St. Louis Criminal Lawyer: Understand St. Louis Domestic Assault Law


Domestic assault is a crime under Missouri law. It is defined as an act of knowingly causing or attempting to cause a physical injury to a family member. You can face serious legal consequences if you are convicted of domestic assault in the state. It is best to have a St. Louis defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible to protect your rights in these cases.

Degrees of Domestic Assault

For the purpose of determining a penalty and/or prescription of punishment, domestic assault in Missouri is categorized into three degrees or levels.

  1. The highest level, called the first degree domestic assault, involves killing or seriously injuring a member of your family or household.
  2. The second degree domestic assault occurs if you attempt to or actually cause physical injury to a member of the family or household by strangling or with the use of a deadly weapon.
  3. The third degree domestic assault occurs when an individual commits one of the following acts:
  •       Attempts to or recklessly causes physical injury to a member of the family
  •       Injures a member of the family due to negligence while using a deadly weapon
  •       Causes the fear of imminent physical injury in a family member
  •       Recklessly places a household member at a serious risk of injury or death
  •       Consciously touches a household member in an offensive manner
  •       Consciously isolates a household member from others in an unreasonable manner

If you are facing domestic assault charges of the first, second or third degree, you should obtain legal advice from a skilled St. Louis criminal lawyer.

Domestic Assault – Penalties in Missouri

A first degree domestic assault in Missouri is a class B felony. However, if during the course of this act, the person causes serious physical harm to the victim, the offense will be treated as a class A felony. Your St. Louis defense lawyer will explain to you what could be the potential sentence range in your particular case.

In general, the maximum penalty for a domestic assault for different categories would be as follows:

  •        Class A felony: Life imprisonment or jail time of 10 to 30 years
  •        Class B felony: Minimum 5 years to maximum 15 years of jail time
  •        Class C felony: Maximum 10 years of jail time and/or up to $10,000 fine
  •        Class D felony: Maximum 7 years of jail time and/or up to $10,000 fine
  •        Class E Felony: Maximum 4 years of jail time and/or up to $10,000
  •        Class A misdemeanor: Maximum 1 year of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000

Potential Defenses

An experienced St. Louis defense lawyer can fight on your behalf if you’re facing domestic assault charges with a number of possible defenses.

These defenses may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

False Case– The primary defense available to you is that you did not commit the act of domestic assault. It is possible that the family member who has accused you may be trying to hurt by make a false accusation. If you have an alibi, which means you were not present when the alleged act occurred, can constitute a strong defense.

Self-Defense– In domestic assault cases in Missouri, this is often used as a credible defense. Your St. Louis criminal lawyer can try to establish that an abuser attempted to injure you, and in the process of trying to protect yourself, you caused an injury to that person. Not only an adult but also an abused child may be able to use this defense.

Free One Hour Case Evaluation from a St. Louis Defense Lawyer

At Miller & Hine Law, we understand what you are going through when facing domestic assault charges. We can offer you a free one hour case evaluation in person, on the phone, or even at the jail. Call us at (314) 413-2053 or reach us online.