Increased Penalties for Armed Criminal Action in Missouri
June 22, 2021
Recently, during a special legislative session, the Missouri state legislature expanded the punishment for armed criminal action.
Individuals committing any felony while using a weapon can be charged with armed criminal action in Missouri (in addition to their original charge). If convicted, you must serve your prison sentences consecutively.
Why does that matter?
If you’re charged with armed criminal action in Missouri, you face a 3-year minimum prison sentence without the opportunity for probation, and there is no possibility for parole for 3 years.
Armed criminal action is broadly defined.
That means the prosecution can charge you with it based on their discretion. It’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been charged with a criminal offense and armed criminal action.
We Can Help
At Kirsch & Kirsch, our criminal defense lawyers are here to advocate for your rights, develop a solid defense strategy, and fight for your freedom.
We offer our criminal defense services in and around Cole County, including areas like California, MO. Contact us today for your free consultation. Learn more about armed criminal action charges in Missouri below.
What is an Armed Criminal Action Charge?
Under the Revised Statutes of Missouri, § 571.015, you can be charged with armed criminal action if you commit a felony offense in Missouri “through the use, assistance, or aid of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon.”
Unfortunately, many younger people commit crimes while using a weapon without thinking about the consequences. For example, suppose a young person gets into an argument with another person while at the park. Things get a bit heated, and it leads to a physical altercation. She grabs the closest object and hits the person.
§ 561.061 contains the following definitions:
- Dangerous instrument – any instrument, article, or substance, which under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.
- Deadly weapon – any firearm, loaded or unloaded, or any weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or serious physical injury, may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, dagger, billy club, blackjack, or metal knuckles.
In this case, she could be charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action – even if she didn’t cause serious injuries. Armed criminal action charges are usually reserved for more serious cases like armed robbery, however, they are frequently used to seriously enhance the risk of prison.
How Many Years Do You Get For Armed Criminal Action in Missouri?
If you’re convicted, you face a mandatory minimum 3-year sentence for armed criminal action and a maximum sentence of 15 years. However, if you commit a crime with an illegally possessed firearm, you face a mandatory minimum of 5-years in prison.
The punishment for armed criminal action is in addition to the sentence received for the original crime. If convicted, you are not eligible for parole, probation, conditional release, etc., for at least three years. You also must serve your prison sentences consecutively.
Missouri Armed Criminal Action – Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve noticed a lot of confusion about the latest changes to the armed criminal action laws in Missouri. So, we’ve provided some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.
Contact a Missouri criminal defense lawyer at Kirsch & Kirsch for answers to more unique questions.
Can I be Charged For Armed Robbery and Armed Criminal Action?
Absolutely. Missouri prosecutors can levy charges of armed criminal behavior against anyone who commits a felony while using a weapon. That includes crimes like, but not limited to:
- First-degree assault
- Theft or armed robbery
What if I’m Charged With Armed Criminal Action Multiple Times?
Missouri doesn’t offer mercy to individuals convicted of armed criminal activity more than once. Penalties for subsequent offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Second Offense Armed Criminal Action: Minimum 5-year prison sentence. Maximum sentence of 30 years. If you illegally possess a firearm, then the minimum sentence is 15 years.
- Third Offense or More Armed Criminal Action: Minimum 10-year prison sentence. IF you illegally possess a firearm in the commission of a crime, the minimum penalty is 15 years.
How Can I Get My Charges Dropped or Decreased?
No criminal defense lawyer can guarantee decreased or dropped charges. However, hiring an experienced and proven criminal defense attorney in Jefferson City, Missouri, can significantly increase your chances of the most favorable outcome.
There are many potential criminal defense strategies for armed criminal action charges in Missouri. The strategy that works best for you depends on the original charges, previous criminal history, and many other factors influencing your case.
The best thing to do is have an honest conversation with your lawyer before accepting plea deals or deciding to exercise your right to trial.
Contact Kirsch & Kirsch Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you’re charged with armed criminal action in Missouri, you have two problems: The underlying criminal charge and the armed criminal action charges. You need a lawyer who has dealt with similar types of cases to help convince the court that you:
- Didn’t commit the original crime OR
- You didn’t use a “deadly weapon” while committing the original crime.
Armed criminal action is a serious crime in Missouri. Don’t risk your future by seeking subpar legal counsel. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Kirsch & Kirsch today for your free initial consultation.