MN 13.16 Assault in the Third Degree–Substantial Bodily Harm–Elements

10 Minn. Prac., Jury Instr. Guides–Criminal CRIMJIG 13.16 (6th ed.)

September 2020 update

Part II. Specific Crimes

A. Crimes Against the Person

Chapter 13. Assault and Related Crimes Against the Person

CRIMJIG 13.16 Assault in the Third Degree–Substantial Bodily Harm–Elements

The elements of assault in the third degree are:

First, the defendant assaulted _____. [Insert CRIMJIG 13.01 for assault with intent to cause fear. Insert CRIMJIG 13.02 for infliction of harm. Insert both CRIMJIG 13.01 and 13.02 if the charge is combined intent to cause fear and infliction of bodily harm.1]

Second, the defendant inflicted substantial bodily harm on _____. “Substantial bodily harm” means bodily harm that involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or causes a fracture of any bodily member. It is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant intended to inflict substantial bodily harm, but only that the defendant intended to commit the assault.

Third, the defendant’s act took place on (or about) _____ in _____ County.

If you find that each of these elements has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is guilty. If you find that any element has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is not guilty.


M.S.A. § 609.02, subd. 7a; M.S.A. § 609.223.

In State v. Stafford, 340 N.W.2d 669 (Minn. 1983), the Supreme Court held that the nose was a “bodily member.”

In State v. Larkin, 620 N.W.2d 335 (Minn. App. 2001) the Court of Appeals held that a victim’s temporary loss of consciousness is “substantial bodily harm” for purposes of M.S.A. § 609.223. But note that the question of whether a particular injury constitutes a level of harm is a question for the jury. State v. Moore., 699 N.W.2d 733 (Minn. 2005).


1. In State v. Dalbec, 789 N.W.2d 508 (Minn. Ct. App. 2010), the Minnesota Court of Appeals stated that intentionally inflicting bodily harm, attempting to inflict bodily harm, and acting with intent to cause fear are alternative means by which an assault may be committed. The court upheld a jury instruction which combined these alternative means into one instruction as against a challenge to the unanimity of the verdict. But the court also stated that the need for a combined instruction could be eliminated by charging these alternative means for committing an assault as separate counts and the Committee recommends that as the best approach.