Criminal Battery Lawyers in Missouri

Criminal Battery Lawyers

Although the phrase “battery and assault” is common, these two words do not refer to the same crime. Most states separate the two. The word “battery” is not used expressly in Missouri state laws. Instead, any act of violence that might be treated as battery in a different state is treated as “assault” in MO.

The Show-Me state has also categorized assault into various degrees, from first-degree (which is the most serious felony) to fourth-degree (the most minor misdemeanor).

If you are still confused by these two often confusing terms, we will explain them more in the article. Read on to learn more.

What is Assault? What is Battery?

Historically, assault is any intentional act that induces fear of physical harm in another person. Threatening someone with a weapon, making threatening gestures, verbally threatening someone, and unsuccessful attempts to strike someone are all examples of assault. Historically, assault simply means the act of making another person fear physical harm and not the act of physically harming them.

On the other hand, battery is what has been historically considered as the act of actually inflicting physical injury. Attacking someone with a weapon, touching someone inappropriately, or striking someone are all examples of battery. Some jurisdictions refer to battery as “completed assault.”

Assault and Battery in Missouri

As mentioned earlier in the introduction, Missouri laws do not separate assault and battery. Under MO Chapter 565 Offenses Against the Person, both assault and battery are clothed as different degrees of the assault charge. The threat of physical violence is treated as fourth-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor in MO.

Actual acts of violence and negligence resulting in physical injury are covered under first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree assault.

Felony Assault Charges in MO

In the state of Missouri, there are three classifications of felony assault charges. These are those acts of violence or negligence that result in serious injuries, disfigurements, or hospitalization of the victim.

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First-Degree Assault

A person is guilty of first-degree assault if they:

  1. Attempt to kill another person or
  2. Knowingly attempt to cause or cause another person serious injuries.

When a first-degree assault results in serious injuries, the crime is categorized as a Class A felony, and it’s punishable by 10-30 years or life imprisonment. This penalty also applies if the accused committed the offense against a special victim. Special victims include the disabled, elderly, and vulnerable individuals.

In all other cases under this category, the crime is classified as a Class B felony punishable by 5-15 years in prison.

If the accused committed the above offense when acting out of a sudden influence of passion rather than intentionally, it is considered a second-degree assault and not a first-degree assault. However, the burden of proving sudden passion lies with the defendant.

To effectively prove sudden passion, you should consider hiring seasoned criminal battery defense lawyers who will help show that your heightened emotional state and out-of-control actions resulted from a sudden and unexpected event provoked by another person.

Second-Degree Assault

In Missouri, a person commits second-degree assault if they:

  1. Attempt to kill another or cause or attempt to cause grave physical injuries to another while under the influence of a sudden passion arising from adequacy cause;
  2. Recklessly causes serious physical injuries to another;
  3. Attempts to cause or knowingly cause physical injuries to another without a deadly weapon; or
  4. Recklessly caused physical injury to another by discharging a firearm.

Second-degree assault in MO is a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of $10,000. However, if the offense involved a special victim, it is a class B felony punishable by 5-15 years in prison.

Third-Degree Assault

A person commits third-degree assault if they knowingly cause physical injury to another person. It is a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

However, if the offense is committed against a special victim, it is a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Fourth-Degree Assault

A person is guilty of fourth-degree assault in Missouri if they:

  1. Recklessly engage in conduct that poses a substantial risk of serious physical injury or death to another person;
  2. Attempts or recklessly causes pain, physical injury, or illness to another;
  3. Knowingly attempts or engages in physical contact that is provocative or offensive, and the victim is a person with disability; or
  4. Negligently causes physical injury to another person using a firearm.

These offenses are class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,000.

It is also a fourth-degree assault to knowingly engage in provocative or offensive contact with a person or cause another person to fear imminent physical harm. Anyone found guilty of these offenses faces a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail, a fine of up to $750, or both.

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Defenses to Assault and Battery Charges

If you have been charged with assault in Missouri, the first step should be to talk to seasoned and experienced criminal battery attorneys. Our criminal defense lawyers at KC Defense Counsel can help you prepare a solid defense to the assault charges against you.

Some common defenses include self-defense, sudden passion, and “it wasn’t me.” For instance, if you claim you acted in self-defense, your MO battery lawyer will help you prove that your actions were in response to a threat and that you used a reasonable amount of force.

Another defense strategy is to poke holes in the state prosecutor’s case. For example, your defense lawyer might argue that the prosecutor failed to prove that you acted knowingly or that the injuries were substantial. You can be acquitted if the prosecution does not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Contact KC Defense Counsel Today

If you are facing criminal battery or what is referred to as assault charges in Missouri, it is important that you talk to experienced defense attorneys. Assault charges are serious and can greatly impact your life if convicted.

KC Defense Counsel can help determine the right defense strategy to fight the assault charges. We will protect your rights and strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call us at 816-287-3787 or complete and submit this contact form to book your free consultation today.