Archives

FindLaw Network

What elements affect the seriousness of assault charges?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2021 | Criminal Appeals |

Many jurisdictions draw an important distinction between assault and battery. In Missouri, however, both types of offenses are punishable as assault crimes.

Statutory law categorizes charges with numerical degrees. A first-degree assault charge carries the most severe penalties. Defendants in these types of cases should be aware of key elements that bear on the seriousness of charges.

Intent

In order for a jury to find someone guilty of assault, prosecutors must prove a person’s mental state at the time that he or she causes harm to someone. If a prosecutor can demonstrate that a person intended to cause death or major bodily harm, the state may bring charges for first-degree assault. Reckless indifference to the possibility of someone’s death may be grounds for second-degree charges. The use of a deadly weapon may indicate the level of harm that a person intended to cause.

Injuries

The extent of someone’s injuries could also be a determinative factor in the degree of charges against an alleged aggressor. Non-serious injuries may not necessarily rise to the level of first-degree assault. However, a person’s intent to cause more serious injuries than a victim sustained could lead to second-degree charges.

The degree of an offense will play a key role in the consequences that would follow a conviction. However, it is imperative that defendants take any type of charges for assault very seriously. A conviction for a violent offense can create a lasting impact on a person’s life and impact their livelihoods or personal relationships significantly.

Archives

FindLaw Network