You may have discussed the possibility of community service after a criminal charge, especially if you have little or no criminal history or the crime with which you are being charged is a minimal one. Like other Missouri residents, you may wonder what community service is and how it can help people who have been charged with a crime.
As FindLaw explains, community service can give you a second chance to make reparations for a criminal charge and limit other penalties. It is up to a judge’s discretion to order you to perform community service. In return, your jail sentence may be reduced or eliminated, as well as fines you may have otherwise been required to pay.
The service you are assigned to perform is likely to be related to the offense you are charged with. If you are accused of possessing drugs and the judge offers you community service instead of jail time, you may be required to talk about the dangers of drugs to children in middle and high schools. You may also be required to perform a service your community needs, such as a roadside cleanup effort. You should keep in mind that failing to perform community service as ordered can result in you being held in contempt of court, which has its own set of penalties and consequences.
There are numerous steps involved in the criminal law process, which can be complex and necessitate experienced counsel. Therefore, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.