What is a Felony in Missouri?
- What is a Felony in Missouri?
- Class A Felony in Missouri
- Class B Felony in Missouri
- Class C Felony in Missouri
- Class D Felony in Missouri
- Understand Your Rights
- Missouri Misdemeanors
- Missouri Expungement
Missouri classifies its felonies into different categories that have different penalties depending on the type of charge. Each charge is set at a specific penalty but can escalate to another if more than one charge is filed. Misdemeanors are also broken into classes but have less severe penalties than felonies.
Felonies are divided into six classes — Class A, Class B, Class C, unclassified felonies, and certain specified offenses that are considered felonies. The sentences for each class vary in severity, with Class A carrying the most severe punishments.
Class A Felony in Missouri
In Missouri, class A felonies are the most serious criminal offenses that a person can be charged with. These types of offenses carry maximum prison sentences of life imprisonment or death. It is important to understand the different classifications of and punishments associated with Missouri’s Class A felonies in order to make informed decisions in the event of a criminal accusation.
Types of Class A Felonies
Class A felonies are divided into two categories: first-degree murder, and the attempted commission of certain other felonies. First-degree murder is defined by the state as any premeditated killing that is deemed to be unjustifiable or excusable. The attempted commission typically applies to crimes such as kidnapping, robbery, burglary, sexual assault, and arson.
Sentences for Class A Felonies
Penalties for Class A felonies vary depending on the details of the case. Offenders who commit first-degree murder can be sentenced to life imprisonment with or without parole eligibility, depending upon the circumstances. For the attempted commission of certain felonies, offenders can be given life imprisonment or capital punishment if aggravating factors exist.
Defenses to Class A Felony Charges
When facing the potential consequences associated with a Class A felony charge, it is important to remember that an accused has the right to mount a defense. Potential defenses may include lack of intent to commit a crime, insanity, and self-defense. If successful in mounting a valid defense, a defendant may be able to reduce the charges or even have them dismissed entirely.
Class B Felony in Missouri
In Missouri, Class B felonies are the second most serious offense on the state’s criminal penalty scale. Those convicted of a Class B felony face severe consequences, including prison time and hefty fines. It is important to understand the details regarding Class B felonies in order to determine appropriate legal strategies if accused or charged with such an offense.
What Constitutes a Class B Felony?
A Class B felony in Missouri is defined as any crime punishable by five to 15 years of imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 in fines. Such crimes include but are not limited to kidnapping, manslaughter, certain types of vehicular homicide, attempted murder, first-degree robbery, burglary in the first degree, drug trafficking, and more.
Consequences of a Class B Felony Conviction
The consequences of a Class B felony conviction in Missouri are severe. As previously mentioned, a person who is found guilty faces a prison sentence ranging from five to 15 years. This also includes a minimum three-year parole period after serving a portion of the sentence. In addition, those convicted must pay court and/or restitution fees, which can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the crime.
Defenses Against Class B Felony Charges
There are several potential defenses available for those accused or charged with a Class B felony in Missouri. These include self-defense, insanity defense, alibi, duress, and others. Furthermore, individuals have the right to a competent attorney to defend against their charges and build a strong case in their favor.
Class C Felony in Missouri
Class C felonies are the least severe of all felony classifications in Missouri. These crimes typically involve financial harm or theft, but can also involve weapons, drugs, prostitution, vandalism, and other illegal activity. Examples include:
- Theft of property valued at less than $500;
- Receiving stolen property valued at less than $500;
- False impersonation;
- Writing a bad check;
- Fraudulent use of a credit card to obtain money or goods valued at less than $500;
- Unlawful possession of a firearm;
- Making a false report or false statement regarding a controlled substance to a law enforcement officer;
- Promoting prostitution in the second degree; and
- Vandalism in the second degree.
In Missouri, non-violent Class C felonies carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. However, many first-time offenders are eligible for alternative sentencing options such as probation or community service. Prosecutors may also offer plea deals, which allow offenders to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for reduced sentences.
Class D Felony in Missouri
Class D felonies, also known as “low-level” felonies, are at the lowest end of the spectrum when it comes to felony convictions. In Missouri, as defined by the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMO) class D felonies are punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The severity of punishment for such convictions varies greatly depending on the type of crime committed.
Common Examples of Class D Felonies in Missouri
The most common examples of class D felonies in Missouri are theft under $750, possession of controlled substances, breaking and entering, burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon, vehicular homicide, or arson. However, other crimes can be considered class D felonies and even the same crime can have more severe punishments in different cases.
Consequences of a Class D Felony Conviction
This class of felonies is punishable by a maximum penalty of imprisonment of up to four years with or without a fine of five thousand dollars. If the offender made a significant material gain in this crime, the punishment can be twice the amount of the gain, which cannot exceed twenty thousand dollars. Class D Felonies can include fraud, bad checks, other forms of fraud, and others.
Sentencing Guidelines for Class D Felonies
The court system in Missouri takes into account several factors when determining sentencing guidelines such as a defendant’s criminal history, the severity and intent of the crime committed, and any mitigating circumstances. For example, if a defendant has no prior criminal history they may receive a sentence of probation or community service instead of jail time. If a defendant has a significant criminal background then they may be looking at more severe sentences.
Understand Your Rights
If you have been charged with a felony, it is important to understand your rights and how to protect them. An experienced attorney can assess your case and let you know what you may be facing in terms of consequences if convicted. It is important to remember that every case is unique and an attorney can provide guidance on how best to navigate the criminal justice system.
Missouri Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies and have less severe penalties. Class A Misdemeanors can have penalties of up to one year in a county jail facility with or without a fine up to one thousand dollars. Class B Misdemeanors can have penalties between to thirty days in jail or up to six months in jail with or without a fine of up to five hundred dollars. Class C Misdemeanors can carry penalties of up to fifteen days in jail with or without a fine of up to three hundred dollars. Infractions receive no jail sentences and can have fines of up to two hundred dollars.
Permanent stains on an individual’s records can be the result of a past conviction of a criminal charge. These can have negative effects in life including background checks for employment clearance, housing, and licensing purposes. Expungement can help those deserving individuals have a better future. Expungement can erase a criminal record and make the offense as if it never took place. Legal status can be restored in the case of minors in possession convictions.
The expungement and sealing of records is different. Expungement means that a criminal record is completely destroyed from public and private viewing and makes a crime nonexistent. Sealing is the closing of a court file to be hidden from public viewing. In Missouri, the sealing and expungement of records is basically the same procedure. An individual must petition the court for an expungement and must be found worthy. Violent offenses and most felonies are not eligible for expungement.