Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Chesterfield, Missouri
Domestic violence charges are a very serious matter and should always be handled by a professional, regardless if you think the charges are unfounded. Because of the very real and lasting possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction, you should always work with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you’re facing these issues and would like to speak with a lawyer about your options for defense, call me at Walker Law LLC to schedule a consultation. My offices are located in Chesterfield, Missouri, where I’m able to serve clients throughout St. Louis County and Charles County including Town and Country and Cottleville.
Domestic Violence in Missouri
Each state will use slightly different language to define domestic violence, and in Missouri, it’s used to define any stalking or abuse against a family member. This can include:
Physical assault against a family member
Threatening physical harm (assault)
and even physically abusing a pet
Furthermore, a family member is defined in one of several ways. It could refer to a spouse or ex-spouse, someone you live with, a child (either biological or step), someone you share a child with regardless of whether or not you live with them, anyone blood-related to you, or someone you’ve had a dating relationship with.
Missouri law separates domestic assault charges into four degrees. Fourth degree charges are the least severe (though still serious) and are classified as a Class A misdemeanor. This generally encompasses charges that are non-physical and do not threaten the life of another. This could include threatening behavior, engaging in reckless actions that could threaten the life of another, or attempting to cause physical injury to another.
Third degree charges are classified as a Class E felony and include actually causing harm to a family member or intending to harm them.
Second degree charges are classified as a Class D felony and are used for acts such as causing serious injury to a family member, attempted harm using a deadly weapon, or by choking or strangulation.
Lastly, the most serious offenses are classified as first degree and are charged as Class A or B felony. Offenses that warrant a first degree charge are attempted murder or inflicting serious physical injury.
Possible Consequences and Penalties
The penalties for a domestic violence charge can be very serious and far-reaching. The exact consequences will depend on the specifics of your charge and whether you have any convictions in your past.
Typically, you can expect the least severe penalties for fourth degree charges and the most severe for first degree charges. More severe consequences could include jail or prison time and hefty fines, but can also mean long-term consequences such as losing your firearms or losing your right to purchase a firearm, mandatory anger management classes, losing your parenting privileges or custody rights, or getting deported if you’re living in the county undocumented.
Additionally, if you’re convicted of a sexual domestic violence crime, you’ll likely be required to place your name on the national sex offenders registry, which can drastically restrict your ability to gain employment and critically reduce sour housing options.
Of course, if you’ve been arrested for one of these offenses, you’ll want to know how it's possible to defend a domestic violence charge. There’s no simple answer to this and the best thing you can do for yourself is to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney so they can thoroughly evaluate your case and build a strong defense strategy.
One possible defense could be that you were falsely accused of the crime and are completely innocent. In these cases, your lawyer will work to establish a reliable alibi for you and look for evidence that your accuser is lying or misrepresenting the facts.
Another possible defense is that you were only acting in self-defense and you weren’t the instigator. In this scenario, your lawyer would work to present a case where it was actually the other person who used violence against you, look for inconsistencies in their testimony, and look for evidence of defensive injuries or injuries on the other person that would suggest self-defense. Finally, you may try to defend yourself by pleading with a lack of intent. In this case, you aren’t arguing that the harm didn’t happen at all; rather, you’re admitting that it did happen but that it was an accident and you didn’t mean to do it.
In any situation, your attorney will work to uncover evidence, find irregularities in the prosecution’s argument, and protect your rights until the very end. Even if you are found guilty, your lawyer may be able to reduce or lessen your sentence.
Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Serving Chesterfield, Missouri
If you’re in the Chesterfield, Missouri area and have recently been accused of a domestic violence crime, you need to seek help immediately. Reach out to me today at Walker Law LLC to discuss your options. I’ll listen to your story so that I can investigate every detail, illuminate your truth in court, and fight for your best possible outcome.