Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri
When facing criminal charges, the fear of the unknown combined with the severity of the potential consequences can leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed about your future. At these times, having a reliable and experienced attorney like Raphael Morris by your side can make all the difference. For over 19 years, Mr. Morris has been serving clients throughout St. Charles, Jefferson County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, providing them with high-quality legal representation.
With a deep understanding of both misdemeanor and felony charges, Raphael's guidance can help you navigate through these challenging times. The Morris Firm offers services for a wide range of cases, including DWIs, drug crimes, murder, homicide, white-collar crimes, sex crimes, assault and battery, drug possession, and more. If you are facing charges, reach out to him today for support.
Criminal Charges in Missouri
In Missouri, criminal charges are categorized into misdemeanors and felonies. The classification of the crime plays a crucial role in determining the potential penalties upon conviction.
Misdemeanors, the lesser of the two, are classified into four categories: Class A, B, C, and D. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, carrying penalties of up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,000. Class D, the least severe, may result in up to a $500 fine.
Examples of misdemeanors include:
Class A: This class includes offenses such as domestic assault in the third degree, fraudulent use of a credit or debit device, and knowingly burning or exploding.
Class B: Driving while intoxicated for the first time, private peace disturbance, and first-degree trespassing are considered Class B misdemeanors.
Class C: This category can include offenses such as first-degree harassment and fraudulent use of a credit device valued under $500.
Class D: The least severe, Class D misdemeanors could include offenses like first-degree administrative trespassing or being a minor in possession of alcohol.
Misdemeanors in Missouri often consist of less severe offenses, but they still carry significant penalties.
Felonies, on the other hand, are more severe crimes that carry heavier penalties. Felonies are also divided into five classes, from Class A, the most serious, to Class E. A Class A felony, such as murder, can result in life imprisonment or the death penalty. A Class E felony carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.
Felonies encompass a broad range of serious offenses that are punishable by severe penalties. Here are some examples:
Murder and Attempted Murder: These are Class A felonies in Missouri, carrying the most severe penalties, including life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Rape and Sexual Assault: These crimes often fall under Class B or C felonies, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Penalties may range from 5 to 15 years in prison.
Armed Robbery: This is typically a Class B felony, carrying a penalty of 5 to 15 years in prison.
Drug Trafficking: Depending on the type and quantity of drugs involved, drug trafficking can range from a Class C to a Class A felony.
Burglary: If committed without any person present in the property, it is usually considered a Class D felony. However, if a person is present, it could escalate to a Class B felony.
For both misdemeanors and felonies, a conviction can have long-term consequences beyond the immediate penalties, including a permanent criminal record. It's essential to seek legal advice if you find yourself facing any criminal charges, as a skilled attorney can help mitigate these potential impacts.
Missouri Criminal Court Process
The Missouri Criminal Court process involves several steps:
Arrest and Complaint: The process begins with the arrest of the accused based on probable cause. After the arrest, bail may be set during a bail hearing.
Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury Proceedings: This is to determine whether there's enough evidence to proceed to trial. In some cases, a grand jury may be used to decide whether to indict the accused.
Grand Jury: A grand jury is a group of citizens called to determine whether there's enough evidence to bring criminal charges against an individual.
Arraignment: This is the initial court appearance where the accused is formally charged and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
Pre-Trial Motions: Both the prosecution and defense can file pre-trial motions to determine what evidence and testimony will be allowable in court.
Trial: If a plea agreement is not reached, the case will go to trial where the prosecution and defense will present their cases.
Sentencing: If a guilty verdict is reached or a plea deal is accepted, the judge will set a date for sentencing.
Appeal: In the event of an unfavorable outcome, there's the appeals process. This process allows for a review of the decision by a higher court.
Parole Hearing: If the defendant is sentenced to prison, they may have the opportunity for a parole hearing after serving a portion of their sentence.
The details of the process, the gravity of the charges, and their potential consequences underscore the need for experienced representation. If facing charges, securing the counsel of a seasoned attorney like Raphael Morris can have a big effect on the outcome, making sure your rights are protected and your case is presented with experience.
Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri
When it comes to criminal charges, the stakes are high. That's why you need the best defense possible. In St. Louis, Missouri, The Morris Firm is ready to fight for you. With Attorney Morris's vast experience and dedication, you can be confident that your case will be handled with the utmost care. Reach out today for a free consultation and take the first step towards building a strong defense.