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The Cost of Conviction

Updated: Sep 10

What is the sentencing and fines for criminals in Missouri?


By all means, try your best NOT to commit a crime. However, in the unfortunate case that you do find yourself facing criminal charges in the state of Missouri, here’s what you can expect as far as fines and sentences go (HINT: it ain’t cheap).


Jail bars


Individuals

An individual who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to serve a prison sentence or pay a fine of-


· Class A felony: 10-30 years, or life in prison

· Class B felony: 5-15 years

· Class C felony: 3-10 years; up to $10,000

· Class D felony: up to 7 years*; up to $10,000

· Class E felony: up to 4 years*; up to $10,000


· Class A misdemeanor: up to 1 year; up to $2,000

· Class B misdemeanor: up to 6 months; up to $1,000

· Class C misdemeanor: up to 15 days; up to $750

· Class D misdemeanor: up to $500

· An infraction: $400

· OR, up to double the amount of money or property gained through the commission of the offense


The term “gain” means the amount of money or the value of property derived from the commission of the offense. The amount returned to the victim or seized by/surrendered to lawful authority prior to the sentencing will be deducted from the fine.**


NOTE: When a prison sentence for a felony is imposed, the court will commit the person to the custody of the department of corrections. When a prison sentence for a misdemeanor is imposed, the court will commit the person to the county jail or other authorized penal institution.


*In the case of class D and E felonies, the court can imprison the convict for a special term of up to one year in the county jail or other authorized penal institution. If the court imposes a term of longer than one year, it shall commit the person to the custody of the department of corrections.

**The court will make a finding as to the amount of the offender’s gain from the crime. If the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support the finding, the court may conduct a hearing on the issue.


Board Room table with black chairs

Corporations


A corporation that has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine of-


· Felony: up to $20,000

· Misdemeanor: up to $10,000

· Infraction: up to $1,000

· OR, double the amount of money or property gained through the commission of the offense


Convicted Individuals


Earlier I recommended that you try your best not to commit a crime of any kind. This is especially true if you’ve ALREADY been convicted of a criminal offense. If that’s the case, you are liable to receive an extended prison term.


The court may sentence a person to an extended term of imprisonment if:

1) The defendant is a persistent offender or a dangerous offender***

2) The statute under which the person is found guilty contains a sentencing enhancement provision that is based on a prior finding of guilty or a finding of prior criminal conduct and the person is sentenced according to the statute

3) A more specific sentencing enhancement provision applies that is based on a prior finding of guilt or a finding of prior criminal conduct


For context,

A prior offender is someone who has been found guilty of one felony.

A persistent offender is someone who has been found guilty of two or more felonies committed at different times.

A dangerous offender is someone who is being sentenced for a felony in which he/she

- knowingly murdered/endangered/threatened the life of another person

- knowingly inflicted/attempted/threatened to inflict serious injury on another person

- has been found guilty of a class A or B felony or a dangerous felony

A persistent misdemeanor offender is someone who has been found guilty of two or more A or B misdemeanors committed at different times.


***The court shall sentence a person, who has been found to be a persistent offender or a dangerous offender, and is found guilty of a class B, C, D, or E felony to the authorized term of imprisonment for the offense that is one class higher than the offense for which the person is found guilty.

**** A defendant convicted as a prior offender, a prior and persistent offender, persistent misdemeanor offender makes the defendant subject to sentencing by the court and not a jury. However, a persistent misdemeanor offender is not subject to an enhanced punishment.


Judge gavel

Examples


Let’s apply these rules to some examples. Let’s say you were convicted of a class C felony in the state of Missouri. This was your first offense. The court sentenced you to 6 years in prison and you must pay a $4,000 fine. You pay your fine and begin your prison sentence. After two years, you will be up for conditional release. Assuming you haven’t violated in rules while in prison, you could be released from prison on parole after serving two years of your time.


Now let’s say you were convicted of a class B felony in the state of Missouri. However, this was your third felony conviction. You could be sentenced as a prior and persistent offender, so the court sentences you to a prison term for class A felonies. You are sentenced to 18 years in prison. In this case you could be eligible for conditional release after five years.





Now that you know what potential criminals are up against in the state of Missouri, you better find a law firm that has a proven track record of success. Lucky for you, you’re already only a few clicks away. If you or someone you know needs legal representation or counsel, give us a call! (636) 278-9953 or email us at info@oclawllc.com.


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