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Is assault always a felony in Missouri?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Assault is a serious criminal offense, and the consequences differ depending on the situation. Sometimes, it may be a minor misdemeanor, while other circumstances could lead to a felony charge. But what exactly makes assault go from a misdemeanor to a felony in Missouri?

When can a misdemeanor turn into a felony?

Missouri classifies assault into four degrees, each with varying levels of severity. Fourth-degree assault is a misdemeanor, and it can stem from allegations related to deliberately causing someone to be fearful of immediate injury, reckless actions that put people at risk of injury, or knowingly touching someone in an offensive manner.

Meanwhile, second and third-degree assault charges are felonies and typically (though not always) mean that someone has been injured. These cases involve unique factors like the use of a deadly weapon or acting with a sudden or intense rage. Another aspect is the identity of the victim. Assaulting specific individuals, such as law enforcement officers, health care professionals on duty, or a minor, may carry harsher penalties.

A first-degree assault charge involves trying to kill someone or knowingly causing serious harm. First-degree assault charges are also felonies, and they come with much harsher penalties than less severe charges.

Charged with assault? Do not panic.

An assault charge can be overwhelming and terrifying, but remember to stay calm and process everything first. You may politely refrain from answering questions from law enforcement without the presence of legal aid, as this is your right. It may also be best to maintain distance from the alleged victim. Respect their boundaries. Contacting them directly may violate court orders and further complicate your case.

Remember that an assault charge does not automatically mean a conviction. You can defend yourself in this challenging situation and fight for a fair resolution with a clear understanding of your options.