Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
March 23. 2023.
Missouri Property Crimes Accusations
In Missouri, property crimes involve the theft, destruction, or unauthorized use of another person’s property. Property offenses range in severity from stolen property, which involves a minor misdemeanor theft like shoplifting, or severe felony offenses like armed robbery, which carry life-changing penalties.
If you are accused of a property crime offense in Missouri, such as theft, burglary, or property damage, it’s essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences, which can include fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record.
What Is a Property Crimes Offense in Missouri?
Property crime is a category of criminal offenses involving taking or destroying someone else’s property without their consent. In Missouri, property crimes are taken very seriously, and offenders can face severe penalties such as fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record.
Some common property crimes in Missouri include theft, burglary, arson, property damage, and trespassing. If you are accused of a property crime in Missouri, it’s important to seek legal advice to protect your rights and potentially reduce the charges or penalties
An individual commits the offense of first-degree trespass if they intentionally enter or remain unlawfully in a building, inhabitable structure, or real property. The real property must be fenced or confined to exclude intruders or to which notice against trespass has been given.
The offense of first-degree trespassing is a Class B misdemeanor with a punishment of up to six months in a county jail and up to $1000 in fines. Trespassing in the second degree can lead to a $200 fine.
If the victim is intentionally targeted because they are law enforcement officers or close relatives of a law enforcement officer, it is a Class A misdemeanor. If the building or real property is part of a nuclear power plant, it is a Class E felony.
You can be charged with first-degree trespassing on your property if a co-owner has an order of protection against you.
Institutional Vandalism and Property Damage
If you deliberately vandalize, deface, or otherwise damage public property or property belonging to a religious organization, you may be guilty of institutional vandalism. Under Missouri law, most acts of vandalism are charged as property damage offenses.
An individual commits the offense of property damage if they damage a property knowingly or do so to defraud an insurer. If a law enforcement officer reasonably believes you intentionally damaged property, they can arrest you.
If the value of property damage is over $750, it is a Class E felony. If the victim was intentionally targeted because they are a law enforcement officer or a close relative of a law enforcement officer, it is a Class D felony.
Burglary in The Second Degree
A person commits the offense of a second-degree burglary when they knowingly enter unlawfully or consciously remain unlawfully in a building or inhabitable structure to commit a crime therein.
The offense of second-degree burglary is a Class D felony. Trespass in the first degree is a lesser included burglary offense in the second degree, as every element of a lesser offense is included in a greater burglary offense. Therefore, it is impossible to commit burglary without also committing trespass.
What Should You Do When Charged With a Property Crime Offense?
If you’re charged with a property crime offense in Missouri, contacting a criminal defense attorney immediately for legal representation and advice is essential. It’s also important to exercise your right to remain silent and not discuss the case details with anyone without your attorney present. Be cooperative with law enforcement but do not admit to anything until you consult an attorney.
The crime rate for property crimes in Missouri, including burglary, shoplifting, theft, and trespassing, is high. This shows that the courts vigorously prosecute such crimes.
Additionally, The crime rate for specific property offenses can affect the judge’s decision to grant bail or how the prosecution handles the case. So it is crucial to get a knowledgeable lawyer to represent your case.
If you’re facing charges for any property crimes described above, it is normal to have questions. Contact The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center today for more information about commonly asked questions on property crime.