If a spouse or family member has accused you of domestic assault in Missouri, you should understand the potential charges you face. State law establishes three levels of domestic assault charges with different criminal penalties for each.
Review the degrees of domestic assault in Missouri and the legal consequences for a conviction.
Third-degree domestic assault
This category is the least serious offense. Actions that constitute third-degree domestic assault include:
- Unreasonably keeping a family member from seeing other people
- Touching a family member in an offensive way
- Recklessly placing a family member in a life-threatening situation
- Causing a family member to fear serious physical injury or death
- Negligently causing injury to a family member with a weapon
- Recklessly causing or purposely trying to cause physical injury to a family member
These crimes are misdemeanor offenses that carry up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Second-degree domestic assault
This category includes injuring a family member by strangulation or with a deadly weapon. An attempt to do so also results in second-degree domestic assault charges, which carry a fine of up to $5,000 and up to seven years in prison.
First-degree domestic assault
Missouri defines first-degree domestic assault as purposely causing the serious injury or death of a spouse or family member. For a serious injury, this charge is a Class B felony that carries five to 15 years in prison. Domestic assault resulting in murder is a Class A felony that can result in 10 to 30 years in prison. You can also receive Class A felony charges for a second first-degree offense involving a serious injury.
After a domestic violence accusation, you have the right to defend yourself in court. You can attempt to show that you did not commit the assault or that you acted in self-defense.