Felony and misdemeanor assault and battery, ranging from simple assault to assault with a deadly weapon or attempted murder
Felony and Misdemeanor Assault and Battery
The phrase “assault and battery” is a common one, but it doesn’t refer to a single crime. In fact, many states separate the two. In Missouri, there is no actual crime called “battery.” Instead, an act of violence that might be referred to as battery in a different state is called “assault” here.
Confused? We’ll explain further. After all, it’s a serious charge with serious consequences.
Beyond separating the “assault” from “battery,” Missouri also separates assault into different degrees, from first (the most serious) to fourth (the least).
Felony Assault in Missouri
There are three different assault charges that are considered felonies. Most felony assault results in serious injury, hospitalization or disfigurement of the victim.
First-degree Assault is attempting to kill or knowingly cause/attempt to cause serious physical harm to someone.
Second-degree Assault occurs when, out of sudden passion, the assailant attempts to kill or knowingly cause injury; knowingly attempts to cause physical harm with a dangerous or deadly weapon; recklessly causes serious physical injury to someone; or recklessly causes injury by discharging a firearm.
Third-degree Assault is the act of knowingly causing physical injury to someone.
Misdemeanor Assault in Missouri
Fourth-degree assault involves minor injury or the threat of violence, and is classified as a misdemeanor in our state. This lesser charge also brings lesser consequences, so it’s important to know what distinguishes it from its felony counterparts.
You commit fourth-degree assault if you attempt to cause, or recklessly cause, physical injury, pain or illness; you cause physical injury by using a firearm; you knowingly place someone in fear of immediate physical injury; recklessly engage in conduct that poses a distinct risk of death or serious physical injury; knowingly attempt physical conduct with a disabled person that a non-disabled person would deem offensive; or cause physical contact with another person knowing that it would be considered offensive by the alleged victim.
If you’ve been charged with misdemeanor assault, there are plenty of arguments that can be used in your defense. You can claim self-defense, the defense of others, or even present evidence that the alleged victim initiated the confrontation. You can also claim that your actions were accidental. There are many ways to state your case. If convicted, a misdemeanor assault can lead to jail time, probation or house arrest, although because a misdemeanor is a lesser charge, you may have options for a plea bargain or sentencing that will keep your criminal record more clear.
With a felony assault, there’s much more at stake. But the prosecutor or district attorney must prove your guilt without a reasonable doubt. They must convince a judge or jury that you intentionally caused the attack, and used a deadly weapon, knowingly inflicted serious injury or committed the assault with the intent to also commit another serious crime. As with fourth-degree assault, your defense can include self-defense, allegations that someone else initiated the attack or threat, or showing that the weapon was actually in the victim’s possession. You can also claim insanity … that you had no capacity to control your behavior.
The punishment for felony assault is as serious as the charge, and can result in one to 25 years in prison. If convicted, the judge will take into account all the details of the case, including the injuries incurred, the victim’s relationship to you, your prior criminal record and more.
Let Taylor Defense Law Represent You
Assault charges are very serious. And being convicted of one can greatly impact your life. Beyond the prison sentence, convicted felons have a hard time finding a job, can’t vote or possess a firearm. But we can help. We’ll determine the right defense to fight the charges against you, protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.
Call us today.