What Is a Class D Felony in Missouri?
There are four classifications for felonies in Missouri, with Class A felonies the most serious and Class D the least serious. Class D felonies include:
- Resisting arrest
- Domestic assault – third degree
- Passing a bad check
Maximum and Minimum Sentences
Judges in Missouri have the discretion to hand out a variety of alternative sentences to people with Class D misdemeanors that fall short of the sentencing maximum of no more than 5 years in prison. These alternatives – misdemeanor punishments – include a fine, a sentence that is suspended and probation ordered, house arrest and other community structured sentences and a sentence that is suspended without probation. The maximum fine for a Class D felony is $5,000 or twice any financial gain, up to a maximum of $20,000.
While it is common for non-violent Class D felonies to be punished with a fine, probation or other alternative sentencing mode short of prison, Missouri has a number of laws that can extend the sentence for a Class D felony. Under state recidivism statutes, a persistent misdemeanor offender – someone with two or more prior Class A or B misdemeanor convictions who is arrested for a Class D felony – can be sentenced at the Class C level. Prior and persistent offenders with previous felony arrests can be sentenced at one or two levels above the sentencing for their current charge. Enhanced penalties are also possible for sex offenders under Missouri law. In addition, Missouri sentencing recommendations requires that a number of factors, including aggravating and mitigating factors, be considered before deciding on a sentence.
Loss of Rights and Benefits
As soon as you are convicted you will lose the following rights in Missouri:
- Hold state office
- Own or possess a firearm
- Work in a variety of fields that require state or federal licenses
- Serve on a grand jury
In Missouri, both the right to vote and the right to hold office are automatically reinstated once the sentenced has been completed, including any parole or probation requirements. However, other civil rights lost with a felony conviction are not automatically restored.
Employment and Housing with a Felony Record
A Class D conviction will make it extremely difficult to get housing or a job in Missouri because both employers and landlords can look up the criminal histories of applicants. The state has information on a number of re-entry and other programs designed to help those with criminal records. The state’s Division of Workforce Development has a federal bonding program that can provide insurance for workers unable to get bonded for jobs because of their criminal history.
Clearing Your Record
Felony expungements are extremely rare in Missouri. There are a limited number of exceptions, including the Class D crime of passing a bad check. Confer with a criminal attorney to determine if your Class D offense qualifies for expungement. A felony offender can seek a pardon through 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 is no additional criminal activity. Pardons, signed off by the governor, are very rarely granted in Missouri. In fact, in 2012 there were 526 requests for pardons. None were issued.
The information contained above is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.