Going to the bar on a Friday night, especially in the Power and Light District, or to relax after a hard day at work can be fun. However, the atmosphere in a bar can sometimes get out of control when not everybody behaves like an adult.
You can end up in a bar fight through no fault of your own – and the authorities sometimes press charges against everybody involved in a brawl instead of looking carefully at each situation. So, what happens if you’re charged and convicted of assault?
These kinds of cases are charged many times as City ordinance violations. This is particularly true in the Power and Light District. The penalties are not as severe as State Charges, but you may potentially still face jail time and fines. If the amount of damage that is done to one party is severe, what might have been a City case could be charged as a State case (see below). And in a case where the police are not sure they can make an assault case, they can still charge you with Disorderly Conduct.
You might also get charged with trespassing
If before the fight, or even right after, you were asked to leave, and did not, you could also be charged with trespassing.
In Missouri, at the State level, the penalties can be severe.
Learning more about Missouri assault charges and the potential penalties that come with a conviction can help you better understand your situation and evaluate your options moving forward.
Potential penalties for an assault conviction
Missouri bases assault charges on the situation and circumstances. They are ranked from the first degree (the most serious charges) to the fourth degree.
- Fourth-degree assault charges: This is probably what you think of when you imagine a barroom brawl. It involves alcohol, anger and emotions. This is a misdemeanor, and you will face this charge if you cause harm or pain to someone (among other things). The penalties depend on whether you are charged with a class A or class C misdemeanor, ranging from up to 15 days in prison to one year.
- Third-degree assault charges: This is a felony charge and occurs when you cause a physical injury to someone. The penalties include a prison sentence of up to four years.
- Second-degree assault charges: This charge applies when you attempt to kill someone, use a deadly weapon and if other factors are present. The penalties include up to seven years in prison.
- First-degree assault charges: This is the most serious felony charge you can face and occur if you try to kill someone or cause serious physical harm to them. You can face five to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Each charge also comes with significant fines you must pay if convicted.
Since assault is considered a violent crime, it comes with serious penalties. Whatever your situation, you need to explore all your available legal defense options in order to best protect your future.