Missouri Proposes New Criminal Laws

Missouri’s revised Criminal Code, Senate Bill 491, has been sent to the Governor for approval after the bill has passed in both the House and Senate. The Governor’s Office previously recommended that the General Assembly submit the bill for consideration in parts, with possibly one part of the Code being submitted for approval as a result of its size. The General Assembly ignored the recommendation. Therefore, whether the Code is signed by the Governor is still unknown. Even after passage of the bill by the General Assembly, a Missouri sheriff’s department raised a question whether all the necessary language was present in order to enforce a certain proposed law.

There is little doubt that considerable time has been spent on the drafting of Senate Bill 491. The Criminal Code was discussed last year in the General Assembly, and has been a work in progress for several years. The proposed bill will reclassify felony and misdemeanor offenses creating new penalties. One of the provisions contemplates eliminating jail time for first time offenders for the offense of possession of marijuana with the maximum penalty set at a fine. If the bill is signed by the Governor, the bill would not take effect until January 1, 2017.

Scott Hamblin, shareholder, Brydon, Swearengen & England P.C.