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Missouri Court Records

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Felony, Infractions, and Misdemeanors in Missouri

The Missouri Justice System divides criminal acts into three broad sections. In ascending order of severity, they include; infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Generally, felonies are the most severe forms of crimes in Missouri and consequently, they attract very severe penalties which may even involve a death penalty in very extreme cases. Misdemeanors are less intense than felonies although there are some misdemeanors that are similar to felonies. Infractions on the other hand, are minor violations that are not recorded as crimes. These offenses are characterized by distinct penalties, as defined under the Missouri state criminal code.

What is a Felony in Missouri?

A felony is the most serious type of criminal act in Missouri that is punishable by a long term incarceration or death. An offender that is charged with felony is referred to as a felon or convicted felon. The least penalty for a felony in Missouri is a jail term of one year and possibly a fine of $10,000. The maximum penalty ranges from a 30-year prison sentence to life imprisonment or death in extreme cases. Missouri permits death penalties in specific cases by lethal injection or gas. The execution is always supervised by the Missouri Department of Corrections. However, a death penalty cannot be imposed on individuals who were below 18 years old when the crime was committed. The court also puts into consideration factors like;

  • The defendant’s past criminal record
  • The aggravating or mitigating circumstances that surround the crime.
  • The mental health condition of the defendant.

The penalty for felony is determined by the type of felony committed. Along with imprisonment, other penalties like fine, therapy, and probation may also apply. Missouri categorizes felonies into five groups (Class A-D) These classes each carry distinct sentencing guidelines and are arranged in order of severity and they include;

  • Class A Felony: A jail term of between 10 to 30 years or life imprisonment.
  • Class B Felony: A jail term of between 5 to 15 years.
  • Class C Felony: A jail term of between 3 to 10 years a fine of up to $10000.
  • Class D Felony: A jail term of up to 7 years and a fine of up to $10000.
  • Class E Felony: A jail term of 1 to 4 years and a fine of up to $10000.

Summarily, Missouri state crimes are tried on the basis of the aforementioned classification

What are some examples of felonies in Missouri?

Felonies in Missouri are grouped into five classes (Classes A-E). This classification is done in order of severity.

Examples of Class A felony in Missouri include;

  • Murder in the 1st degree
  • Murder in the 2nd degree
  • Treason
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor child
  • Intentionally infecting someone with HIV
  • Kidnapping in the 1st degree
  • Child molestation in the 1st degree
  • Abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death
  • Robbery in the 1st degree
  • Assault in the 1st degree
  • Arson in the 1st degree
  • Abandonment or endangerment of a child in the 1st or 2nd degree resulting in death
  • Financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person
  • Tampering with a prescription drug order
  • 2nd violation of habitual DWI (can lead to a possible life sentence)

Examples of Class B felony in Missouri include;

  • Arson in the 1st degree
  • Robbery in the 2nd degree
  • Child molestation in the 2nd degree
  • Child molestation in the 3rd degree on a child under 14 years of age
  • Abandonment of a child in the 1st degree
  • Abuse or neglect of a child causing serious emotional or physical injury
  • Habitual DWI
  • Money laundering
  • Trafficking drugs in the 1st degree
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Distributing a controlled substance to a minor
  • First offense of domestic assault in the 1st degree
  • Sexual abuse in the 1st degree
  • Burglary in the 1st degree

Examples of Class C felony in Missouri include;

  • Chronic DWI
  • DWI that causes the death of another
  • Involuntary manslaughter in the 1st degree
  • Domestic assault in the 1st degree that does not result in serious physical injury
  • Delivery or manufacture of most controlled substances
  • Sexual abuse in the 1st degree
  • Child molestation in the 3rd degree
  • Drug trafficking in the 2nd degree
  • Identity theft that exceeds $25,000 and does not exceed $75,000 in value

Examples of Class D felony in Missouri include;

  • Kidnapping in the 2nd degree
  • Statutory sodomy in the 2nd degree
  • Rape in the 2nd degree
  • Assault in the 2nd degree
  • Domestic assault in the 2nd degree
  • Aggravated DWI
  • Unlawful use of a weapon
  • Abuse or neglect of a child
  • First offense of possession of child pornography
  • Forgery
  • Terrorist threat in the 1st degree
  • Burglary in the 2nd degree

Examples of Class E felony in Missouri include;

  • Parental kidnapping
  • Harassment in the 1st degree
  • Involuntary manslaughter in the 2nd degree
  • Stalking in the 1st and 2nd degree
  • Domestic assault in the 3rd degree
  • Deceptive business practices
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Engaging in pyramid sales schemes
  • Fraud
  • Incest
  • Child abduction
  • Child molestation in the 4th degree
  • Driving with a revoked or suspended license
  • Counterfeiting

Can I get a Felony Removed from a Court Record in Missouri?

Yes to some extent, a felony may be removed from a court record in Missouri. This process is called expungement. Typically, a felony charge in Missouri is recorded in the convict’s criminal record and this comes with lots of restrictions even after the convict has completed his/her prison term. In 2016, a Missouri expungement bill (SB 588) was signed and this gives convicts the chance to expunge certain felonies from their records. Crimes that may be expunged include; stealing, property damage in the 1st degree, possession of a forging instrumentality, and fraudulent use of a credit or debit device. Some crimes that may not be expunged include; Sex related offenses, 1st and 2nd Degree murder, assault in the 1st degree, arson, etc.

In appealing for expungement, an ex-convict is required to file a petition in the court that such person was charged in Missouri. Payment of a Missouri expungement filing fee of $250.00 must accompany the petition, except if the applicant is certified to be poor and as such, can’t afford the fee. After a petition has been filed, the court may consider how long ago the crime was committed, the type of felony committed, and the character of the ex-convict since trial. Expungement can not be permitted if it is less than three years since the completion of probation of prison term.

Is expungement the same as sealing court records in Missouri?

Eligible criminal offenses can either be expunged or closed from public access. In both cases, implicating criminal offenses that were committed in the past may be removed from records. In most cases, when a ex-convict’s record is closed or expunged, he/she will not have to mention that they were once convicted of the crime. Expungements, sealing and closing of records are very similar. In cases of expungement, the record will be available only to the courts, and authorised persons as defined by the law. This means that they are accessible to licensing agencies and potential employers. Closure involves the concealing of records from public view. It applies to persons that were arraign in any of these conditions;

  • The charges were dropped or dismissed
  • Defendant was found not guilty and acquitted.
  • Imposition of sentence was suspended

According to the Missouri law (RSMO Section 610.130.1), expungement can only occur once in a person’s lifetime.

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record in Missouri?

A felony remains on a person’s record for life except if it is expunged and even at that, it may still be accessible to some authorised persons. Persons convicted for crimes eligible for expungement will have to wait for a period of seven years before the felony conviction may be expunged.

What are Misdemeanors in Missouri?

Misdemeanors in Missouri are criminal offenses that are less serious than felonies but more serious than infractions. They are punishable with up to one year imprisonment and may be accompanied with a fine or any other penalty that the court imposes. Misdemeanors are enforced by the local and state law enforcement officers and are charged in the district or state court as the case may be.

A misdemeanor in Missouri is determined by the extent of damage or injury incurred by the victim. Hence, there are five major categories of misdemeanors in Missouri. In addition to these categories, there is an unclassified category of misdemeanors. Unlike the other misdemeanors categories (Class A, B, C, and D), there are no standard punishment terms for unclassified misdemeanors. The categories of misdemeanors in Missouri include;

  • Class A Misdemeanor: A jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $2000.
  • Class B Misdemeanor: A jail term of up to six months and a fine of up to $1000.
  • Class C Misdemeanor: A jail term of up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $750.
  • Class D Misdemeanor: A fine of up to $500.

What are Examples of Misdemeanors in Missouri?

In Missouri, misdemeanors are categorized into four classes together with an unclassified category. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious criminal offenses in Missouri while Class D misdemeanors are the least serious.

Examples of Class A Misdemeanor in Missouri include;

  • Rioting
  • Elder abuse in the 3rd degree
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Probation/parole violation
  • Counterfeiting
  • Developing a false identification to purchase alcohol
  • Kidnapping in the 3rd degree
  • Deceptive business practices
  • DWI prior offender
  • Stealing
  • Possession of 11–13 grams of marijuana
  • Arson in the 3rd degree
  • Harassment in the 2nd degree
  • Sexual abuse in the 2nd degree
  • Leaving the scene of an accident

Examples of Class B Misdemeanor in Missouri include;

  • Prostitution and patronizing prostitution
  • Misuse of 911
  • DWI
  • Exceeding posted speed limit by 20 or more miles per hour
  • False impersonation
  • Reckless burning or exploding
  • Violation of state wildlife statutes law
  • Sexual misconduct in the 1st degree
  • Releasing an animal intentionally
  • Excessive rate of speed of watercraft
  • Failure to use a seatbelt while driving
  • Identity theft or attempted identity theft
  • Property damage in the 2nd degree
  • Unlawful assembly
  • Trespassing in the 1st degree

Examples of Class C Misdemeanor in Missouri include;

  • Animal neglect or abandonment
  • Violation of education requirement for a child
  • Sexual misconduct in the 2nd degree
  • Failure to stop at a railroad track
  • Violation of child labor law
  • Failure to drive within the right lane of a highway
  • Odometer fraud in the 3rd degree
  • Failure to obey traffic control device
  • Negligent burning or exploding
  • Driving at a speed of less than 40 miles per hour on an interstate highway
  • Canine cruelty
  • Exceeding posted speed limit by 6–19 miles per hour
  • Gambling
  • Damaging state park property

Examples of Class D Misdemeanor in Missouri include;

  • Minor visibly intoxicated with a BAC of more than.02%
  • Driving with a revoked or suspended license
  • Operating a vehicle on the highway without a valid license
  • Unlawful possession of drug material
  • Disposal of over 2000 pounds of one’s personal construction or demolition waste on his or her own property
  • Purchase, attempt to purchase, or possession of liquor by a minor
  • First-time offense of stealing property worth less than $150
  • Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana

Some unclassified misdemeanors in Missouri include;

  • Truancy
  • Dumping in an unlicensed area
  • Violation of sales tax law
  • Operating a junkyard without a license
  • Destruction of state records
  • Nonpayment of fine
  • Contempt of court
  • Failure to secure a building permit
  • Unlawful practice of tattooing, body piercing, or branding
  • Failure to file or pay a Missouri tax return
  • Violation of state forestry law
  • Failure to pay wages within the required time
  • Representing the driver’s license of another person to be one’s own
  • Improper sewage tank
  • Failure to equip passenger vehicle with 2 sets of front seat safety belts
  • Motor vehicle inspection violation

Can I Get a Misdemeanor Removed from a Record in Missouri?

Yes, the Missouri expungement law permits the removal of a misdemeanor from records in some cases. However, not all misdemeanor crimes may be expunged despite an appeal, some misdemeanor offenses may remain in record for life until the court authorizes its removal. Precisely, only qualified individuals who have spent at least three years as citizens of worthy character since their last conviction, can appeal for their crime record to be sealed or expunged. Qualified persons must also have completed their prison or probation term and must be free from other penalties.

Some crimes that may be removed from records include; possession of liquor by a minor, first-time offense of stealing property worth less than $150, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, gambling, damaging state park property, etc. Generally, crimes that may not be expunged include; sex related offenses, contaminating a water supply, forgery, mortgage fraud, defrauding secured creditors, fraudulent use of a credit device and others alike.

Can a DUI Record Be Expunged in Missouri?

Yes, a DUI record may be expunged in Missouri if it is a first time misdemeanor DUI offense but, the offender may have to wait for a period of ten years from the date of the DUI conviction before he/she can appeal for expungement. It is also necessary that the individual fulfils all probation terms and other penalties before applying. If a person is arrested for any other DUI offense after the first conviction, he/she will need to wait for another ten years, before applying for expungement again. Expungement is only permitted once in a lifetime.

What is an Infraction in Missouri?

Infractions in Missouri refer to petty violations, that are less serious than misdemeanors and felonies. Infraction offenses are not charged as crimes, neither can they be sentenced to imprisonment except in rare cases. Instead, a fine is imposed on the offenders. They are also not entitled to most constitutional protections that are allotted to convicts during trials such as jury trial or access to a public defender.

Most infractions are as a result of violation of local laws such as speed limits and no-parking zones. Infractions are generally enforced by the police and handled at the municipal or district court. The penalty for infractions includes payment of a specified fine that is determined by the court depending on the type violation committed. The offender may also be tasked with community service.

What constitutes a Civil Infraction in Missouri

An infraction is primarily an infringement of a municipal code, administrative regulation, ordinance, state or local traffic rule. They are statutory violations that do not carry the same weight as other criminal offenses, as such, they attract the least severe penalties according to the Missouri criminal code. When an infraction offender is arrested by a law enforcement officer, he is charged to court where he/she will face the law. Court hearings normally take place either in a municipal court or a state district court, depending on where the alleged infraction occurred. Common examples of infractions in Missouri include; traffic violations such as careless driving, speeding, disobeying a traffic control device, parking wrongly, failure to wear a safety belt, etc.

What are some examples of Infractions in Missouri?

Some examples of traffic civil infractions include:

  • Speeding beyond limit
  • Making an illegal U-turn
  • Disobeying a traffic control device
  • Failure to wear a safety belt
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Noise pollution
  • Littering
  • Disobeying state land-use rules
  • Boat violations
  • Violations of building codes and permits
  • Fishing without a license

Can Infractions be Expunged from a Missouri Criminal Court Record?

Infractions may be expunged from criminal court records in Missouri after a period of three years from the date of trial. Nevertheless, the offender must have completed the requirements of penalties imposed on him/her by the court which may include payment of fines and/or assigned community service. The expungment of infractions releases the subject from all charges, although, offenders are not entitled to expungement until they are confirmed to be of good standing.

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