How Are Sex Crimes Determined to Be either Misdemeanors or Felonies in Missouri

Kimberly2 1Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

Missouri’s Sex Crimes Classification System

Sex crimes are treated with the utmost seriousness in the state of Missouri. However, the law regards some crimes of sexual abuse as more damaging/serious than others. This is why some are classified as felony sexual criminal offenses, and others are classified as misdemeanors. These classifications also determine the maximum or minimum punishment for the action. If you find yourself facing a sexual abuse charge, no matter the severity, it is advisable that you hire a sex crimes attorney as soon as possible. 

Missouri Sexual Offenses

 Sex crimes and their degrees of seriousness are found in the Missouri code. Below are the crimes and their classifications:

Rape in the First Degree

The term “rape in the first degree” is used to describe sexual relations intercourse with a person who is incapacitated, incapable of consenting, unable to consent, or forced to participate. In addition, forcible compulsion involves administering substances without consent or knowledge to the victim to incapacitate them. 

First-Degree Statutory Rape and Attempted Statutory Rape

It involves sexual intercourse with a child under 14 years of age. Its felony class is not specified. 

First-Degree Sodomy

Deviate sexual intercourse with someone incapacitated, incapable of consent, or forced. 

First-Degree Statutory Sodomy and Attempted Statutory Sodomy

A person commits statutory sodomy in the first degree by engaging in deviate sexual relations with another person under the age of fourteen. 

First Degree Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse, in the first degree, occurs when someone subjects another to sexual contact while incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacking the capacity to consent. Sexual assault of the first degree is a Class C felony unless it involves a child under fourteen years of age or is an aggravated sexual offense, in which case it is a Class B felony. 

Sexual Offenses and Their Penalties

 Sex crimes and their degrees of seriousness are found in the Missouri code. There are several factors that determine the severity of the punishment, including the type of sexual offense, the force used, and the age of the victim. Below are the crimes and their classifications:

  • Class A felony: Includes crimes such as rape or sodomy that involve serious physical injury, weapons, or children under 12. Sexual offenses classified as Class A felonies are punishable by between 10-30 years in prison or life in prison. There is a 10-year minimum for sodomy and a 15-year minimum for rape with a weapon and serious physical injuries. If the offender is 75 or older, they must serve 15 years without parole for first-degree rape or sodomy against a child under 12. If a child is raped or sodomized in an especially brutal or torturous way, parole is not available.
  • Class B felony: This type of crime refers to first-degree rape, sodomy, or abuse of children under 14 with serious physical injury or a deadly weapon. The penalty ranges from 5 to 15 years in prison.
  • Class C felony: These felonies include 2nd-degree rape or sodomy, statutory rape in the 2nd degree, and sexual abuse in the first degree. Penalty of up to $5,000 in fines and/or 7 years imprisonment.
  • Class D felony: These include sexual abuse in the second degree with a prior sex offense, with a deadly weapon, or committed during a ceremony or ritual. A maximum prison sentence of four years or less and/or a maximum fine of $5,000 may be imposed.
  • Class A misdemeanor: Sexual abuse of the second degree. The maximum penalty is a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.


Why Hire a Lawyer?

If you are facing sex crime charges, you may want to consider the services of experienced lawyers in Kansas City. An experienced attorney will investigate your case and determine the strength of the prosecution’s case. Contact a  criminal defense attorney in Kansas City, MO, if you need help understanding sex offender laws.

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