DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY
IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
A conviction for domestic violence will have a profoundly negative effect on your life. In addition to the impact it has on your relationship with the alleged victim, it can eliminate you from consideration for certain jobs and professions, revoke professional licensure, and label you as a violent offender forever.
Regardless of guilt or innocence, you need an attorney on your side who has successfully defended those charged with domestic violence in St. Louis, Missouri, in St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson counties, and in East St. Louis. Everyone is entitled to the best defense possible.
What Does Missouri Consider as Domestic Violence?
Any threat of violence, assault, or abusive acts perpetrated against a member of your family or household, or against someone with whom you have or had certain relationships is domestic violence. The attempt to cause physical pain or injury, which includes the act of sexual abuse, the act of causing it, or putting the domestic victim in fear of it constitutes domestic assault under Missouri law.
Domestic victims include current and former spouses, household members, and intimate partners, blood relatives, and someone with whom you share a child. Charges range from first-degree to fourth-degree domestic assault with first-degree as the most serious. In general, actions that make a victim fear physical injury could result in a fourth-degree charge. A third-degree charge may result when there is injury. A second-degree charge involves serious injury, strangulation, or the use of a weapon. A first-degree charge involves serious injury or an attempt to kill.
What Are the Consequences of a Conviction?
Penalties range from up to one year in jail and fines for a misdemeanor fourth-degree conviction to no less than five years in prison and up to 15 years for a first-degree conviction. Penalties become more severe if you have any prior convictions for domestic assault.
There are potential consequences other than fines and incarceration. You may be ordered to complete anger management classes or substance abuse programs if drugs or alcohol factor in the violence. Due to the violent nature of the crime, you could lose your right to own or use a firearm. You could even lose custody or visitation rights with your child. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you could be deported.
What Are Some Defenses Against Domestic Assault Charges?
The issues your criminal defense attorney will raise in your defense will depend upon the circumstances of the incident. There are, however, three defenses often used, including the assertion that you have been falsely accused of the crime. Domestic assault is one of those crimes where one person can often successfully accuse the other of committing it. Charges can be filed against you for the threat of violence or putting someone in fear of injury. That pits the word of the alleged victim against yours, and the law seeks to protect a potential victim, not the person they accuse.
Evidence of self-defense can be proffered if you injured the other person while attempting to defend yourself from them. Perhaps someone in your household raised a fist to strike you, you caught their wrist, and their wrist was injured as they tried to free themselves.
A third potential defense is a lack of intent. For example, you and your spouse argue, and you leave the house. You slam the door which shatters the glass and your spouse, who is following you, is cut by the broken glass. You did not intend to cause them physical harm. It was instead an unintended consequence of your departure.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
Facing most any criminal charge without an attorney by your side is not a wise choice. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows the law, understands your rights, and will use the law to defend you against a domestic violence charge. Your attorney knows how to investigate the circumstances of any incident that resulted in the allegation. The prosecuting attorney will rely heavily on just the word of the alleged victim. Your attorney, however, can call their word into question and offer evidence and negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to seek a reduction in charges. If the case goes to trial, your attorney can present evidence to minimize conviction penalties or win an acquittal if possible.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY
IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
The rest of your life may depend on whether you are convicted of domestic violence. With so much at stake, you should put someone uniquely qualified on your case. I am not only an experienced criminal defense attorney but also a forensic scientist. I give my clients in St. Louis, Missouri the benefit of both. Contact The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith today to set up an initial consultation.