If a person is charged with domestic assault in Missouri, it can cause him or her to face significant penalties. It’s helpful to understand the levels of domestic assault, possible defenses to the charge and how an attorney can help.

In Missouri, domestic assault is defined as knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical injury to a family or household member. There are three levels of domestic assault.

First degree domestic assault includes killing or causing serious injury to the person. Second degree domestic assault involves injury using a deadly weapon or strangling.

Domestic assault in the third degree may include attempting to injure the person, putting the person in fear of immediate physical injury or putting the person in a situation with a high risk of death or injury. It may also include knowingly touching the person in an offensive manner or isolating the family member from other people.

The penalties for this crime depend on the degree, however they can range from a misdemeanor to a felony and may include a fine.

Defenses

The defenses to a domestic assault charge are dependent on the individual circumstances of the situation, however there are a few general defenses that may be helpful to be aware of.

If a person acted in self-defense or was defending someone else when the injury happened, that may be a defense to the charge.

If the injury was caused by an accident, meaning that the person didn’t intend to cause the injury, that may also be a defense.

An experienced attorney can review the circumstances of the incident and provide guidance to the accused person.