Missouri updates violent crime sentencing guidelines

August 4, 2022
Missouri updates violent crime sentencing guidelines

The passage of Missouri’s Senate Bill 600 changes the classification and sentencing of certain felony offenses. For example, an increase in complaints of vehicles reportedly stolen has resulted in lawmakers elevating carjacking to a Class A Felony. 

Previously, an individual alleged to have carried out a carjacking faced an armed robbery charge. The Senate bill, however, now classifies carjacking as a dangerous felony, which means a conviction could result in an additional five years added to a sentence. 

Penalties for dangerous felonies

The Show-Me State’s 2020 bill now classifies at least 19 actions as dangerous felonies. As reported by 5 on Your Side, the offenses include assault, habitual DWI and domestic violence. If these actions allegedly occurred in connection with a street gang, a prosecutor could argue for harsher penalties. 

When facing a Class A felony charge, a prosecutor can generally request that a defendant spend anywhere between 10 and 30 years incarcerated. A judge may also order a substantial fine and restitution. 

Defenses against the allegations

To receive a conviction, a prosecutor must first convince a jury that an individual carried out an action with the intention of causing harm to another person. Evidence provided by the defense, such as whether a defendant carried a weapon, could alter the circumstances surrounding the offense. 

A charge may allege that an individual acted with aggression or hostility, but allegations do not always secure a conviction. In matters involving a domestic dispute, for example, the defense may show there was no intent of causing harm or endangering a spouse, relative or neighbor. 


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