The term assault can refer to various acts, from negligent physical harm to causing serious injuries with full awareness.
Missouri law differentiates between different types of assault. Furthermore, courts punish more severe offenses with harsher consequences.
Defining and classifying assault
The law considers a range of actions to be assault. For example, directly injuring another person is assault. Additionally, assault offenses include purposefully causing fear of harm or attempting to hurt someone. If an incident caused a serious physical injury resulting in impairment, disfigurement or risk of death, the assault could lead to even harsher punishments for the defendant. Generally, consequences are more severe for harm inflicted with awareness and intention. However, negligent and reckless conduct that leads to injury can result in assault charges also.
Degrees of assault and consequences
Fourth-degree assault is a misdemeanor charge that can lead to fines and up to a year in jail. In many cases, misdemeanor assault involves a physical injury caused by reckless behavior or negligence.
The court could charge a person who intentionally injures another with third-degree assault. Possible punishments for this conviction include fines up to $10,000 and a sentence with a maximum of four years. Third-degree assault is also a felony.
Intentionally inflicting serious harm or attempting to kill someone is first-degree assault, the most serious assault offense. Depending on the situation, the consequences for a first-degree assault conviction range from 5 to 30 years in prison. Injuring someone with a weapon or firearm could result in a second-degree assault charge. Second-degree assault also includes reckless behavior that leads to serious injury.
Missouri law describes several different assault offenses. Many factors, from the level of awareness to the use of weapons, can affect how courts approach assault charges.