MO Bar Association Proposes Changes to Criminal Codes

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JEFFERSON CITY - After four years of joint efforts the Missouri Bar Association finally came up with its 2012 Criminal Code Revision.

The revision includes increasing fines for all classes of crimes to reflect inflation. If passed, it will be the first time the state has increased fines since the 1970s.

The revision also tackles creating a new class of misdemeanor as well as a new class of felony. Class D is designed for low-level, high-volume, first-time offenders. It will stand between a Class C misdemeanor conviction and an infraction, giving judges more options when in a dilemma. A new fifth class of felony also allows prosecutors more flexibility in the charging and disposition of criminal cases.

Other changes include reorganizing the assault chapter into 4 degress of assault and 4 degrees of domestic assault and using a stair-step approach in drug crimes. The current assault chapter consists of more than 25 separate types of assault offenses.

Lynn Whaley Vogel, president of The Missouri Bar, said the revision is designed to make the current criminal code more cohesive and up-to-date. She also said the committe that has been working on the revision is composed of prosecutors, defense attorneys and some legislators to ensure the balance.

The Missouri Bar has sent the revision to legislature review. It hopes to see the completion of the legislation in about ten days.