What You Need to Know About Missouri Misdemeanor
Missouri Misdemeanor crimes range in seriousness from a Class A Misdemeanor through Class D. There are also unclassified misdemeanors in Missouri. In this guide, Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center attorneys explain everything you need to know about misdemeanor sentencing.
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
Published: December 6. 2019.
Updated: October 21. 2021.
What is a Misdemeanor in Missouri?
In the United States, including Missouri, a Misdemeanor is defined as a “lower criminal offense,” meaning that it is more serious than an infraction but not as serious as a felony. In contrast to felonies, a Missouri Misdemeanor is punishable by a fine and/or time in the county jail for up to one year.
A few of the typical Misdemeanors we might consider are petty theft, trespassing, vandalism, possession of a controlled substance, and public intoxication. Still, the types of criminal offenses that are regarded as Misdemeanors depend on state jurisdiction.
In Missouri, misdemeanor offenses are further classified into four classes:
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Class C Misdemeanor
- Class D Misdemeanor
Class A Misdemeanor Missouri
In Missouri, a Class A Misdemeanor is the most serious category of Misdemeanor and carries the highest penalty.
Missouri Class A Misdemeanor Penalties
A Class A Misdemeanor Missouri carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2000. The penalties for a Class A Missouri Misdemeanor are the most serious municipal charges one can face.
Class A Misdemeanor in Missouri Charges
In Missouri, a Class A Misdemeanor includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:
- Probation/parole violation
- Harassment in the 2nd degree
- Kidnapping in the 3rd degree
- Elder abuse in the 3rd degree
- Manufacturing a false identification to purchase alcohol
- Invasion of privacy
- Sexual abuse in the 2nd degree
- Arson in the 3rd degree
- Deceptive business practices
- DWI prior offender
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Possession of 11-13 grams of marijuana
Class B Misdemeanor Missouri
A Class B Misdemeanor is the second most severe Missouri Misdemeanor classification, carrying a maximum penalty of up to six months in county jail and a $1000 fine.
Missouri Class B Misdemeanors Charges
A Class B Missouri Misdemeanor includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:
- Misuse of 911
- Violation of state wildlife statutes law
- Exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 or more miles per hour
- Excessive rate of speed of watercraft
- Operating a commercial motor vehicle without a seatbelt
- Sexual misconduct in the 1st degree
- Patronizing prostitution
- Reckless burning or exploding
- Property damage in the 2nd degree
- Trespassing in the 1st degree
- Identity theft or attempted identity theft
- Unlawful assembly
- False impersonation
- Intentionally releasing an animal
While a Misdemeanor is considered a low-level criminal offense, the repercussions of being charged with one are nothing to take lightly, especially if it’s a higher-level Missouri Misdemeanor charge.
6-12 months in jail can significantly set back one’s life, so if you face Class A or B Misdemeanor charges in Missouri, don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated Missouri defense attorney like those at the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center.
Class C Misdemeanor Missouri
A Class C Misdemeanor is the third most severe Missouri Misdemeanor Classification. Class C Misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail and up to a $750 fine.
Class C Misdemeanor Missouri Charges
In Missouri, a Class C Misdemeanor includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:
- Violation of education requirement for a child
- Canine cruelty
- Violation of child labor law
- Exceeding the posted speed limit by 6-19 miles per hour
- Driving at a speed of less than 40 miles per hour on an interstate highway
- Failure to drive within the right lane of a highway
- Failure to stop at a railroad track
- Failure to obey traffic control device
- Odometer fraud in the 3rd degree
- Sexual misconduct in the 2nd degree
- Negligent burning or exploding
- The damaging state park property
- Animal neglect or abandonment
At the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center, we specialize in criminal defense for those charged with DWI and other crimes. If you’re facing a Class C Misdemeanor in Missouri, we can help.
Class D Misdemeanor Missouri
Missouri Senate Bill 491 introduced Class D as a new classification for Missouri Misdemeanors. A Class D Misdemeanor carries the least severe penalty and is the lowest Misdemeanor class in Missouri, carrying a maximum penalty of a $500 fine.
Missouri Class D Misdemeanor Charges
A Class D Missouri Misdemeanor includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license
- Operating a commercial vehicle on the highway without a valid license
- Purchase, attempt to purchase, or possession of liquor by a minor
- Minor visibly intoxicated with a BAC of more than .02%
- A first-time offense of stealing property worth less than $150
- Disposal of more than 2000 pounds of one’s personal construction or demolition waste on their own property
- Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana
- Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia
A Class C or D Missouri Misdemeanor charge may not seem like a big deal. Still, regardless of the potential penalty, it may be in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. Misdemeanors, even low-level classifications, will still stay on your record for several years and have the potential to escalate into far more serious charges.
Unclassified Misdemeanor Missouri
In Missouri, unclassified Misdemeanors do not have standard punishment terms similar to Misdemeanor Classes A, B, C, and D. This means that the punishment for an unclassified Misdemeanor will be outlined in the applicable state statute or determined by the judge based on individual facts of the case.
Missouri Range of Punishment Unclassified Misdemeanor
Unclassified Misdemeanors are criminal charges, typically traffic offenses or nuisance laws, that generally carry minimal fines and rarely carry a jail sentence.
In most cases, being found guilty of an unclassified Misdemeanor will result in a monetary fine and less than a year of jail time, if any. However, it is important to note that repeat convictions of an Unclassified Missouri Misdemeanor can result in more severe penalties.
In Missouri, an Unclassified Misdemeanor includes, but is not limited to, the following offenses:
- Dumping in an unlicensed area
- Destruction of state records
- Failure to secure a building permit
- Failure to file or pay a Missouri tax return
- Violation of sales tax law
- Operating a junkyard without a license
- Violation of state forestry law
- Failure to pay wages within the required time
- Representing the driver’s license of another person to be one’s own
- Improper sewage tank
- Failure to equip passenger vehicle with 2 sets of front seat safety belts
- Motor vehicle inspection violation
- Unlawful practice of tattooing, body piercing, or branding
- Contempt of court
- Nonpayment of fine
The outcome of each unclassified Misdemeanor case varies. If you have been charged with an Unclassified Misdemeanor in Missouri, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine which type of punishment you may be facing.
If you’ve already been convicted of a Missouri Misdemeanor, you may still have options. For those who served the sentence of a Missouri Misdemeanor a minimum of 3 years back, a brand-new expungement law might permit wrongdoers to get a record of their Misdemeanor criminal offense sealed from the state or federal repositories.
Is an Infraction a Misdemeanor in Missouri?
If you face an Infraction charge in Missouri, it is important to note that there are many similarities between a Misdemeanor and an Infraction. First and foremost, both classes of offenses will appear on your permanent record and can potentially escalate into more severe charges.
What sets an Infraction apart from a Misdemeanor is that the punishment is limited to fines only. There will be no substantial prison term associated with a conviction of an Infraction.
Under Missouri law, the maximum penalty for an Infraction is a fine of $500 and no jail time. For a Misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is a $1000 fine and up to 1 year of jail time. As you can see, the punishment for an Infraction is less than that of a Misdemeanor offense.
As with Misdemeanors, Infractions are typically traffic offenses or other minor criminal charges. Some examples of Missouri Infractions may include:
- Blocking/impeding traffic at night
- Failure to use headlights
- Failing to stop at a red light
- Speeding over 100 mph on highways posted at 65 mph or less
If you have been charged with an Infraction or Misdemeanor in Missouri, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to review your rights and options for defense against the charges.
Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Now for Legal Advice
Don’t hesitate to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer if you are seeking guidance regarding Missouri Misdemeanor legislation or are facing Misdemeanor charges of any classification. A Missouri criminal lawyer like those at the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can assist with explaining a defendant’s rights in the face of criminal charges and obtaining the justice they deserve.
If you have been drinking, use our "Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator"to estimate your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) before you drive, but please keep in mind that the information it provides is just an estimate and may not be inaccurate.