Missouri Assualt Defense Attorney
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If a person attempts to harm or cause physical injury to another person, that means that they have committed assault. It may not matter if the victim(s) actually suffered any harm or not; intent to harm may be enough for an assault charge. Roberts Law Office can help you defend assault charges ranging from misdemeanor assault to felony assault and armed criminal action.
Assault in Missouri
In Missouri, there are no specific laws for aggravated assault or battery. Instead, they are wrapped into more general degrees of assault charges. There are four degrees of assault charges in Missouri:
1st Degree Assault: Attempting to kill or knowingly causing/attempting to cause serious physical injury to someone (commonly known as aggravated assault).
2nd Degree Assault: This Crime exists in one of the following situations:
- When under the influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause, attempting to kill or knowingly causing/attempting to cause serious physical injury to someone;
- Attempting to cause/knowingly causing physical injury to another person by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- Recklessly causing serious physical injury to someone; or
- Recklessly causing physical injury by discharging a firearm.
3rd Degree Assault: Knowingly causing physical injury to someone.
4th Degree Assault: Attempts to cause or recklessly causes pain, injury, or illness; negligently injures someone with a firearm; purposely places someone in apprehension of physical injury; recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury; or knowingly causing or attempting to cause offensive physical contact.
Punishments for Assault in Missouri
First, second, and third degree assaults are all felony charges in Missouri, which means that someone charged with them could face as little as four years in prison or up to life in prison. Fourth degree assault is a misdemeanor which can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000.
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If a person commits assault against a person in one of the following groups, then they have committed domestic assault:
- A current or former spouse,
- A family member by blood or marriage,
- A person with whom the offender lives or previously lived,
- A person with whom the offender has or had a dating or romantic relationship, or
- A person with whom the offender has a child.
Domestic Assault Charges in Missouri
There are four degrees of domestic assault in Missouri:
- 1st degree: attempting to kill or knowingly or attempting to cause serious physical injury to a domestic victim is first degree domestic assault. The potential range of punishment is 5 to 15 years in prison if the crime does not result in physical injury to the victim. If the conduct does result in serious physical injury, then it is a class A felony punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison or life in prison.
- 2nd degree: knowingly causing physical injury, recklessly causing serious physical injury, or recklessly causing physical injury with a dealy weapon to a domestic victim will result in a charge of second degree domestic assault, which is a class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
- 3rd degree: attempting to cause physical injury or knowingly causing pain or illness to a domestic victim is the class E felony of domestic assault in the third degree. This offense is punishable by up to four years in the department of corrections.
- 4th degree: lesser conduct such as attempting to cause pain, negligently causing injury, placing someone in apprehension of injury, recklessly creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury, offensive contact, and isolation committed against a domestic victim will lead to a charge of domestic assault in the fourth degree, which is normally a class A misdemeanor with a potential for a one year jail sentence and up to a $2,000 fine.
A convicted domestic assaulter may also be required to pay restitution, which means reimbursement to the victim to cover the cost of medical bills, counselling, etc.
There are also collateral consequences to being convicted of domestic assault: if you are found guilty of any level of domestic assault, federal law will prohibit you from possessing or purchasing a firearm. With the significant potential sentences that can be imposed, and the collateral consequences, it is important to hire an attorney who has the experience to fight for you if you have been charged with domestic assault.
Armed Criminal Action Charges in Missouri
If a person commits an assault or another felony while using a deadly weapon, then they can be charged with an armed criminal action in addition to anything else that they are charged with. Armed criminal action in Missouri (ACA) is committed by any person who “commits any felony under the laws of this state by, with, or through the use, assistance, or aid of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon”.
Armed criminal action charges vary depending on how many times the convicted person has been convicted of an ACA. First time offenders will be charged with 3-15 years in prison (unless they use a firearm that they obtained illegally, in which case the minimum sentence is 5 years). Second time offenders will be charged 5-30 years in prison. Third and subsequent offenders will be charged with a minimum of 10 years in prison and can be sentenced to up to life in prison. Most significantly, the sentences for armed criminal action must run consecutive to other sentences, and there is a mandatory period of incarceration of at least three years before someone convicted is eligible for probation or parole.