Springfield, Missouri criminal defense lawyer, Donald Cooley, has extensive experience handling state and federal first and second degree assault cases. First and second degree felony assault cases raise uniquely important issues necessitating the experience of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney, including:
- Serious Physical Injury: Missouri’s first degree assault statute provides for harsher penalties when the victim suffers a “serious physical injury.” Serious physical injury is defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part of the body. What constitutes, for instance, protracted loss or impairment is entirely dependant on the facts of each case. An experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney is needed to persuade the prosecution, court or jury that such injury did not occur in your case. The ability to do so can result in a plea to a lesser included offense or potentially an outright dismissal of the case.
- Deadly Weapon: An individual is guilty of second degree assault in Missouri for attempting to cause or knowingly causing physical injury to another by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. What exactly constitutes a deadly weapon is sometimes in dispute.
- Self Defense: Missouri courts recognize self defense in felonious assault cases. However, proving self defense is extremely complicated and inherently injects additional issues into an already complicated case. Thus, experienced trial counsel is exceedingly important in self defense cases.
- Eyewitness Issues: In many assault cases, as with many violent felonies, the government might attempt to prove its case through the use of eyewitness testimony. Somewhat surprisingly, however, research indicates that eyewitness testimony is not as reliable as most juries initially believe. In fact, some research has found that their is an inverse relationship between the confidence of an eyewitness and the reliability of their identification. Because a jury tends to give more credit to eyewitness testimony, it is imperative that experienced criminal defense counsel is there to aggressively cross examine eyewitnesses regarding the reliability and veracity of their testimony.
Whether you are charged with first degree, second degree, or domestic assault (domestic violence), it is imperative that you retain experienced counsel. With over 38 years of exclusive criminal law experience, Missouri criminal defense attorney, Don Cooley, is committed to the aggressive representation of clients charged with state and federal felony assault offenses. Contact him today for a free consultation.