What is the Difference Between 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th
Degree Assault?

You have probably heard the term “assault and battery” in movies and on police TV shows. This common term suggests attacking someone with your fists or with some type of object that can harm, such as a rock or a baseball bat. However, the term means more than that under Missouri law because it also includes threats where no physical contact was made. Furthermore, in Missouri, the crime of “battery” per se does not exist. Instead, all types of threats and attacks are covered under varying degrees of “assault.”

Assault is broken down into four degrees which range from Class C misdemeanors to Class B felonies, including:

  • Fourth degree: This degree has six scenarios including attempting to cause or actually causing physical injury, pain, or illness to another, putting another in fear of immediate injury (does not need actual contact), recklessly causing a substantial risk of serious physical injury or death, and knowingly causing offensive contact with someone.
  • Third degree: This degree includes knowingly causing physical injury to another.
  • Second degree: This degree has the situations of attempting to kill or cause serious physical injury in the heat of the moment from an “adequate” cause, using a deadly weapon to attempt to cause physical injury, recklessly causing serious injury either with or without discharging a firearm.
  • First-degree: As the most serious, this degree involves the attempt to kill or cause serious physical injury to another.

In these different types of assault, it will be necessary for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you “knowingly” or “recklessly” or with “criminal negligence” engaged in whatever type of assault you have been charged with. Furthermore, “serious” physical injury is generally injury that can lead to a risk of death, a protracted loss or dysfunction of a body part, or disfigurement. For example, it is obviously “knowing” that you can cause death or serious bodily injury if you cock and pull the trigger on a loaded gun aimed at another person.

We will stand up for your rights. Contact Glaesman Law Firm today.

Penalties for Assault

Penalties for an assault conviction will depend on the degree of assault charged. These can range from a Class C misdemeanor at the low level to a Class B felony punishable by a prison term of five to 15 years. A Class C misdemeanor involves jail time for up to 15 days and a fine of up to $750 while a Class A misdemeanor raises jail time to up to a year and fines up to $2,000. Class E felonies are punishable by up to four years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Class D felonies carry prison terms of up to seven years with up to $10,000 in fines. Penalties can be increased when the victim is considered a “special victim,” such as a police officer, emergency medical technician, disabled person, or others in this category as outlined by Missouri law.

Glaesman Law Firm Assault Legal Counsel

Being accused of assault, whether it is a low-level fourth-degree or the most serious first-degree is a serious matter. You could be facing jail or even prison time, depending on the circumstances. Being thrown into the criminal justice system alone can be a frightening experience as well, especially if you have never been there before. This situation calls for a legal professional who is knowledgeable in the law, experienced with prosecutors and with the courts, and who handles these kinds of matters day in and day out. At Glaesman Law Firm, you can work with a St. Louis assault lawyer who fills the bill and does so with a personalized approach, a customized strategy, and an exclusive dedication to the field of criminal defense.

Assault arrests and charges can be very frightening and intimidating experiences. You need an attorney you can trust who will go to bat for you and do everything possible to help you avoid the potential negative consequences of a conviction. Even a misdemeanor charge will give you a permanent criminal which can make future opportunities in employment, housing, educational aid, and professional licenses difficult. At Glaesman Law Firm, we will begin by exhaustively investigating your case, gathering evidence, and building your defense to put you in the best possible position for a favorable result.

Call our office or contact us for your free case evaluation. Same-day appointments can be arranged.