If you’ve been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, you should hire a criminal defense attorney for legal advice, to walk you through the process, protect your rights, and ensure that you receive the best outcome possible.
Depending on the circumstances of your case and the strength of the evidence, your criminal defense attorney can build a solid case for your defense.
Types of Criminal Cases and Their Penalties
The criminal justice system adjudicates violations of the law. Under Missouri law, offenses are categorized as misdemeanors and felonies.
When the police have probable cause that a crime was committed, they can make an arrest or refer it to the state prosecutor. The maximum penalties that the defendant faces is determined by the Missouri criminal code.
In Missouri, felonies are serious crimes that can carry punishments of more than a year in prison. Missouri has five felony classes. Class E felonies are the least serious, and Class A felonies are the most serious.
Class A felony
Class A felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in prison, but there are no mandatory fines. Examples of Class A Felonies include:
- First-degree murder
- Second-degree murder
- Knowingly infecting another with HIV
- First-degree domestic assault
- Child molestation
- Child abandonment
- Child abuse or neglect
- Unlawful use of a weapon
- Grand theft
- Causing a catastrophe
Class B Felony
Class B felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. No fines are authorized. Class B felonies include:
- Performing an abortion by a person who is not a physician
- Distributing a controlled substance to a minor
- Second-degree assault
- First-degree domestic assault (first offense)
- Facilitating a felony
- Second-degree child molestation
- First-degree sexual abuse
- Promoting prostitution
- Child abandonment
Class C Felony
Class C felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison with fines up to $10,000.00. Examples include:
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Failure to make a report of drug transfer
- Sexual abuse
- Second-degree domestic assault
- Third-degree child molestation
- Theft of leased or rented property
- Stealing $25,000 or more
- Drug trafficking
Class D Felony
These felonies are punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines up to $10,000.00. Examples include:
- Class 1 election offense
- Abuse of healthcare recipients
- Failure to return to house arrest
- Unauthorized practice of medicine or surgery
- Altering lottery tickets
- Second-degree kidnapping
- Third-degree assault
Class E Felony
A Class E felony in Missouri has a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Examples include:
- Motor fuel tax evasion
- Violation of child protection order (second or subsequent offense)
- Third-degree assault
- Parental kidnapping
- Child abduction
Certain crimes, like first-degree rape, have their own sentencing guielines.
Under Missouri law, misdemeanors are considered less serious felonies but more serious than infractions. While misdemeanors are lesser crimes, they can still carry sentence of up to a year in county jail and fines. Misdemeanors are classified into five different categories in Missouri.
Class A: Up to 1 year in jail and $2,000.00 in fines
Examples include making a false report or false statement of a missing person, violating airport zoning regulations, or obtaining criminal history record information under false pretenses.
Class B: Up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines
Examples of Class B misdemeanors include disturbing the peace or operating as a doctor without a license.
Class C: Up to 15 days in jail and $750 in fines
A few examples of Class C misdemeanors include canine cruelty, violation of child labor laws, or increasing driving speed while being passed.
Class D: Fines up to $500
Examples of Class D misdemeanors include driving with a suspended or revoked license or operating a vehicle on a highway without a valid license.
Kirsch & Kirsch Criminal Law Team
A felony or misdemeanor conviction will create a permanent criminal record. Being a convicted felon may affect you when you’re looking for a job or applying to rent a house. You may also lose the right to own a gun.
If you or a member of your family has been accused of violating Missouri’s criminal codes, you need to act quickly. With the help of our skilled criminal defense attorneys, you can get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. We will stand up for your rights at every turn.
At Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC, we are dedicated to seeking the best possible outcome for our clients, and our years of experience in criminal law are invaluable. Check out our client’s feedback, and explore our website for more information. Whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor in the state of Missouri, we will work diligently on your behalf, keeping your individual needs our top priority.
Contact us at our Lake of the Ozarks office to schedule a free consultation at 573-222-0826 today.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Lake of The Ozarks Help You?
Since criminal law is a multifaceted area of the legal system, it’s normal to have questions. Criminal charges may significantly impact your freedom, family, and reputation. That’s why it’s recommended that you hire a criminal lawyer. A lawyer will analyze your case and determine the best course of action.
A criminal defense lawyer will advise you whether you should plead guilty or not. If it is in your best interest to consider a plea bargain, your lawyer can ensure that all your rights are protected and that you understand the short-term and long-term consequences of the plea. If you do not accept a plea, your case may go to trial.
A criminal case can be time-consuming, but every case is different. While a misdemeanor case may be resolved within a month, a felony trial may take a year. No matter how severe your crime is, do not try to handle it without proper legal representation. Contact our law firm at 573-222-0826 without hesitation so that we can defend your legal rights.
Criminal Defense FAQs
What is The Role of the Defense Attorney in a Criminal Case?
A defense attorney acts as a liaison between you and the prosecutor. They will also examine all evidence against you, depose witnesses and the alleged victim, and prepare a defense based on the prosecutorial case. They will negotiate with the prosecutor if there is a plea offer and defend you in court.
What is the Bail Process?
Bail is the conditional release of the defendant with restrictions that ensure they appear in court at an appointed time. If the defendant appears in court, the bail money will be returned to them. However, if the defendant fails to appear, the court keeps the bail and will issue an arrest warrant.
Missouri courts have bail schedules that include the amounts determined for most misdemeanors. If it’s a predetermined bail amount, the defendant can post a cash bond or contact a bail bond company to arrange a property bond or surety bond. When it comes to the most severe felonies, the defendant will have to wait for a bond hearing.
What Happens if You Take a Plea Bargain?
Once you have accepted a plea agreement, the judge will sentence you without a trial, and you won’t be able to change your decision. You may be offered a deal by the prosecutor for a reduced sentence or no jail time if you agree to their terms.
Is it Better to Take a Plea or Go to Trial?
This depends on the strength of the prosecutorial case against you. If the evidence against you is strong, a plea may be in your best interest.
Attorney for the Accused in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need to act quickly. Your life and future may depend on it. Contact Kirsch and Kirsch for immediate, effective representation.