Domestic battery and assault in Missouri, sometimes referred to as domestic violence, is a prevalent form of abuse across the United States, with nearly 20 people per minute who are physically abused by an intimate partner or family member. In one year, this is over 10 million American men and women who are facing domestic violence and abuse. Due to the seriousness of the crime, Missouri enforces laws that protect individuals and family members. Many people are unaware of the complexity of filing a Missouri domestic battery and assault charge and all that it entails. In addition to the three separate tiers of penalties for domestic violence, it’s important for individuals to understand what is considered domestic abuse, and how a domestic assault charge can impact the rest of their lives.
What is Domestic Violence?
There are many types of abuse that are considered domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs when any of the forms of abuse listed below have happened to a family member, current or former spouse, someone they are dating, have lived with or have had a child with. All domestic violence cases fall into specific categories and have various resulting penalties.
To avoid confusion this article mainly discusses the penalties associated with domestic assault and battery, but it is beneficial to recognize what acts can be considered domestic violence, if you ever find yourself facing a domestic battery and assault charge in Missouri. This article lays out the following as various types of domestic abuse in Missouri:
- Physical Abuse – Can include hitting, slapping, punching, choking, cutting, shoving, etc. Denying someone medical treatment and forcing them to take drugs and/or alcohol is also considered physical abuse.
- Sexual Abuse – Coercing or attempting to coerce the victim into sexual acts and/or behaviors without the victim’s consent.
- Emotional Abuse – Devaluing or extinguishing the victim’s sense of self-worth or self-esteem by name calling, constant criticism, and damaging or interfering with the victim’s personal relationships.
- Economic Abuse – When the abuser forces the victim to be financially reliant on them by not allowing them to work and/or not allowing them to have access to their money.
- Psychological Abuse – Using intimidation to threaten or frighten the victim, or threatening to physically injure the victim’s family or friends, pets, or other property. Psychological abuse also includes isolating the victim and/or prohibiting him or her from going to school or work or seeing friends and family.
- Threatening – Threatening to cause physical pain or injury are forms of emotional abuse.
- Stalking & Cyber Stalking – Includes spying, watching, and/or harassing the victim, showing up without invitation to the victims home or work, also all harassment online that is done repeatedly and causes emotional distress is considered stalking.
What Are The Penalties for Domestic Assault and Battery in Missouri?
The penalties for domestic assault and battery in Missouri fall into three categories:
Domestic Assault in the Third Degree(Class E Felony)
According to Missouri Laws 565.074, “ A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the third degree if he or she attempts to cause physical injury or knowingly causes physical pain or illness to a domestic victim, as the term “domestic victim” is defined under section 565.002.”
If convicted of this crime, the penalties for a Class E Felony in Missouri include, up to four years in the Department of Corrections, along with fines up to $10,000, court fees and attorney fees.
Domestic Assault in the Second Degree(Class D Felony)
Missouri Laws 565.073 state that, A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the second degree if the act involves a domestic victim… and he or she:
- Knowingly causes physical injury by any means, including but not limited to, use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, choking or strangulation.
- Recklessly causes serious physical injury
- Recklessly physical injury by means of a deadly weapon.
The penalties for a Class D Felony or domestic assault and battery in Missouri in the second degree are fines up to $10,000 ( not including court and attorney fees) and up to seven years in prison.
Domestic Assault in the First Degree (Class A or B Felony)
Missouri domestic assault in the first degree is defined as, “Domestic assault, first degree — penalty. — 1. A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the first degree if he or she attempts to kill or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to a domestic victim, as the term “domestic victim” is defined under section 565.002.” Domestic assault and battery in Missouri can either be charged as a Class B or Class A Felony. Unless the person inflicts serious physical injury on the victim (Class A), domestic assault in the first degree will be charged as a Class B Felony. If convicted of a Class B Felony, the penalty is a sentence of no less the five years in prison and no more than fifteen years. The penalty for a Class A Felony in Missouri is a sentence of no less than 10 years in the DOC, not to exceed 30 years or life in prison.
We Can Help
As you can see, each of these charges carries with it different penalties, however all are serious and can impact your future. A domestic battery and assault charge, even if reduced down to a misdemeanor charge, will still negatively impact your chance at owning a home, getting loans, landing the career of your choice and even your personal life. A conviction of this manner can also cost you professional licenses you have worked hard to get and secure.
Additionally, a conviction for domestic violence will also weigh heavily if you find yourself in a child custody battle. If you have been charged with a Missouri domestic assault and battery charge, it is of the utmost importance that you contact a Missouri Legal criminal defense lawyer, to discuss your case. Our attorneys are experienced in Missouri criminal law and will help you to understand your rights and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case to build a solid defense.
Contact us today to set up a free, no obligation consultation.