Criminal Defense Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
Never go up against a criminal charge alone. When your future and freedom are on the line because of a serious crime, it’s crucial to understand the importance of hiring a knowledgeable and honest criminal defense attorney to guide you through your next steps.
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Missouri, contact me as soon as possible at Howard L. Lotven, P.C. in Kansas City, Missouri. As a former prosecutor and committed advocate, I will give you a realistic outlook on your case and argue aggressively for your rights. Call or message my office to schedule a consultation today.
Misdemeanor Charges in Missouri
A misdemeanor in Missouri can be punished by anything from a fine to a year of jail time. There are four classifications of misdemeanor, with Class A being the most serious and Class D being the least serious. The misdemeanor classes are:
Class A: Class A misdemeanors can be punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $2000. Class A misdemeanors include assault in the fourth degree (including domestic assault), harassment, and rioting.
Class B: Class B misdemeanors can be punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. Class B misdemeanors include identity theft, prostitution, and driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Class C: Class C misdemeanors can be punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $750. Class C misdemeanors include driving between 5 and 20 mph over the speed limit and refusal to disperse.
Class D: Class D misdemeanors can be punishable by a fine of up to $500. Class D misdemeanors include unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor, driving with a revoked license, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Felony Charges in Missouri
A felony charge in Missouri can be punished by a prison sentence of more than a year. Felonies in Missouri are separated into five classes, from Class A (most serious) to Class E (least serious). Class C, D, or E felonies may carry a fine of up to $10,000 or a total of double the amount of financial gain from your crime. The felony classes are:
Class A: Class A felonies can be punishable by a prison term of 10-30 years to life. Class A felonies include murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree robbery.
Class B: Class B felonies can be punishable by a prison term of at least 5 years and no more than 15 years. Class B felonies include first-degree domestic assault, first-degree sexual abuse, voluntary manslaughter, and DWI causing the death of 2 or more people.
Class C: Class C felonies can be punishable by at least 3 and no more than 10 years in prison. Class C felonies can include involuntary manslaughter, selling or trafficking illegal drugs (except for 35 grams or less of marijuana), and DWI causing the death of another person.
Class D: Class D felonies can be punishable by a prison sentence that does not exceed 7 years. Class D felonies can include assault in the second degree (including domestic assault) and arson in the second degree.
Class E: Class E felonies can be punishable by a prison sentence that does not exceed 4 years. Class E felonies can include domestic assault in the third degree and DWI causing a physical injury to another person.
Missouri’s Criminal Court Process
If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, a skilled criminal defense attorney will be there for you to discuss your options, gather evidence, argue your case effectively in court, and support you during the arraignment, trial, and any hearings. Your attorney will be able to help you navigate criminal court procedures; nevertheless, it’s wise to have a basic understanding of the process.
Arrest and Preliminary Hearing
Once a complaint has been filed, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If the charge is a felony, there will be a preliminary hearing in which the prosecutor will argue that there is probable cause to charge you with the crime.
At your arraignment, you will be told of the charges you are facing and will enter a plea. Occasionally, your attorney and the prosecutor may agree on a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. If the plea bargain is granted, your case will not go to trial.
At the trial, the prosecution will make an opening statement and then present evidence, after which your attorney will present evidence in your defense. Both the prosecution and defense can call witnesses to give evidence.
The jury will then discuss the evidence and, if they agree unanimously that there is proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you committed the crime, you will be found guilty. If the jury cannot agree, the proceedings will be classified as a mistrial; you may be tried again later.
If you’re found guilty, both the defense and prosecution can recommend a sentence. If you have prior criminal convictions, the judge may decide the sentence without input from the jury.
The Opportunity for Probation
You can eventually be placed on probation if you have been convicted of a nonviolent Class C or Class D felony with no prior convictions. To be placed on probation, you must petition the court after serving 120 days of your sentence. You may also be eligible for parole before completing your sentence; parole can be either granted or denied after you have attended a parole hearing.
The Appeals Process
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, your attorney can appeal a sentence by filing a Notice of Appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals, where your attorney and the prosecuting attorney will argue to a panel of judges.
A felony appeal will be managed by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
If you need a criminal defense attorney on your side, call me, Howard L. Lotven, at Howard L. Lotven, P.C., serving Kansas City, Missouri, as well as the communities of Independence, Rock Port, and Lexington. With my previous experience as a judge and a prosecutor, I know how the prosecution thinks and use this to my advantage in trial. To put skill and experience on your side, call me today at Howard L. Lotven, P.C.