Assault and Battery Lawyer St. Louis, MO. If you or someone you know has been charged with assault and battery, you probably already know that this is a very serious crime. Prosecutors and judges classify assault and battery as a violent crime and are driven to get convictions on these sorts of crimes. You could easily be looking at many years in prison and severly limited freedoms, employment opportunities, and life outcomes following your conviction.
Choosing a reputable St. Louis criminal defense lawyer should be your first priority when you have been accused of assault and battery charges. At Combs Law Group, we are proud to say that we have earned a reputation as one of St. Louis‘ top criminal defense law firms. This is not only because of our record of getting our clients the best possible outcomes regardless of their case type, but also because we provide a level of client satisfaction unmatched in St. Louis. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP to speak with an attorney.
Is There A Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Traditionally in the law, assault is defined as “any intentional act that causes another person to fear physical harm”. This includes verbal or physical threats, threatening gestures (including those done with a weapon), and any attempt to strike another person. Battery, on the other hand, is defined as “the act of inflicting injury”: this is why in some jurisdictions it is also referred to as “completed assault”. In short, assault is the act of threatening someone with physical harm, while battery is actually following through on those threats.
In some states, assault and battery are separate charges in the criminal code, with penalties that reflect the difference of these crimes. Missouri is not one of these states. Both threats and completed assault are both defined as “assault” under Missouri statutes.
Assault and Battery Law in Missouri
Missouri law has four different degrees of assault charges, which accordingly have different levels of punishment. These are:
- Assault in the first degree (officially Missouri RS 565.050) is defined as when someone “attempts to kill or knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury to another person”. This is a class B felony, punishable by 5 to 15 years in prison.
- Assault in the second degree (or MO RS 565.052) is when someone atempts to kill or cause serious harm “out of sudden passion arising out of adequate cause”, causing or attempting to cause injury with a deadly weapon, recklessly causing injury to another person, or injuring another person after shooting off a firearm. This is a class D felony, which carries with it a punishment of no more than seven years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Assault in the third degree (MO RS 565.064) is defined as when someone “knowingly causes physical injury to another person”. This is a class E felony punishable by anywhere from one year in local jail to four years in prison. This can also be a “nested” lesser included offense within second-degree assault charges.
- Assault in the fourth degree (MO RS 565.056) is the much more traditional definition of “assault”. This is defined as when someone:
With the exception of sections 3 and 6 listed above, assault in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. Sections 3 and 6, however, are seen as class C misdemeanors, with a maximum sentence of 15 days in jail and a fine of no more than $700.
- attempts to, or recklessly causes, physical injury, pain, or illness to another person
- causing physical injury to another person using a firearm with “criminal negligence”, i.e. accidentally
- purposely places another person “in apprehension of immediate physical injury”
- recklessly engages in conduct that “creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person
- knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical contact with a disabled person, in a way that a reasonable person who does not have a disability would consider “offensive or provocative”
- knowingly causes physical contact with another person fully aware that the other person will see it as provocative
Missouri law also increases the punishment if assault is committed against a “special victim”. This category is outlined in MO RS 565.002 and consists of the following:
- First responders in the performance of their duties
- Probation/parole officers in the performance of their duties
- Elderly people
- People with disabilities
- “Vulnerable” people
- Corrections officers in the performance of their duties
- Highway road crews in a construction/work zone
- Utility and cable workers in the performance of their duties
- Employees of mass transit systems (such as MetroBus drivers) in the performance of their duties
When committed against a “special victim”, first-degree assaults become class A felonies (punishable by 10-30 years in prison), second-degree assaults become class B felonies, third-degree assaults are upgraded to class D felonies, and the fourth-degree assault types previously regarded as class C misdemeanors are increased to a class A misdemeanor.
Contact A Top-Rated St. Louis Assault and Battery Lawyer
No matter what degree of assault charge you are facing, if you want to maintain your reputation and freedom you will need to contact a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer who fights fiercely for the rights of their clients. Combs Law Group takes a unique approach to all their St. Louis criminal defense cases in that they get to know their clients, their unique situation, and their personal attitudes. From there, they create a criminal defense strategy that is tailor-made to get them the outcome they desire most, whether that is ensuring that a felony will not go on their criminal record or doing whatever it takes to win a jury trial. Best of all, when you work with Combs Law Group you will have 24/7 access to your attorney to discuss the particulars of your case.
Our firm knows that choosing a St. Louis assault and battery lawyer is a very important decision and that there are many excellent criminal defense attorneys all around St. Louis. We invite you to view what some of our previous clients have said about their experience with Combs Law Group, as well as contact us for a free consultation regarding your St. Louis assault and battery case.