Domestic violence laws criminalize violence against spouses, family members and persons with whom the offender is or has been in a romantic relationship. The acts that constitute a domestic violence assault are somewhat different than those that constitute ordinary assault and the possible penalties can be more serious under certain circumstances.
A person is guilty of domestic assault if he commits an assault against any of the following victims:
- 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.
If you are being abused by your partner, you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
When looking for help as a victim of abuse, remember to consider how private your computer, Internet, and phone use are. Consider whether there’s anything you can and should do to prevent someone else from learning that you’re doing research or seeking help. Some victims, for instance, might use the same computer or device as the abuser or might have a phone plan that allows the abuser to see the calls they make and receive. Other kinds of technology, like home security cameras and GPS in phones and cars, can also allow for monitoring by the abuser.
Domestic Assault in the Third Degree
A person commits a domestic assault in the third degree if he commits any of the following acts against a victim designated as a domestic victim:
- attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury
- acting with criminal negligence, physically injures a domestic victim by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
- threatens a victim, causing the victim 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 with the victim, knowing that the victim will find the contact offensive, or
- knowingly attempts to cause or causes isolation of the victim by unreasonably or substantially restricting or limiting access to other persons, communication devices or transportation.
Domestic assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor in Hamilton punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1000, or both; however, if the offense is a third or subsequent conviction for third degree domestic assault or the equivalent (whether the prior convictions occurred in Hamilton or another state or country), the crime is a Class D felony punishable by up to one year in jail or up to four years in prison and a fine up to $5000, or both. (Mo. Stat. Ann. §565.074.)
Domestic Assault in the Second Degree
A person is guilty of domestic assault in the second degree if he commits any of the following acts against a domestic victim:
- attempts to cause or knowingly causes physical injury by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or by choking or strangulation
- recklessly causes serious physical injury, or
- recklessly causes physical injury by means of a deadly weapon.
Domestic assault in the second degree is Class C felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a fine up to $5000, or both. (Mo. Stat. Ann. §565.073.)
Domestic Assault in the First Degree
A person commits domestic assault in the third degree if he:
- attempts to kill a domestic victim, or
- knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to a domestic victim.
If the offender actually causes serious physical injury to the victim in the course of committing this crime or has a prior conviction for this crime or its equivalent in Hamilton or any other jurisdiction, it is a Class A felony punishable by 10 to 30 years or life in prison. If the crime does not result in serious physical injury to the victim, it is a Class B felony which is punishable by 5 to 15 years in prison. (Mo. Stat. Ann. §565.072.)