How is Assault Defined Under Missouri Law?

Assault is generally defined as any attempt to kill, infliction of bodily injuries, or attempt to inflict bodily injuries on another. There are four degrees of assault under Missouri law, as well as four degrees of domestic assault. First degree assault is the most serious of the assault crimes. Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.050, first degree assault occurs when an individual attempts to kill or intentionally causes or tries to cause serious physical injuries to another, and is a Class B felony. However, if the accused inflicts serious physical injury on another, or if the alleged victim constitutes a “special victim,” then the charge becomes a Class A felony.

Special victims include several different categories of people, including law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, parole or probation officers, elderly or disabled persons, and any vulnerable person. This classification also covers correction officers, highway workers, utility workers, cable workers, and mass transit system employees.

Second degree assault under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.052 is generally a Class D felony, unless the alleged victim is a “special victim,” when it becomes a Class B felony. A person may be charged with second degree assault if he or she:

  • Attempts to kill or purposely causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to another while under a sudden passion arising out of adequate cause,
  • Knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury to another by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or
  • Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another or physical injury by discharging a firearm

Pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.054, third degree assault is defined as knowingly causing physical injury to another, which is a Class E felony, unless the alleged victim is a “special victim,” which makes it a Class D felony.

Fourth degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.056, although some actions that constitute fourth degree assault drop to a Class C misdemeanor, unless the alleged victim is a “special victim.” Generally, fourth degree assault involves recklessly causing physical injury or pain, negligently causing injury by using a firearm, purposely placing another in fear of immediate physical harm, recklessly causing a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another, and having physical contact that is reasonably seen as offensive or provocative. We will investigate the facts of your case, assess the situation, and determine whether expungement is a potential remedy for you.  No matter what your situation may be, the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center has the experience, skills and reputation that is essential to successful expungement petition proceedings. For legal advice about your case, contact us today by phone at (816)-322-8008 or fill out the online information form located here.

How Will an Out-of-State DUI Affect Me?

If you are arrested for DUI in a state other than the one in which you live, that arrest could very well follow you back to your home state. Most states, including Missouri, participate in the Driver License Compact and/or the Nonresident Violator Compact, which are interstate agreements that facilitate contact between states to share driving records and driving-related arrests in each state. While this process is not automatic, it commonly does happen among states who are members to the agreement.

For residents of Missouri, this means that if they commit an out-of-state DUI, Missouri will treat their DUI convictions such as if they had been Missouri convictions. Specifically, eight points will be assessed to your license by DOR, just as if you had been convicted of a DWI in Missouri. You also will be subject to a 90-day license suspension; after serving 30 days of the suspension you will become entitled to limited driving privileges, just as if you received a first-time Missouri DWI. Following your suspension, you will have to meet the same criteria to have your license reinstated as if you had been convicted of DWI in Missouri.

Additionally, for the purposes of counting prior DWI or alcohol-related driving offenses, the prosecution may be able to consider an out-of-state DUI in determining whether to seek sentence or charge enhancements based on prior convictions. In other words, if you have prior DWI convictions both in Missouri and Illinois, a new DWI charge might end up being your third conviction, not your second conviction, for the purposes of determining the level of the charge that you will be facing and the potential penalties. The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center of Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, is a law firm focusing on DWI and traffic violations,  as well as expungements. When you need results, contact us at (816) 322-8008 or fill out the online information form located here. 

Drug Crimes and Civil Forfeiture of Assets

Under Missouri civil forfeiture law, law enforcement officers can seize any property that they have probable cause to believe is used or derived from criminal activity. This type of seizure also requires that the police have probable cause to believe that the property will be lost or destroyed if not seized. The seizure must be incident to a legal arrest or search. The seized property can include real estate, vehicles, money, boats, weapons, investment accounts, and bank accounts. Any cash found near controlled substances is likely to be considered related to a drug offense, and arguably, police officers could determine that any weapons or assets of any value were purchased or received a result of drug distribution, thus making them subject to seizure.

Once police officers conduct a seizure of property, they must report the seizure to the prosecutor within four days. The prosecutor then must file a civil forfeiture petition with the court within ten days of receiving notice of the seizure. This petition triggers a Criminal Activity Forfeiture Act (CAFA) proceeding. Upon filing the petition, the prosecutor must give notice to the owners of the property of the CAFA proceeding.

Prosecutors can file a stand-alone civil forfeiture petition without assets first being seized by police in some cases. This might occur, for instance, if a person is charged with a crime, but no property was seized at the time of arrest, for whatever reason. In this situation, the court must determine whether reasonable cause for the seizure exists, and, if so, will issue a writ of seizure to the police to effectuate the seizure of property. Notice is not given to the property owners until the writ issues, so that the owners will not have a change to hide or destroy the property.

In any case, once there has been a court determination of reasonable cause for the seizure, the prosecutor must show that that property owner has pled guilty or been found guilty of a felony offense that is substantially related to the forfeiture. If a conviction has not occurred, then the court must stay the civil forfeiture proceedings and order release the property, often subject to bond. If the property owner later is acquitted of the criminal charges, the prosecutor must dismiss the forfeiture action. The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center has the reputation and skills that you want and need when defending yourself against criminal charges related to DWI and traffic violations. Our goal is to assist you in building the strongest defense available in your case. We also can assist you with the expungement process, which can help improve your future by sealing your previous criminal records. Do not hesitate to contact Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, at (816) 322-8008 or fill out the online information form located here.