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Missouri lawmakers recently wrapped up the legislative session, passing a number of new laws that will affect criminal defense and justice in the state. Among those measures is a significant reworking of the state's criminal code.

The criminal code revisions came after about seven years of work by a Missouri task force. In addition to that package, aimed at clarifying and simplifying the code, lawmakers also passed provisions designed to:

  • allow voters to enact an amendment that would allow previous sex offenses to be admissible as evidence in trials surrounding alleged sex crimes against minors
  • reform the ways that public defenders may accept or decline cases
  • clarify that defendants in child pornography cases can be charged with a separate crime for each pornographic image they possess

However, legislators did not achieve everything that the criminal justice community was hoping and expecting. For example, they failed to address a hole in Missouri law that fails to specify a punishment for murders committed by juvenile defendants.

If you or someone you care about are facing accusations or charges of a criminal act the stakes can be high. You may face significant monetary fines, administrative punishments like license suspension or revocation, expensive and costly legal proceedings or even prison time.

These harsh consequences mean it is absolutely essential to protect your rights and interests in the face of criminal charges. Consider getting in touch with an experienced defense attorney who can fight for you, build an aggressive defense and help you pursue the best possible outcome in your case, whether in the form of a plea deal or at trial.

Source: The Sedalia News-Journal, "Prosecutors applaud Mo Legislature's work in closing days of 2013 season," May 19, 2013

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