Assault charges are serious and often violent criminal charges. A conviction like this on your record can seriously impact your ability to find work and even find an apartment. A defense attorney’s job is to help you avoid this type of conviction—contact us today for more information.
Assault crimes in the state of Missouri are classified by “degrees” Assault in the 1st degree is the most serious of assault charges while assault in the 3rd degree is the most minor. All assault charges, however, carry the potential for jail time which means you shouldn’t take them lightly.
Missouri Assault Laws & Penalties
First Degree Assault
Assault in the first degree is defined as attempting to kill someone or knowingly causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to someone.
This charge carries a potential 5 to 15 year prison sentence and is considered a Class B felony. However, if it actually results in serious physical injury, you could face as many as 30 years in prison.
Second Degree Assault
If you are charged with assault in the second degree in Missouri, the prosecution believes they can prove that you did one of the following:
- Attempted to kill or knowingly caused or attempted to cause serious physical injury to someone in the heat of passion,
- Attempted to cause or knowingly caused physical injury to someone with the use of a deadly weapon,
- Recklessly caused serious injury to another person,
- Acting with criminal negligence caused injury to someone or yourself by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated,
- Recklessly caused injury to someone by discharging a firearm.
A second degree assault offense is considered a Class C felony under Missouri law and carries 5 to 15 years in prison.
Third Degree Assault
Like second degree assault, there are many ways in which you could commit assault in the 3rd degree. You could face this charge for any of the following actions:
- Attempting to cause or recklessly causing physical injury to another person,
- Cause physical injury to another by acting with criminal negligence using a weapon,
- Placing someone in fear of immediate physical injury,
- Recklessly engaging in behavior which creates a grave risk of death or serious injury,
- Knowingly causing physical contact with another person knowing it will be considered offensive by the other person, or
- Knowingly causing physical contact with someone who is incapacitated.
Assault in the third degree is typically considered a Class C misdemeanor which carries 15 days in jail and $500 in fines. However, if you have prior assault crimes on your record, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and face up to 1 year in jail.
As you can see, very slight differences in the way you act can mean the difference between a misdemeanor or a felony assault crime. Whether you acted recklessly or with intent, or depending on the results of the act, your case can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony.
If you are facing charges in Missouri, contact us today to speak with a local lawyer.