Missouri law criminalizes domestic assault and battery (violence) against spouses, children, family members, and other persons with whom they have or have had romantic relationships with. Many people who are charged with domestic assault and battery in Missouri, don’t understand what these charges mean and how to protect their rights. This article discusses, misdemeanor and felony domestic assault and battery, what criminal acts constitute each charge and the penalty for each conviction.
Domestic Assault in The Third Degree (Class A Misdemeanor)
If a person is charged with domestic assault in the third degree, they could face up to one year in jail and/or fines up to $1000. An exception to this punishment would be if the person who is being charged has already been convicted for a third domestic assault offense or an equivalent crime. If this were the case, the person would be charged with a Class D Felony and could face one to four years in jail with fines up to $5000. Domestic violence charges can also affect loss or change of child custody rights/visitation and decrease the opportunity for employment and home ownership. Additionally, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony for domestic assault, you will lose your right to bear arms.
A person will be charged with domestic assault and battery in the third degree if he or she commits any of the following criminal acts:
- Attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury to the victim.
- Physically injures the victim by means of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon.
- Threatens the victim, causing fear of immediate physical injury.
- Recklessly engages in activity that creates the risk of death or serious physical injury.
- Knowingly engages in physical contact with the victim that they know to be offensive to the victim.
- Intentionally attempts or causes isolation of the victim by restricting or limiting access to transportation, means of communication, or other persons.
Domestic Assault in The Second Degree ( Class C Felony)
Felony charges carry with them heftier fines, longer incarceration times, mandatory rehabilitation classes, as well as extended probation periods. A Class C Felony or domestic assault in the second degree is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5000.
A person will be charged of domestic assault and battery in Missouri of the second degree if they:
- Recklessly cause physical injury
- Recklessly cause physical injury by means of a deadly weapon.
- Knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury by means of dangerous instrument or deadly weapon or by strangulation or choking.
Domestic Assault in The First Degree (Class A or B Felony)
If the offender has prior convictions for the same crime or its equivalent, being convicted of domestic assault in the first degree is considered a Class A felony and is punishable by up to 10-30 years in prison or life in prison. If the victim walked away from the crime without serious physical injury, the offender will be charged with a Class B felony. The penalty for a class B felony are 5-15 years in prison.
A person will be charged with domestic assault and battery in the first degree, if he or she:
- Attempts to kill another person.
- Knowingly attempts or causes another person serious physical injury.
If you are facing criminal charges for domestic assault and battery in Missouri, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney now. Convictions of domestic assault stay on your permanent record and can affect every facet of your life. Once convicted with even a misdemeanor you may struggle to find a well paying job or career, applying for a home or car loan, have strained relationships with family and friends, and you will lose your right to own a gun.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can advice you on how to proceed based on the specific factors of your case, as well as federal and state laws. Contact us today, for a free consultation so that we can discuss your case and answer any and all questions you may have.