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Missouri Domestic Abuse Laws and How to Get Help for Domestic Abuse

Introduction

There are several laws in Missouri to protect kids, partners, spouses, as well as, other family members from an act of domestic abuse. Additionally, the criminal laws, which are applicable to the bad behavior of a person to another unknown individual, are also applicable to a similar behavior towards the loved ones.

Domestic abuse laws in Missouri

According to the domestic abuse law of Missouri, it is an offense when a person commits “domestic assault”. A domestic assault refers to knowingly attempt to cause or cause bodily injury to a household or family member. There are three degrees or levels of domestic assault for penalty purposes. The highest level or the first-degree domestic assault is for causing severe physical injury to a family member of a domestic abuser.

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In case a person actually causes or tries injury to a member of the family by strangling or using a dangerous weapon, it is known as second-degree domestic assault. The third-degree domestic assault takes place when an individual does one of the following:

  1. Recklessly or makes an attempt to cause bodily injury to the family members
  2. Injures a family/household member through negligence with a dangerous weapon
  3. The actions cause apprehensions of an imminent bodily injury to a family member
  4. Recklessly places a family/household member into a situation where there is a high possibility of severe injury or death
  5. Knowingly touches a member of the family offensively
  6. Knowing and unreasonably isolates the member of a family from others

Punishments

In Missouri, penalties for a domestic abuser can differ. However, the highest punishment for each of the misdemeanor and felony are as follows:

  1. Class A felony: The convicted is punished by life imprisonment or 10 to 30 years
  2. Class B felony: The convicted is imprisoned for 5 to 15 years
  3. Class C felony: The guilty have to pay a maximum fine of 5,000 USD and/or a prison term of 7 years
  4. Class D felony: The offender is punished by a maximum fine of 5,000 USD and/or a prison term of 4 years
  5. Class A misdemeanor: The abuser has to pay a maximum fine of 1,000 USD or a prison term of one year
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Possible defenses

  1. False allegations or innocence: The defendant claims he did not do it. He may say that his former or current romantic partner wishes to hurt him by alleging him of domestic violence/abuse.
  2. 2. Self-defense: It is frequently used in the context of domestic violence when the defendant is injured and the victim attempted to protect herself/himself from greater harm.
  3. The injury was caused due to an accident: The household received the injuries because of an accident.
  4. Parents’ rights when they are accused of child abuse: The defendant was exercising his/her parental rights.
  5. Consent: The defense is categorically meant for a sexual offense like sodomy or rape where the defendant can establish that the person he/she had sexual activity with was capable, as well as, gave consent for that sexual contact.

How to get help for domestic abuse in Missouri?

The state provides several resources to curb domestic violence and protect and assist the victims and survivors. In case anyone is living with the apprehension and fear of being subject to domestic violence, the court can grant them an ex parte order. They can also get in touch with Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence for any kind of assistance and protection. It is an organization with a mission of ending abuse and rape in the state of Missouri.

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