious mental illness may be enough to demonstrate "a threat to himself and others", the key element of involuntary commitment. He most likely will lose his gun ownership rights.
Lastly, if no plea deal is reached, then a court ordered mental evaluation would take place to see if your father is fit to stand trial. I would be surprised if jail time is a result of this case, but it is possible. I wish you and your father the best of luck.
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