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Missouri mother gets probation in bat assault on alleged dealer

A Missouri woman who says that she did just about everything she could think of to keep her son off heroin has been sentenced on an assault conviction. The woman was accused of swinging a baseball bat at a person she thought was pursuing her son to sell him drugs. The woman reportedly testified at trial that prior to the alleged encounter, she had slept next to her son while he went through withdrawals and sent him away to live with relatives to help him recover from drug use.

Authorities say that the woman swung a baseball bat at one of her son's friends, hitting him in the arm. She says that she was only acting to protect her son. The alleged victim reportedly testified earlier this year that he was not seriously injured and did not need medical attention. The judge, at sentencing, chastised the woman for trying to be a vigilante.

The woman was facing potential jail time of up to a year after being convicted of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor level offense. However, the judge put the woman on probation for two years. Not only can she avoid spending any time in jail if she complies with the terms and conditions of probation, she may be able to avoid having the conviction entered on her permanent record. That is because the judge suspended imposition of sentence.

Generally, under Missouri law suspending imposition of sentence essentially means that no actual sentence is technically ordered. A person can still face sentencing if the state alleges a probation violation. However, if a person completes probation successfully, no sentence is ever officially imposed, and upon successful completion of the SIS probation, the event is not considered a conviction under Missouri law.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Mom gets probation for attacking son's alleged drug dealer with baseball bat," Stephen Deere, June 5, 2013