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St. Charles Domestic Violence Lawyer
40+ Years of Experience as a Trial Attorney and Negotiator in St. Charles and Lincoln Counties
Attorney Wayne T. Schoeneberg has been practicing law for more than 40 years. As a result, you can trust that he’s seen it all; he’s honed his skills as both a trial lawyer and as a negotiator, and he will put this experience to use as he argues for mitigated or even dismissed charges. Attorney Schoeneberg is a results-driven attorney who provides clients with personalized attention. Especially when facing domestic violence charges, you may understandably be facing anxiety and uncertainty. Attorney Schoeneberg will be your trusted advisor who will soothe your fears and build a strategy around what result you are looking for.
Call (314) 708-1000 or contact Wayne T. Schoeneberg online to learn more.
What Constitutes a Crime of Domestic Violence?
In Missouri, domestic violence is unlawful violence against family or household members, as well as past or present romantic partners. More specifically, a person may be charged with domestic violence if they commit assault against:
- a current or former spouse;
- a family member by blood or marriage;
- a person with whom the offender lives or previously lived;
- a person with whom the offender has or had a dating or romantic relationship; or
- a person with whom the offender has a child.
Three Degrees of Domestic Assault
Domestic assault can be charged under three different categories – third degree domestic assault, second degree domestic assault, and first degree domestic assault. Third degree assault occurs if the defendant does any of the following against the alleged victim:
- attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury;
- acts with criminal negligence and consequently physically injures them by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- threatens the other person, causing them to fear immediate bodily injury;
- recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death or serious physical injury;
- intentionally engages in physical contact, knowing that the other person will find the contact offensive; or
- knowingly attempts to cause or causes isolation of the other person by unreasonably or substantially restricting or limiting access to other persons, communication devices, or transportation.
In Missouri, domestic assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2000, or both. If the offense is a third or subsequent conviction for third degree domestic assault, however, the crime rises to a Class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Second degree domestic assault similarly involves a defendant committing the following prohibited acts against a domestic partner:
- attempting to cause or knowingly causing physical injury by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or by choking or strangulation;
- recklessly causing serious physical injury; or
- recklessly causing physical injury by means of a deadly weapon.
Domestic assault in the second degree is a Class C felony punishable by up to 7-10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Lastly, the most serious level of domestic assault is first degree domestic assault, which occurs when a person either attempts to kill a domestic partner or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to them.
If the first degree domestic assault does not result in serious physical injury to the alleged victim, it may be charged as a Class B felony punishable by 5-15 years in prison. If the offender actually causes serious physical injury or has a prior conviction for this crime, however, it will be charged as a Class A felony punishable by 10-30 years or life in prison.
Alternative Sentencing Options for Domestic Assault
In addition to the above jail time and fines, the court can also order a convicted individual of any degree of domestic assault to pay restitution, which reimburses the alleged victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as costs of medical treatment, counseling sessions, or repair of damaged property.
A court in Missouri may also decide to suspend a jail or prison sentence and place the defendant on probation instead. If the court suspends execution of sentence (SES), it will impose a jail or prison sentence but allow the defendant to serve all or a portion of the time on probation rather than in jail or prison. While on probation, the individual must comply with the conditions of their probation to remain eligible, including:
- meeting regularly with their probation officer;
- obtaining employment;
- participating in psychological treatment;
- refraining from criminal activity of any kind.