There are many misconceptions about what the crime of “domestic violence” means because every state has its definition. Individuals accused of domestic violence in Missouri may not understand their rights or why the state has charged them with this crime.
Domestic violence in Missouri
The crime of domestic violence includes many types of behavior in Missouri, not just what we commonly refer to as “physical abuse.” A physical altercation between domestic partners can form the basis for a domestic violence charge. Still, it is not the only act that can. Other actions that can qualify as domestic violence under Missouri law include threats of assault, battery, harassing or stalking.
Who presses the charges
The accuser or victim does not necessarily need to agree to press charges against an individual for domestic violence. Under Missouri law, once a person alleges domestic violence, the prosecution will scrutinize the facts to determine whether the acts constitute domestic violence.
Then, the state decides whether it will press charges on behalf of the domestic violence victim even if the victim does not want to move ahead with the case.
The reason for this is that the state believes that the alleged abuser could potentially convince the victim to “drop the charges” or not to go forward with the case. For this reason, once the accuser alleges domestic violence, it is out of their hands and into the hands of the state.
Domestic violence accusations can lead to a felony charge
Missouri’s laws are harsh on individuals convicted of domestic violence, but some penalties can be severe and life-changing. Allegations of domestic violence can lead to felony charges, which can have a powerful impact on an individual’s ability to work and live a normal life.
Domestic violence charges can be serious and the legal process is difficult to navigate. It is important to understand what your rights are under Missouri law and how you can protect yourself.