A new Missouri law addressing violent crime with measures such as increasing prison sentences and abolishing probation for certain offenses took effect on Aug. 28. Gov. Mike Parson signed the public safety bill in July as the legislative session concluded.
Known as Senate Bill 600, the legislation amended many policies on criminal justice in the state. With some of the changes related to mandatory minimum sentences and probation, Gov. Parson noted that the bill would better address violent crime in Missouri.
Addresses firearm crimes, gang activity
Among the changes brought by the new law include:
- Minimum sentencing requirements for individuals convicted of committing a crime with an illegally obtained firearm. First offense penalty increases to five years in prison. All additional offenses now lead to at least 15 years in prison.
- Abolishes probation for anyone convicted of second-degree murder as well as other dangerous felonies involving a weapon or if the individual has previous convictions.
- The state’s definition of a street gang has changed, while boosting the crime to a Class C felony.
- Gang-related crimes will see sentence increases by three years should the crime take place within 1,000 feet of a school. Offenders of such crimes also get an additional five years for committing a dangerous felony.
- Creates and defines an offense known as vehicle hijacking.
- Dangerous felonies now include an armed crime, carjacking and conspiracy.
- People can be charged simultaneously with conspiracy to commit a crime as well as the act itself. If convicted of both, sentences would run consecutively.
- Unlawful possession of a firearm now is a class C felony.
Lawmakers contend that these changes will make Missouri communities safer. However, these measures complicate matters if charged with such crimes. If you find yourself under arrest, you need the advice of a skilled criminal defense attorney.