If a Missouri police officer takes you into custody, you might wind up needing legal support. If the state files criminal charges against you, you’re guaranteed an opportunity to refute them. However, unless you have a clear understanding of Missouri laws, as well as the exact charges against you, such as assault or battery, you’ll be at a disadvantage when it comes time to enter a plea and navigate the criminal justice system.
Before you can determine which defense strategy best fits your circumstances, you must understand the legal definitions of assault and battery. Battery occurs when someone touches another person who has not welcomed it or has specifically said to stop, and the touching that is occurring is meant to cause harm. If you’re facing assault charges, it means that you’re accused of threatening someone with imminent harm in a way that causes them fear.
What are the penalties for assault and battery in Missouri?
State law allows sentencing of up to one year in jail for assault and battery convictions. The court may also order a person convicted of such crimes to pay up to $2,000 in fines. Going to jail for a whole year can have a far-reaching, negative effect on a person’s life. If you incur this type of conviction, your personal life (especially if you’re married and have children), as well as your career, might suffer.
3 defense strategies that may help achieve a positive outcome in court
The following list includes several possible defense strategies you could employ if you were facing criminal charges for assault and battery in a Missouri court:
- Self defense
- Defense of another
- Mistaken identity
If you can convince the court that someone attacked you first, and you were merely defending yourself during the incident, it might help you secure a favorable outcome. It might also be possible that you were defending someone else who was under attack. Finally, it has happened many times in the past where police mistakenly arrest the wrong person because of a similar name or appearance to someone else.
Every case receives judgment by its own merits
A criminal court judge forms decisions based on evidence. While two cases might have similar factors, it doesn’t necessarily mean the final court ruling will be the same. To protect your rights and preserve your freedom, it’s best to seek guidance and support before your case is adjudicated.
Assault and battery are misdemeanor crimes in Missouri, but that doesn’t mean the penalties won’t be severe if you face conviction. It pays to allow an experienced defense attorney to speak and act on your behalf in court.