If you are facing assault charges in Columbia, you may wish to contact a Columbia assault lawyer right away. The penalties that can result from a conviction for this offense are severe and can create a criminal record that may be damaging to you in the future. Working with legal counsel may improve your chances of reaching a favorable resolution to your case.
A criminal lawyer could examine the circumstances that led to your assault charges and weigh the evidence against you. Together, you could have a sense of security knowing that a legal professional is ready to stand with you during this stressful time.
Missouri Revised Statutes §§565.50-565.56 establishes four different degrees of assault, ranging from the first through the fourth degree. First-degree assault is the most severe form of assault offense and involves an attempt to kill or intentionally cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury to others. A conviction for first-degree assault can result in Class A or B felony charges, depending on the circumstances.
Second-degree assault is a Class D felony offense in most cases. This offense occurs when individuals:
Conversely, third-degree assault charges result when people knowingly cause physical injury to others. As an assault lawyer in Columbia could inform, this offense typically is a Class D felony. Finally, fourth-degree assault charges can result from various actions, including recklessly causing or attempting to cause physical injury, pain, or illness to others and negligently causing injuries to others using a firearm. Fourth-degree assault is the only level of assault offense that usually results in misdemeanor charges.
Assault offenses can result in a broad range of charges and accompanying penalties. Generally, assault charges can be anywhere from a Class B felony, which could result in a prison sentence of five to 15 years, to a Class C misdemeanor in some cases. A Class C misdemeanor conviction can result in a 15-day jail sentence and a maximum $700 fine.
However, assault charges can increase when a special victim is the target of the assault, which could result in Class A felony charges for a first-degree assault. Under Missouri Revised Statutes § 565.002(14), special victims include police officers, older adults, disabled persons, and highway workers, among others. If assault charges involve a special victim, individuals may find it helpful to consult an assault attorney in Columbia for advice.
State law provides for separate criminal offenses of domestic assault, which differ somewhat from regular assault charges. To be charged with domestic assault, the alleged target of the assault must be either family or household members, including children according to Missouri Revised Statutes § 565.002(6). The statute further defines family or household members as any of the following:
Domestic assault offenses can range in severity from Class A felonies to Class A misdemeanors. The statutes that define the different degrees of domestic assault, from first- to fourth-degree, also provide for some incidents that constitute assault only when they involve domestic victims. For example, Missouri Revised Statutes § 565.076 defines fourth-degree domestic assault, in part, as occurring when individuals cause or try to isolate the alleged victim by unreasonably and significantly limiting access to others, communication devices, or transportation.
Even a misdemeanor assault conviction on your record can cause you problems in the future. You may have challenges getting employment, housing, and more. By enlisting the assistance of a Columbia assault lawyer, you may be able to fight back against these criminal charges more effectively.
Instead of trying to navigate the complex criminal justice system on your own, you may benefit from the advice that only legal counsel could offer. Legal guidance throughout your criminal proceedings could be critical to a positive outcome.