Type of Misdemeanors in Missouri [Missouri Lawyer]

In Missouri, misdemeanors are considered less serious crimes than felonies and more serious than infractions.  Even though many may consider misdemeanors as lesser crimes, they are still punishable by a fine, imprisonment in a county jail for up to a year, or both.  Also, the indirect impact of Missouri misdemeanors on one’s criminal record cannot be understated.

If a misdemeanor appears on a person’s criminal record and later convicted of a more severe crime, a criminal court in Missouri will sometimes factor that prior conviction into their sentence because it evidences a pattern of criminal behavior. 

Missouri law classifies misdemeanors into five different categories.

Class A misdemeanor

Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine up to $2,000, or both. Examples of Class A misdemeanors include: making a false report or false statement of missing persons; obtaining a criminal history record information under false pretenses; violation of airport zoning regulations; among many crimes.  

Class B misdemeanor

Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both. Examples of Class B misdemeanors include:

  • Failure to notify an operator of an underground facility when excavating
  • Operating as an audiologist without a license
  • Disturbing the peace 

Class C misdemeanor

Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to fifteen days in jail, a fine up to $750, or both. Examples of Class C misdemeanors include:

  • Violation of child labor laws
  • Canine cruelty
  • Increasing driving speed while being passed

Class D misdemeanor

Class D misdemeanors are punishable by a fine up to $500. Examples of Class D misdemeanors include:

  • Operating a vehicle on a highway without a valid license
  • Driving with a revoked license
  • Driving with a suspended license 

Other factors to consider

A category also exists consisting of unclassified misdemeanors with the respective punishments found where the criminal demeanor is defined by Missouri statute. Examples of unclassified misdemeanors include the destruction of state records, filing a false sales tax return and many other crimes. 

Given the view of misdemeanors as lesser crimes, Missouri law specifies the statute of limitations for misdemeanors as one year. In other words, Missouri must file misdemeanor charges against a person within one year of the time that the crime has been committed.

Avoid the worst-case scenario

Because misdemeanors have the possibility of jail time, individuals accused of committing a misdemeanor in Missouri are entitled to a trial and an attorney, either privately hired or an appointed public defender. Hiring a private attorney enables a criminal defendant of preparing a more individualized defense given their increased resources. The reality is that public defenders are notoriously understaffed with resources spread too thin for their assigned workloads.

In addition, because misdemeanors are considered lesser crimes, assigned defenders likely will not prioritize these defenses, especially with the increased stakes of felony charges of other clients. As a result, preparing for the trial and possible sentencing in response to a Missouri misdemeanor requires a competent, experienced attorney who is willing to forcefully advocate on your behalf. 

Call (417) 865-2181 to schedule a consultation with Dean Price Law in our Springfield office.

NOTE: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice

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