A New Missouri Criminal Code?

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Criminal Law on Monday, January 28, 2013

Last week, legislators in both houses of the Missouri General Assembly introduced bills that would revamp the criminal code for the first time since 1979. While new crimes and other amendments have occurred in the last thirty years, no significant review and overhaul of the current system has transpired – until now.

The goal of the committee of the Missouri Bar that produced the recommended changes centered on simplicity and fairness. Some of the major changes include:

(1) Adding a new felony class (Class E) and a new misdemeanor class (Class D) so        that the gradations in punishment become less severe. A Class E felony would carry a punishment of up to 4 years imprisonment; a Class D felony would carry a punishment of up to 7 years imprisonment; and a Class C felony would carry a punishment of at least 3 years but no more than 10 years imprisonment

(2) Increasing the maximum for fines for all offenses, with the new cap at $20,000.

(3) Regrouping all forms of assault (now 23 offenses) into four (first through fourth degree assault) and four degrees of domestic assault

(4) Restructuring drug offenses to allow more flexibility in disposition

Many of the proposed changes will affect minimum sentences and “mandatory minimums” for various offenses.

The proposed changes appear to provide more clarity in the elements of many offenses, reducing penalty ranges for some and increasing them for others as felonies become reclassified.

You can find further information on the proposed changes here.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the legislation, including any proposed amendments, as the legislative session advances, and any updates will appear in our blog.

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