Every Domestic Violence Case in Is Different
Every Domestic Violence Case in St. Louis, Missouri Is Different
It is a sad fact of life that many relationships in MO deteriorate over time and one or both parties can lash out at each other. Usually in Missouri, one or both parties can take out an order of protection against the other. While these orders can be quite broad (they can be taken out against children as well as adults, and last for a minimum of 180 days), in Missouri they can only be entered against a “household or family member”, or any accused abuser that has been in an intimate relationship with the person requesting the order, according to Missouri Revised Statute §455.010. Stalking is an exception to this requirement.
Most protection orders generally prohibit contact between the respondent (the term in Missouri for those who have had an order of protection taken out against them) and the alleged victim. This includes a ban on going to their home, workplace, or school, and a prohibition on contacting the other person in any way. The penalties for violating one of these orders vary from fines to time in jail, or potentially having your bail revoked and sent back into custody.
How Can a Domestic Violence Lawyer Help Me?
How Can a Domestic Violence Lawyer in St. Louis, MO Help Me?
The last few decades have seen a significant increase in awareness of domestic violence. While this has led to less domestic violence and has encouraged victims to seek out help, it has also led to aggressive and, at times, over-zealous prosecution. Aggressive prosecution calls for zealous legal representation. Combs Law’s St. Louis, MO domestic violence defense team is compassionate, discrete and dedicated to defending our clients’ rights and achieving the best possible solution for them. As part of our legal representation, we will:
- Listen to your side of the story
- Conduct a full investigation into the charges against you, the nature of the allegations, the incident in question and any relevant family history
- Help you understand the charges and evidence against you
- Work with you to develop a legal defense strategy
- Determine if your Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment or Sixth Amendment rights were violated
- Examine witness reliability
- Look for inconsistencies in the accuser’s story
- Negotiate with prosecutors to have your charges reduced or dismissed
- Defend you at trial if we have to, and challenge the jury on whether or not the prosecution has proved the charges beyond a reasonable doubt
We’ll pursue every legal avenue to eliminate the legal consequences of the charges against you in St. Louis, or severely limit them. But if the accident is stacked against you, or you made a terrible mistake you regret, we’ll still represent you and work to get the best possible resolution for your future.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in St. Louis, MO?
Domestic crimes encompass many other crimes, such as harassment, assault, stalking or kidnapping, but are categorized as a “domestic” crime when the alleged victim is a “domestic victim.” Under Missouri Revised Statute §565.002 and Missouri Revised Statute §455.010, a domestic victim can be:
- Any child, meaning someone under 17 years old, who is part of a household or family
- A spouse
- A former spouse
- Anybody related by marriage or blood
- People who have lived together or lived together in the past
- Anyone who is or has been in a continuing social, romantic or sexual relationship with the accused
- Anyone with whom the accused shares a child
Legally, the impact of specifying a “domestic victim,” is that convictions against a domestic victim carry stiffer penalties than crimes against people who do not fall under the same definition.
What Are Missouri's Domestic Assault Laws?
What Are Missouri’s Domestic Assault Laws?
Missouri domestic violence law can be found here. The definitions for “domestic assault” are largely the same as regular Missouri statutes regarding simple assault. There are four degrees of domestic assault in Missouri:
- First-degree domestic assault (RSMo §565.072) — First-degree domestic assault is reserved for “attempting to kill, knowingly causing, or attempting to cause serious physical injury” to a domestic victim. The base penalty for this is a class B felony (5-15 years in prison), but if “serious physical injury” is inflicted the charge can be upgraded to a class A felony (10-30 years, or potentially life imprisonment).
- Second-degree domestic assault (RSMo §565.073) — Second-degree domestic assault occurs when someone:
- Knowingly causes physical injury to a domestic victim with a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or by choking or strangulation
- Recklessly causes serious physical injury to a domestic victim
- Recklessly causes physical injury to a domestic victim by means of any deadly weapon
Second-degree domestic assault is a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Third-degree domestic assault (RSMo §565.074) — Third-degree domestic assault occurs when someone attempts to cause physical injury or knowingly causes physical pain or illness to a domestic victim. It is a class E felony, which as mentioned above can mean up to four years in state prison.
- Fourth-degree domestic assault (RSMo §565.076) — Fourth-degree domestic assaults occur when someone:
- Attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury, pain or illness to a domestic victim
- Causes injury to a domestic victim with a deadly or dangerous weapon through criminal negligence
- Purposely puts a domestic victim in fear of physical injury
- Recklessly engages in conduct which creates substantial risk of death or serious physical injury
- Causes physical contact with a domestic victim knowing they’ll regard the contact as offensive
- Knowingly attempts to cause or causes isolation of a domestic victim by restricting or limiting access to other people, phones, other electronic devices or transportation
Fourth-degree domestic assaults are usually classified as a class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine). However, if someone has been previously convicted of domestic assault twice before, this charge can be upgraded to a class E felony, which as mentioned above can mean up to a four-year prison sentence.
Those convicted of domestic violence charges also face additional penalties above and beyond a court sentence. Federal law stipulates that anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense, even if it is a misdemeanor, cannot legally possess a firearm. This goes above and beyond Missouri state regulations, which bar gun ownership only if someone is a convicted felon.
What Other Domestic Violence Crimes Are There?
What Other Domestic Violence Crimes Are There in St. Louis, Missouri?
Crimes against domestic victims are not just limited to causing or threatening injury. Other crimes that a parent or family member may be accused of include:
- Child abuse, neglect or abandonment (RSMo §568.060, RSMo §568.030, RSMo §568.032) —
Abuse of a child occurs when someone over the age of 18 causes a child causes physical, sexual or mental injury. Neglect is when someone puts a child in a situation where those injuries can occur. A conviction would result in anywhere from a class D to a class A felony.
Child abandonment in the first degree occurs when someone, as a parent or guardian, leaves a child under the age of 4 in any place with an intent to abandon them, and in circumstances that are likely to lead to serious injuries or death. Second-degree child abandonment occurs in the same situation with a child less than 8 tears old. They are both class B felonies, or a class A felony if the child dies.
- Endangering the welfare of a child (RSMo §568.045, RSMo §568.050)—
First-degree endangering the welfare of a child occurs when someone:
- Knowingly acts in a manner that creates substantial risk to a child’s life, body or health
- Who is a parent or guardian knowingly engages in sexual misconduct
- Knowingly encourages, aids or causes a child to engage in any drug crimes
- Produces, possesses, sells or transports amphetamine or methamphetamine in the presence or residence of a child
Convictions result in anywhere from a class D to class A felony.
Second-degree endangering the welfare of a child occurs when someone:
- With criminal negligence, creates substantial risk to a child’s life, body or health
- Knowingly encourages, aids or causes a child to engage in any juvenile crimes
- Who is a parent or guardian fails to reasonably prevent a child from committing a juvenile crime
- Knowingly encourages, aids or causes a child to enter a room, building or structure that’s considered a public nuisance
A second-degree conviction can result in a class A misdemeanor or class E felony.
- Parental kidnapping (RSMo §565.153)—
Parental kidnapping occurs when someone takes, detains, conceals or entices away a child, without good cause, with the intent of depriving another person of their custody rights. Its is a class D or class E felony.
- Other crimes potentially involving “domestic victims” include:
Contact An Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney
Contact An Experienced St. Louis, Missouri Domestic Violence Attorney
Combs Law Group, a top-rated St. Louis criminal defense law firm, understands that domestic violence is often a criminal charge that stirs up a large amount of emotion on all sides. St. Louis judges and prosecutors will often take a personal involvement in domestic violence cases and attempt to get the couple to resolve their differences. In addition, it is not uncommon for spurious St. Louis domestic violence charges to be filed by either party currently in the midst of a divorce or separation, as these can influence custody, property, or other aspects of a divorce case.
As premier St. Louis domestic violence attorneys, Combs Law Group knows all about what these sorts of accusations can do to someone’s reputation. Our firm fights fiercely to investigate all facets of your St. Louis domestic violence case and obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us online or call us at (314) 900-HELP us today to schedule a free, confidential case review with one of our attorneys.