Assault and Battery

Missouri Assault Laws

First degree assault – A person commits the crime of assault in the first degree if he or she attempts to kill or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to another person.  Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony unless, during the commission of the assault, the actor inflicts serious physical injury on the victim in which case it is a Class A felony.

Second degree assault – A person commits the crime of assault in the second degree, which is a Class C felony, if he or she:

  • Attempts to kill or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to another person under the influence of sudden passion arising out of adequate cause; or
  • Attempts to cause or knowingly causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or
  • Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person; or
  • While in an intoxicated condition or under the influence of controlled substances or drugs, operates a motor vehicle in this state and, when so operating, acts with criminal negligence to cause physical injury to any other person than himself; or
  • Recklessly causes physical injury to another person by means of discharge of a firearm; or
  • Operates a motor vehicle and acts with criminal negligence to cause physical injury to any person authorized to operate an emergency vehicle, while such person is in the performance of official duties.

Third degree assault – A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if:

  • The person attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or
  • With criminal negligence the person causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or
  • The person purposely places another person in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or
  • The person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death or serious physical injury to another person; or
  • The person knowingly causes physical contact with another person knowing the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative; or
  • The person knowingly causes physical contact with an incapacitated person, which a reasonable person, who is not incapacitated, would consider offensive or provocative.

Assault in the third degree may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, a Class C misdemeanor, or even a Class D felony when it involves a third or subsequent commission of the crime of assault in the third degree.  Many domestic assault cases are often charged as a Class A misdemeanor of assault in the third degree.

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