Domestic violence is always a serious problem, and it’s always crucial to get the help you need. If you are a victim of domestic violence in the state of Missouri, it is essential to know your rights and what resources are available to help you. Here are some things you need to know about Missouri’s domestic violence laws:

How the Missouri Domestic Violence Laws Have Changed

Previously, domestic violence laws in Missouri only covered physical abuse, but the new laws expanded the definition to include any type of physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse. 

The new laws also increased the penalties for domestic violence, making it a felony offense in some cases. In addition, the new laws created a statewide domestic violence hotline and required law enforcement to take a more active role in investigating and prosecuting domestic violence cases.

The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence (MCADV) started as a small organization that provided assistance and education to survivors of domestic violence. Over time, their programs have become nationally and internationally recognized for their high-quality services. Today, they are the sole provider of these services in Missouri.

That means there are now places where victims of domestic violence can go to get help and protection. The law also recognizes domestic violence as a serious crime, and police are trained to respond to these situations appropriately.

The Difference Between Domestic and Regular Assault

In Missouri, there are two types of assault: domestic assault and regular assault. Domestic assault is a specific type of assault between family or household members or between current or former dating partners. Regular assault is any other type of assault that does not fall under the domestic assault category.

The main difference between domestic and regular assault is the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. In domestic assault cases, the victim and perpetrator are typically family members or have a close personal relationship. In contrast, in regular assault cases, the victim and perpetrator may not have any relationship at all.

Another difference between domestic and regular assault is the penalties that may be imposed. Domestic assault is typically considered a more serious offense than regular assault; thus, the penalties for domestic assault are usually more severe.

If you have been charged with assault, it is crucial to understand the difference between domestic and regular assault so that you can be properly prepared to defend yourself in court.

The Mandatory Arrest Law in Missouri

In Missouri, there is a mandatory arrest law in place for certain domestic violence offenses. That means if the police are called to a domestic violence incident and have probable cause to believe that violence has been committed, they must make an arrest.

There are a few exceptions to this law, such as if the victim does not want to press charges or if the offender can convince the police that there was no offense committed. However, in general, the police must arrest the suspected perpetrator if they have probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.

This law is in place to help protect victims of domestic violence. Often, victims are afraid to call the police because they do not want their abuser to be arrested. However, with this law in place, the victim can be assured that the police will take action and make an arrest if they believe an offense has been committed.


Missouri’s domestic violence laws are designed to protect victims of domestic violence and punish perpetrators. These laws can be complex, and it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney if you are facing charges or are a victim of domestic violence. Missouri’s domestic violence laws are constantly evolving, and it is crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest laws and developments.

Should you be involved in a domestic assault and need a criminal defense attorney in St. Charles, we can help you. Wayne Schoeneberg is an award-winning & highly-rated criminal defense attorney with more than 40 years of experience.