Missouri Criminal Code Revisions: Coming Soon to a Court Near You!

Not since 1979 has the Missouri Legislature performed an exhaustive review of the Missouri Criminal Code Revisions.  As one can imagine, times have changed and so has Missouri’s current climate of criminal prosecution, criminal defense, and criminal punishment.  

In response to the near antiquated criminal code being put to use by the criminal justice system, the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 491 in May, 2014, bringing Missouri’s criminal code into the 21st century.  However, the majority of these needed changes do not become effective until January 1, 2017.  With the effective date just around the corner, I thought it important to highlight these changes and provide you with information so that we can all become informed citizens.

The Missouri criminal code has long operated under a division of criminal classification broken down between felonies and misdemeanors.  Traditionally, felonies have been classified as A, B, C, or D felonies carrying varying ranges of punishment depending on the circumstances.  Likewise, misdemeanors have been classified as A, B, or C misdemeanors with varying ranges of punishment.  Come January 1, 2017, however, these traditional classifications will be broken down even further with the addition of a Class E felony and Class D misdemeanor.  In sum, the new ranges of punishment for crimes committed in Missouri will be as follows:

Class A Felony

Range of Imprisonment: 10 years – 30 years, or life
Range of Fine: n/a

Class B Felony

Range of Imprisonment: 5 years – 15 years
Range of Fine: n/a

Class C Felony

Range of Imprisonment: 3 years – 10 years
Range of Fine: No greater than $10,000.00

Class D Felony

Range of Imprisonment: 1 day – 7 years
Range of Fine: No greater than $10,000.00

Class E Felony

Range of Imprisonment: 1 day – 4 years
Range of Fine: No greater than $10,000.00
Misdemeanors

Class A Misdemeanor

Range of Imprisonment: 1 day – 1 year
Range of Fine: No greater than $2,000.00

Class B Misdemeanor

Range of Imprisonment: 1 day – 6 months
Range of Fine: No greater than $1,000.00

Class C Misdemeanor

Range of Imprisonment: 1 day – 15 days
Range of Fine: No greater than $750.00

Class D Misdemeanor

Range of Imprisonment: n/a
Range of Fine: No greater than $500.00

It is important to note that, with these changes, the terms of imprisonment for any sentence to a felony, not including “dangerous felonies” or other sentences involving the individuals’ fourth or subsequent remand to the department of corrections, shall consist of a prison term and a conditional release term.  Section 558.011.4(1), RSMo.  Under this Section, “Conditional Release” is defined to mean “the conditional discharge of an offender by the board of probation and parole, subject to conditions of release that the board deems reasonable to assist the offender to lead a law-abiding life….” Section 558.011.4(2), RSMo.  The conditional release term of any imposed sentence shall then be:

    (a)    One-third for terms of nine years or less;
    (b)    Three years for terms between nine and fifteen years; 
    (c)    Five years for terms more than fifteen years.  Section 558.011.4(1), RSMo.
  
Beyond the general sentencing revisions noted above, the Missouri Legislature has also re-classified certain offenses enhancing most but, in some cases, decriminalizing others.  For a complete summary of Senate Bill 491 and the changes that will become effective January 1, 2017, please follow this link:  

http://www.senate.mo.gov/14info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=27723523

Based on these revisions, the need for an informed defense attorney has never been as critical as it is now.  Come the new year, the current status of the law will be changed forever and with it the potential to take advantage of the situation or letting the situation take advantage of you will be lost.  Don’t let the system take advantage of you.  If you, or someone you know, is in need of legal guidance and representation due to criminal allegations, please give us a call today.  
 

Mark Kelly