What Is a Class B Felony in Missouri?
Felonies are divided into four separate classes in Missouri. Class A includes the most serious felonies in the state while Class D has the least serious. Class B felonies include:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Burglary – 1st degree
- Molestation of a child under the age of 14
- Arson – 1st degree
Maximum and Minimum Sentences
All felony classes have pre-set sentencing ranges that do not take into account any aggravating or mitigating circumstances. The sentencing range for Class B felonies is between 1 and 20 years in prison. However, Missouri law includes a number of different ways in which the pre-set sentences can be enhanced.
There are a number of different ways in which a defendant in Missouri can face a sentence greater than the pre-set ranges for each felony class. For example, someone who commits a Class B felony and has two prior felony convictions can be classified as a persistent offender. In this example, the offender would be sentenced under the Class A range as a persistent offender. Some crimes in Missouri trigger specific penalties that affect parole eligibility – requiring a longer stay in prison. For example, an offender convicted of a felony that involved “armed criminal action” would have to serve at least 3 years of the sentence before being eligible for parole. If that offender had two convictions, the minimum time in prison would be 5 years and would increase to 10 years without the benefit of parole for someone with three prior convictions involving firearms. An offender convicted of the Class B crime of arson in the 1st degree – considered a dangerous felony in Missouri – would be required to serve at least 85 percent of any sentence handed out. Enhanced penalties are also possible for certain sex offenses under Missouri law.
Loss of Rights and Benefits
As soon as you are convicted of a Class B felony you will lose the following rights in Missouri:
- Own or possess a firearm
- Serve on a grand jury
- Run for state office
- Work in a variety of fields, from law to healthcare, that require state or federal licenses
Under Missouri law, the right to vote and the right to hold office are automatically reinstated at the completion of the felony sentence, including any parole or probation requirements. Other civil rights in the state are not restored automatically, however.
Employment and Housing with a Felony Record
Experts say it is important to have a plan as a felon before looking for jobs or housing. That could include visiting companies and individual referrals because of a history of considering felons. Or, it could involve checking with state agencies, such as Missouri’s Division of Workforce Development, to ask for a list of any employer in your area that are taking advantage of state or federal re-entry programs. The same is true when looking for housing.
Clearing Your Record
It is possible to get a Class B felony expunged or set aside in Missouri. However, the state has changed the law in that area – thanks to a 2015 overhaul – and having the advice of an experienced criminal attorney would be extremely helpful. No Class A crimes can be expunged and the about 15 other crimes have been excluded from the expungement process, including a number of Class B offenses. There is a 5-year waiting period from the completion of the felony sentence before the state will accept a request to expunge or set aside a conviction. It is also possible to request a pardon from the state Pardon and Parole Board. Applications are only accepted if at least three years has elapsed since the completion of the sentence and there has been no additional criminal activity. However, pardons are extremely rare – in some prior years none at all were granted.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, you should visit an attorney.