MN 13.01 Assault–Intent to Cause Fear

10 Minn. Prac., Jury Instr. Guides–Criminal CRIMJIG 13.01 (6th ed.)

September 2020 update

Part II. Specific Crimes

A. Crimes Against the Person

Chapter 13. Assault and Related Crimes Against the Person

CRIMJIG 13.01 Assault — Intent to Cause Fear

[See CRIMJIG 13.30 for an example of an instruction on Assault—Intent to Cause Fear]

The term “assault” as used in this (case) (charge) means an act done with intent to cause ___ (the victim) to fear immediate bodily harm or death.

“Bodily harm” means physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of a person’s physical condition. It is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant intended to inflict bodily harm or death, but only that the defendant acted with intent that ___ would fear that the defendant would so act. [In order for an assault to have been committed, it is not necessary that there have been any physical contact with the body of the person assaulted.1]

“With intent to” or “with intent that” means that the actor either has a purpose to do the thing or cause the result specified, believes that the act, if successful, will cause that result.


M.S.A. § 609.02, subd. 10(1).

In cases in which a defendant is charged with a degree of an assault with intent to cause fear, the court should incorporate this instruction directly into the first element of the appropriate elements instruction.

In State v. Dorn, the Supreme Court held that the mens rea required for assault-harm, M.S.A. § 609.02, subd. 10(2), is the general intent to commit an act that constitutes a battery. 887 N.W.2d 826 (Minn. 2016); see also State v. Fleck, 810 N.W.2d 303 (Minn. 2012). The court noted that “a general-intent crime only requires proof that ‘the defendant intended to do the physical act forbidden, without proof that [she] meant to or knew that [she] would violate the law or cause a particular result.’” Dorn, 887 N.W.2d at 830 (quoting Fleck, 810 N.W.2d at 308). On the other hand, for a specific-intent crime (e.g., assault with the intent to cause fear), the State must show that the defendant “meant to or knew that [she] would violate the law or cause a specific result.” Id.