If you have been accused of committing a misdemeanor offense, do not delay in speaking to a criminal defense attorney! The Law Office of Shin Cho offers free consultations for anyone facing misdemeanor charges in St. Louis County or any surrounding counties. Call us today to schedule a no-strings-attached consultation.
Misdemeanor Charges Under Missouri Law
Misdemeanor crimes in Missouri are divided into four main classes, in accordance with their severity. Additionally, some misdemeanors are unclassified, meaning that they do not fall squarely into one of the four categories. Read on below for more information related to misdemeanor offenses, including ranges of punishment and collateral consequences.
Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor offenses in Missouri, carrying a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail and a fine of $2000. Although not quite as serious as a felony offense, these criminal charges can often cause just about as much damage to one’s reputation, school resume, and employment prospects as lower-level felonies. Examples of Class A Misdemeanors include, but are not limited to:
- Assault in the 4th Degree
- Domestic Assault in the 4th Degree
- Driving While Revoked (2nd or 3rd Offense)
- Driving While Suspended (2nd or 3rd Offense)
- DWI / DUI (Prior Offender)
- Fraudulent Use of Credit Device or Debit Device (Value Less Than $750)
- Leaving the Scene of An Accident (Damage Less Than $1000)
- Minor In Possession / MIP (Prior Offender)
- Minor Visibly Intoxicated (Prior Offender)
- Passing Bad Checks
- Peace Disturbance (Prior Offender)
- Possession of Marijuana (35g or less, but more than 10g)
- Resisting Arrest or Interfering With An Arrest
- Stealing Under $500 Value
- Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Prior Offender)
- Unlawful Use of a Weapon (in some instances; others can be felonies)
- Violation of Order of Protection
Class B Misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of six months in the county jail and a fine of $1000. Class B Misdemeanors include the following offenses:
- DWI / DUI (1st Offense)
- Making a False Report
- Driving in a Careless and Imprudent Manner (Reckless Driving)
- Peace Disturbance (1st Offense)
- Property Damage 2nd Degree
- Sexual Misconduct 1st Degree (1st Offense)
- Speeding (20+ MPH over speed limit)
- Trespass 1st Degree
- Unlawful Use of a Weapon (in some instances; others can be Class A misd. or felonies)
Class C Misdemeanors carry a maximum punishment of 15 days in the county jail and a fine of $750. These are considered less serious offenses, and most of them should not pose much danger to reputation, job prospects, etc. However, there are a few misdemeanors within this category that can still cause major headaches (see Assault and Sexual Misconduct, below). Class C Misdemeanors include the following offenses:
Class D Misdemeanors carry a maximum fine of $500, but the good news is they are not jailable offenses. However, it is important to note than many of these offenses are only Class D Misdemeanors for first-time offenses; oftentimes the second violation can be charged as at least a Class A Misdemeanor. Examples of Class D Misdemeanors include the following offenses:
- Driving While Revoked (1st Offense)
- Driving While Suspended (1st Offense)
- Minor in Possession / MIP (1st Offense)
- Minor Visibly Intoxicated (1st Offense)
- Driving Without Insurance
- Operating Vehicle Without Valid License (1st Offense)
- Possession of Marijuana or Synthetic Cannabinoid (10g or less)
- Stealing Less Than $150 (1st Offense)
- Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (1st Offense)
Why Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
When charged with a criminal offense, it is imperative to have a skilled, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in your corner. St. Louis criminal defense attorney, Shin Cho, has successfully defended numerous misdemeanor cases. It is important to choose a criminal defense lawyer who has the experience and skill required to protect your future interests, either by beating the case outright or by negotiating a plea bargain with appropriate terms and conditions.
At the Law Office of Shin Cho, our focus goes beyond simply avoiding jail time. That’s because we also recognize that protecting the future of our misdemeanor clients requires more than just the bare minimum of keeping you out of jail. Oftentimes, there are a lot more important things at stake, such as future education or employment opportunities. Many schools and employers require that you disclose your criminal history in the application process, and some will even run a criminal background check to verify your answers. This is especially so in the professional sector, as many jobs require that you have a professional license that is issued by a quasi-governmental licensing board. Examples include nursing boards, physician licensing boards, attorney licensing authorities, and mortgage broker licensing authorities.
Protecting these interests requires a more nuanced and creative defense. Our forte is in creative solutions, so you can rest assured that both your freedom and future will be in good hands here. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in St. Louis, Missouri or the surrounding area, contact us today to discuss your options with a criminal defense attorney.