Different Degrees of Assault
Assault and violent crimes are classified as “crimes against persons” in the state of Missouri due to their violent nature. Every Missouri assault crime is aggressively prosecuted, however, there are some that are taken more seriously than others. Here’s what you should know about the different degrees of assault crimes in this state:
First Degree Assault Missouri
Assault in the first degree is committed when a person attempts to kill or cause serious harm to someone. Actually causing serious physical harm to someone is also considered first-degree assault. This crime is charged as either a class A or B felony, depending on the nature of the crime and the victim who was targeted.
Second Degree Assault Missouri
There are a number of ways to commit assault in the second degree. Recklessly causing serious physical harm to another person is one form of second-degree assault. Injuring someone because of the discharge of a firearm is also considered second-degree assault.
The law also classifies crimes of passion as second-degree assault. For example, if you suddenly attempt to kill, attempt to injure, or actually injure someone while fighting with someone, this would be assault in the second degree. If you were not acting in the heat of the moment, it would be first-degree assault.
If you are not sure what is considered recklessness, the person recklessly engages in conduct when he or she doesn’t intentionally want to harm another, but acts without caring for the outcome.
Third Degree Assault Missouri
Assault in the third degree is committed when a person knowingly causes harm to another person. If an individual negligently or recklessly causes physical injury to another individual with a deadly weapon, or engages in a behavior that puts another individual at risk of death or injury, or initiates an offensive contact with a person with a disability, he or she will also be committing an assault in the third degree.
This sounds similar to first-degree assault, but there is a difference between these two crimes. If you seriously injure someone, it is first-degree assault, however, if the injuries are not considered serious, it is classified as assault in the third degree instead.
Fourth Degree Assault Missouri
The final type of this crime is fourth-degree assault. A person can be charged with this crime if he intentionally puts someone in harm’s way or engages in reckless conduct that puts others at risk. If someone is injured as a result of this reckless conduct, it is still considered fourth-degree assault. This crime can also involve negligently injuring someone with a firearm or making offensive physical contact with someone, even if the contact does not injure the person.
So, a person who causes physical injury to another person by a firearm and with criminal negligence, as well as the person who recklessly creates a risk of severe injury to another person is also committing an assault in the fourth degree. Causing physical injury due to criminal negligence means the person didn’t act intentionally, but he or she have failed to exercise reasonable care.
This type of assault is also committed if the “person knowingly causes” or attempts to cause contact with a disabled person, which a person who doesn’t have a disability would regard as offensive.
Fourth-degree assault is the least serious form of assault, which is why it is a misdemeanor instead of a felony. However, there are still severe consequences for being convicted of this crime.
Assault charges in Missouri are serious and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision because a conviction for a Missouri assault becomes part of your criminal record. Even if it is a misdemeanor, an assault conviction is a conviction for committing a violent crime and as such can hurt your chances when looking for a job or a place to live. If you are facing Missouri assault charges, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Assault is generally defined as an attempt to kill, infliction of bodily injuries, or attempt to inflict bodily injury on another. There are four degrees of assault under Missouri law, as well as four degrees of domestic assault.
First-degree assault is the most serious of assault crimes. Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.050, a first-degree assault occurs when an individual attempts to kill or intentionally causes or tries to cause serious physical injury to another, and is a Class B felony. However, if the accused inflicts severe physical injury on another, or if the alleged victim constitutes a “special victim,” then the charge becomes a Class A felony.
Special victims include several different categories of people, including law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, parole or probation officers, elderly or disabled persons, and any vulnerable person. This classification also covers correction officers, highway workers, utility workers, cable workers, and mass transit system employees.
Second-degree assault under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.052 is generally a Class D felony, unless the alleged victim is a “special victim,” when it becomes a Class B felony. A person may be charged with second-degree assault if he or she:
- Attempts to kill or purposely causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to another while under a sudden passion arising out of adequate cause,
- Knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury to another by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or
- Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another or physical injury by discharging a firearm
If a person knowingly causes physical injury, then she or he is aware of what they are doing and what would be the result of their conduct.
Pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.054, third-degree assault is defined as knowingly causing physical injury to another, which is a Class E felony, unless the alleged victim is a “special victim,” which makes it a Class D felony.
Fourth-degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.056, although some actions that constitute fourth-degree assault drop to a Class C misdemeanor, unless the alleged victim is a “special victim.” Generally, fourth-degree assault involves recklessly causing physical injury or pain, negligently causing injury by using a firearm, purposely placing another in fear of immediate physical harm, recklessly causing a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another, and having physical contact that is reasonably seen as offensive or provocative. We will investigate the facts of your case, assess the situation, and determine whether expungements are a potential remedy for you.
No matter what your situation may be, you need a dedicated criminal defense lawyer on your side. The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center has the experience, skills, and reputation that is essential to successful expungement petition proceedings. For legal advice about your case, contact us today.
Domestic Assault Missouri
In the state of Missouri, an assault becomes a domestic assault when it involves family or household members, as defined in Mo. Rev. Stat. § 455.010. Family and household members include the following:
- Spouses or former spouses
- Individuals who are related by blood or marriage
- Persons who currently live or formerly lived together
- Individuals who are or have been in a continuing intimate or romantic relationship
- Persons who share a child
- Children of the persons in any relationship listed above
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.072 provides for the offense of first-degree domestic assault. This offense occurs when persons attempt to kill or knowingly cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury to a family or household member. First-degree domestic assault is a Class B felony, but it is a Class A felony if serious physical injury results from the attack.
Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.073, it is second-degree domestic assault when persons take any of the following actions:
- Knowingly cause physical injury to a family or household member by any means, including the use of a deadly weapon, choking, or strangulation
- Recklessly cause serious physical injury to a family or household member
- Recklessly cause physical injury to a family or household member using a deadly weapon
Domestic assault in the second degree is a Class D felony.
Third-degree domestic assault pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.074 occurs when persons attempt to cause physical injury or knowingly cause physical pain or illness to a family or household member. This offense is a Class E felony under Missouri law.
Finally, fourth-degree domestic assault involves a variety of actions taken toward a family or household member, including:
- Attempting or recklessly causing physical injury, pain, or illness
- Inflicting criminally negligent physical injury via a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
- Purposely placing another in fear of immediate physical harm
- Recklessly acting so as to create a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another
- Knowingly having physical contact that the actor knows another will consider to be offensive
- Knowingly attempting to cause or causing the isolation of another by unreasonably and substantially restricting or limiting access to others for the purposes of isolation
Fourth-degree domestic assault is a Class A misdemeanor offense, except that it is a Class E felony offense if the actor has been found guilty of a domestic violence offense two or more times. All degrees of domestic assault can have serious consequences. We will investigate the facts of your case, assess the situation, and determine whether you have a viable defense. No matter what your situation may be, The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center has the experience, skills, and reputation that is essential to present your defense and win.
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