Do not hesitate to invoke your right to an attorney if you are being questioned, detained or arrested. Only by seeking legal counsel can you help shape the outcome of a less than desirable situation.
Missouri Criminal Code provides for Felonies, Misdemeanors and Infractions.
Missouri classifies felonies in to four classes, Class A through Class D, all considered serious crimes that are punishable by more than one year in prison.
- Class A Felony: Offenses include murder, first degree kidnapping, forcible rape of a child under twelve years old, first degree robbery, and some drug crimes. Possible sentencing for a Class A felony is a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years or life in prison.
- Class B Felony: Offenses include voluntary manslaughter and first degree burglary. Possible sentencing includes a minimum of 5 years in prison and maximum of 15 years.
- Class C Felony: Offenses include involuntary manslaughter in the first degree (can be a Class B or Class C felony), statutory rape in the second degree, possession of a controlled substance, and theft. Possible sentencing for a Class C Felony is a maximum of 7 years in prison, or one year in jail, and a fine up to $5,000.
- Class D Felony: Offenses include crimes such as fraud, resisting arrest, and passing a bad check. Class D Felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, or one year in jail. There can also be a fine up to $5,000 or twice the amount of financial gain to the offender, up to $20,000.
Missouri categorizes misdemeanors into three classes: Class A through Class C, with Class A being more serious offenses than Class C. Examples of each:
- Class A Misdemeanor: Offenses include fraud, assault (depending on the level of damage), and possession of marijuana. These offenses can carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or up to $1000 in fines.
- Class B Misdemeanor: Offenses include DUI (Driving under the Influence) and first-degree trespassing. These offenses can carry a sentence from 30 days to up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.
- Class C Misdemeanor: Offenses include minor theft and 1st time offense of driving with excessive alcohol content. These offenses can carry a sentence of up to 15 days in jail and/or up to $300 in fines.
Infractions are the lowest punishable offenses in Missouri and are not categorized. Examples are jaywalking or disturbing the peace. The offenses carry no jail time as a possible sentence, but can include fines of up to $200.
Full Missouri Statues on Criminal Crimes and Punishment can be found in the Missouri Revised Statutes, starting at Chapter 556.
Advice if you are detained or arrested:
It is extremely important to not incriminate yourself when the police start asking you questions. The police must stop asking you questions if you ask to speak to an attorney. Innocent people charged with a crime should particularly invoke their right to an attorney; they stand a chance of being wrongfully charged because of something they said. Contact us so that you will have an attorney present when the officer wants to conduct the inquiry. It is important that you protect yourself and be understood clearly.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”
The wording of the Miranda Rights may vary, but as long as they fully convey the message, and are understood by the suspect,they are acceptable.
Miranda Rights warnings are only required upon arrest. Police will want to ask you questions before an arrest to avoid the Miranda warning. If you have not been arrested you are free to leave, day or night.
It is always in your best interest to contact an attorney, and to request to have your attorney present during any questioning. Do not let the police tell you that is not an option. They are obligated to stop questioning you if you request an attorney.
If you are detained or arrested, your first contact should be to The Quitmeier Law Firm. We will ascertain the situation and advise you on your rights, options and further steps to take.