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Drug and alcohol crimes in Missouri already come with hefty penalties but law enforcement may soon be able to hit dealers where it really hurts: in the wallet.

The state may consider new legislation that would require sellers of illegal drugs and alcohol to pay taxes on those substances. The government has authority to tax both legal and illegal enterprise and some lawmakers believe such a measure may deter deals from committing crimes.

The proposal, which was brought forward by a former drug detective, would require the Department of Revenue to issue stamps that dealers could put on such items to show they have already paid the tax. The legislation would dictate that dealers can buy those stamps anonymously without fear of legal consequences at the time of purchase.

If law enforcement officials make an arrest or seizure and find illegal substances that do not have a stamp, offenders would face the penalties for not paying back taxes. Several other states already have such a program in place.

These taxes would be added to existing penalties for related crimes. Those convicted currently may face consequences including fines, jail time or probation. In addition, a lasting criminal record can result, which can limit an offender's future job prospects or opportunities.

If you or someone you care about are facing criminal charges it is important to work with an experienced, aggressive criminal law attorney. They can help you fight the charges or negotiate with prosecutors to get the best possible outcome in your case.

Source: Missourinet, "Proposal would make dealers pay taxes on illegal drugs, alcohol," Mike Lear, Dec. 17, 2012

To learn more about criminal charges in Missouri, please visit our website.

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