Assault Charges Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri

Many different scenarios can lead to criminal assault charges, from being caught up in a bar brawl to brandishing a weapon when threatened. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Statistical Analysis Center, there were 21,316 criminal arrests made for simple assaults in Missouri in 2018.

What Is Assault?

All assault charges are serious and could have a major impact on your future. The consequences to your finances and personal life could be extreme. To fight your case, you need a criminal defense attorney who understands the system and will work tirelessly for you. I’ve successfully defended against all types of assault charges in my practice based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Definition Under Missouri Law

The definition of assault depends on the severity of the crime. Assault charges can range from first-degree to fourth-degree. Domestic assaults have their own separate category.

Assault in the First Degree

Attempting to kill someone or attempting to cause serious injury to another person is considered a first-degree assault. 

Felony

First-degree assault is a class B felony, unless the victim falls into a special category, in which case it will become a class A felony.

Examples of Assault in the First Degree

For a crime to be considered assault in the first degree, the person must: 

  • attempt to kill someone
  • attempt, knowingly, to cause someone serious physical injury

Possible Penalties

For a class B felony, you could spend from five and up to 15 years in prison. For a class A felony, you could spend from 10 and up to 30 years (or possibly even life) in prison.

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Assault in the Second Degree

Assault in the second degree is more complicated than both first-degree and third-degree assault. This type of assault involves either recklessness or the fact that the assault arose out of sudden passion that had a cause.

Felony

A second-degree assault will be considered either a class B or a class C felony.

Examples of Assault in the Second Degree

This type of assault includes:

  • seriously injuring someone through recklessness
  • seriously injuring someone while intoxicated
  • injuring someone through discharging a firearm recklessly
  • attempting to kill or seriously injure someone in a moment of sudden passion that was caused by an adequate reason 
  • attempting to or knowingly causing physical injury to someone with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  • injuring an emergency vehicle operator while driving in a criminally negligent way and violating traffic laws 

Possible Penalties

For a class B felony, you could spend from five to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. For a class C felony, you could spend up to seven years in prison, be fined $5,000, or be punished with both.

Assault in the Third Degree

In a third-degree assault, a person knowingly causes physical injury to another person. The injury is minor, such as a cut, scrape, or bruise. 

Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is one of the least serious offenses. Assault in the third degree is considered a misdemeanor.

Examples of Assault in the Third Degree

Assault in the third degree includes: 

  • purposely threatening someone and causing that person to fear that they are about to suffer serious injuries
  • trying to injure someone or causing an injury to someone through recklessness
  • acting in such a way that someone else is in serious risk of dying or suffering serious injuries through recklessness
  • purposely acting in an offensive or provocative way with someone who is incapacitated
  • causing injury to someone with a deadly weapon through negligence 

Possible Penalties

For assault in the third-degree as a Class A misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. 

Assault in the Fourth Degree

Similar to assault in the second degree, there are many categories that fall under assault in the fourth degree. 

Misdemeanor

Fourth-degree assault is considered a class A misdemeanor with some exceptions. Consult with your attorney to find out more.

Examples of Assault in the Fourth Degree

Assault in the fourth degree includes:

  • attempting to cause or recklessly causing physical injury, pain or illness to someone
  • purposely placing another person in danger of immediate injury
  • physically injuring someone with a firearm through criminal negligence
  • recklessly acting in a way that creates the risk of death or injury to someone
  • causing physical contact, knowingly, with a person with a disability, which a reasonable person without a disability would consider offensive or provocative
  • causing physical contact, knowingly, with someone knowing that the person will consider the contact offensive or provocative

Possible Penalties

If found guilty of assault in the fourth degree, you may be charged a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail for a class A misdemeanor.

Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is a kind of assault directed against a domestic victim. That would include: 

  • current or former romantic or intimate partner
  • co-parent (no matter what the relationship status is)
  • current or former spouse
  • current or former cohabitant
  • a relative by blood or by marriage

Misdemeanor

Domestic assault can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the degree of the crime.

Possible Penalties

Penalties for domestic assault range from no less than ten and up to 30 years or even life in prison for a class A felony for a first-degree assault, to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 for a class A misdemeanor for a fourth-degree assault.

Assault Defense Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri

If you have been charged with assault, you need to know how the law applies to your specific case. As a former DNA analyst with a Masters in Forensic Science, I have successfully used my past experience and my legal skills to argue cases for clients who need it the most. Whether you are in St. Louis, St. Charles, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, or East St. Louis, I will work to provide you with a strong legal defense in Missouri. Contact my firm, The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith, for a consultation and to start preparing your case.