When someone in the state of Missouri is arrested and charged with a crime in a state court, that charge is based on the violation of a state law. Criminal laws in Missouri cover a wide range of topics and were last updated in 1979. If some Missouri lawmakers get their way however, the criminal code will be updated soon. A 1,100 page bill regarding the matter is currently being debated.
Because the bill covers so many different types of crimes, if it is adopted, residents of the state of Missouri who in the future are charged with a crime could find that their case is handled differently by their attorneys than it would have been in the past. Though the bill undoubtedly makes a lot of changes, some are likely of more interest to readers than others. Some that are worth pointing out involve drug charges. For example under the bill, those found guilty of felony drug possession would face a maximum sentence of four years as opposed to the current seven year sentence. In addition, individuals in possession of marijuana totaling 35 grams or less, and who are first-time offenders, would no longer potentially face time in jail.
Other things the current form of the bill does include:
- Strengthen penalties for the crime of involuntary manslaughter while driving drunk.
- Rename and re-organize some crimes.
- Create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors.
It is always a good idea to work with a criminal defense lawyer when facing criminal charges. Should this legislation pass and become law this would be even more important since navigating the changes could have a bearing on the outcome of the case. Whether the bill is passed depends on the actions of many legislators. We will provide updates on the matter as they become available.
Source: KMOV, "Missouri Senate begins criminal code debate," Jordan Shapiro, March 16, 2014