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News2021-06-18T10:24:09-05:00
3008, 2021

New Laws Effective Aug 28 2021

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Every August 28th, laws enacted in the previous year's legislative session become active law. There are no major changes to any laws this year, or anything too exciting. Still, here's a brief list of some of the new laws that became effective on August 28, 2021: Vandalizing "any public monument or structure on public property" can now be charged as high as a Class D Felony (575.085) "Willfully or recklessly" interfering with an ambulance is now a Class D Misdemeanor (574.203) Any juvenile charged with a crime that carries jail time is entitled to an attorney (211.211) The old [...]

1904, 2019

MoDOT Launching 4/20 Impaired Driving Crackdown

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MoDOT announced this week that it is launching its first-ever drugged-driving enforcement campaign. This weekend, the agency claims that law enforcement "will be out in full force" to crack down on drivers who appear to be under the influence of drugs. MoDOT says 78 people were killed in 2018 in crashes where at least one driver was drug-impaired. If you plan on partaking in festivities this weekend, please do so responsibly.

1209, 2018

Changes to Missouri’s Sex Offender Laws

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Late last month, Missouri tweaked its laws regarding its Sex Offender Registry. While the new laws require Registered Sex Offenders to check in with law enforcement more often to update their contact information, the aspect of the law most favorable to those on the registry is the new “tier” system that separates sex offenses based on their severity. The new law also allows for Registered Sex Offenders to petition the court to have their names removed from the Registry after a certain period of time. It is now possible for people convicted of non-violent sexual offenses to have their names [...]

2506, 2018

Cops Now Need A Warrant For Your Phone Location

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Last Friday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement must obtain a warrant to discover your cell phone location information. In keeping up with the digital age in which nearly everyone has a smartphone, the Supreme Court said that searching your phone is no different than searching your car or your house; you have a 4th Amendment right to privacy which can only be breached with a warrant. Read the full story here, and the Court's full opinion here.

1306, 2018

Caught With Under 100 Grams of Weed in St. Louis?

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If so, you will likely NOT be charged by the STL Circuit Attorney's Office. This is according to an email sent by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardener to her staff, in which she said that prosecuting nearly all marijuana possession charges "are hampering our ability to administer justice for the people of the City of St. Louis." According to this policy, as long as there are no "aggravating circumstances", all charges of possession under ONE HUNDRED GRAMS will be dismissed. What the Circuit Attorney means by "aggravating circumstances" is not clear. And it should be noted that possession of marijuana is [...]

603, 2018

How Do I Get Placed In A Different SATOP Class?

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We often receive phone calls from DUI clients who are panicked and confused after they go for their SATOP assessment. While most first time DUI offenders get assigned to the Offender Education Program (OEP) class, we have found that SATOP testing centers in the St. Louis region are increasingly recommending the more intensive level of SATOP. These levels include the Weekend Intervention Program (WIP), and, surprisingly, the very intense Clinical Intervention Program (CIP). The Missouri Department of Mental health defines the CIP level of SATOP as "an outpatient treatment program designed specifically for persistent DWI offenders, or those identified during [...]

2404, 2017

DUI Checkpoints May Be Kept Out of Missouri’s 2018 Budget

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Lawmakers are in Jeff City this week finalizing our State's budget for 2018. Last week, the House released a plan that would have banned the use of state funds going to DUI checkpoints. The Senate then quickly removed the language from the bill that would take the funding away. Now, lawmakers must decide whether to include funds before the May 5 budget deadline. Proponents of removing MODOT funds for checkpoints point out that, on average, it costs our State $1100 per drunk driver arrested at a checkpoint. They feel that "saturation patrols" - teams of officers on patrol looking for [...]

301, 2017

Missouri’s New Criminal Code: A Brief Rundown

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For the first time in 40 years, there is a new criminal code in the State of Missouri. There are a lot of changes, way more than can be quickly summarized in a blog post. These changes have been in the works for nearly a decade, and they became law on January 1, 2017. Here are some of the key changes: There is now a "Class E" Felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. 1st-offense possession (of 10 grams or less) of marijuana is now a "Class D" Misdemeanor, which carries no possibility of [...]

212, 2016

How Do I Set Aside A Guilty Plea?

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People plead guilty to criminal charges without an attorney all the time. Either because they cannot afford an attorney to represent them, or they’re convinced that what they’re charged with is so minor that it won’t affect them and therefore isn’t worth paying to hire an attorney. But many of these people find out down the road that, because they’ve pleaded guilty, they’ve been rejected from a job they applied to, or have been denied an apartment lease, or have received a Notice of Suspension from the Department of Revenue informing them that they’ve acquired too many points on their [...]

212, 2016

Several Key Provisions of Municipal Court Reform Bill Struck Down

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Yesterday, a circuit court judge in Cole County (Jefferson City) struck down provisions of Senate Bill 5. I’ve written about Senate Bill 5 a few times before, and I believe it’s a very positive bit of legislation that will – and already has – cleaned up many of the shadiest municipal courts in the St. Louis area. But the “Municipal Court Reform” bill has come under fire since the beginning, and yesterday was the culmination of a long and well-coordinated effort to have it repealed. The Plaintiffs in this suit, exclusively small North County municipalities who exist almost solely due [...]

2608, 2016

The Term “Felony Stealing” Has a Whole New Meaning in Missouri

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Stealing has always been a crime in Missouri, but until this week, people charged with such crimes as stealing more than $500, or stealing items such as a car, credit card, or firearm, had to deal with a felony stealing charge. The enhancement from a misdemeanor stealing charge to a felony charge comes with all sorts of life-altering consequences that go far beyond the scope of this post. The point is, if you stole more than $500, or if you stole certain items that our legislature decided that you should never steal, you'd be facing a felony stealing charge. This all [...]

707, 2016

If You Paid to Have a Warrant Recalled in St. Louis City, You May Soon Be Refunded

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If you paid a "warrant cancellation" fee to recall a warrant in the St. Louis City Municipal Court between December 11, 2009 and February 16 of this year, check your mail for information regarding a possible refund. The refund is only a partial refund, and it is not automatic - there are steps you must take in order to claim it. More information about this can be found here. This is part of the post-Ferguson court reforms currently transpiring throughout our region, and it will only be a matter of time before other municipal courts offer similar refunds. We'll be [...]

2104, 2016

Can States Make it a CRIME to Refuse a Breathalyzer?

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That is the question before the U.S. Supreme Court, as 3 drivers charged with drunk driving were also with the separate crime of violating their states’ “No Refusal Law”. Missouri is in the vast majority of states which have so such law that says it’s a separate crime to refuse to take a breathalyzer. But the drivers in the case now before the Supreme Court are from North Dakota and Minnesota, two of thirteen states which currently have “No Refusal” laws on the books. You may recall this blog discussing a similar case before the Supreme Court (in 2012) featuring [...]

2903, 2016

Several Key Provisions of Senate Bill 5 (Municipal Court Reform Bill) Struck Down

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Yesterday, a circuit court judge in Cole County (Jefferson City) struck down provisions of Senate Bill 5. I’ve written about Senate Bill 5 a few times before, and I believe it’s a very positive bit of legislation that will – and already has – cleaned up many of the shadiest municipal courts in the St. Louis area. But the “Municipal Court Reform” bill has come under fire since the beginning, and yesterday was the culmination of a long and well-coordinated effort to have it repealed. The Plaintiffs in this suit, exclusively small North County municipalities who exist almost solely due [...]

1512, 2015

You Can Now Make STL Muni Court Monthly Payments Online

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The St. Louis Municipal Court has offered online payment online for a while now. But that was limited to payment in full. Many defendants in the City Municipal court elect to enroll in a payment-plan setup to pay their fines rather than shelling out hundreds of dollars at once. But once they did that, they had to make their monthly payments in person at the court, which is inconvenient enough if you have nothing to do; if you have a job, care for children, are enrolled in school, live far from downtown, etc. etc., in-person payments each month can be [...]

1311, 2015

DUI Checkpoints Tonight (11/13) in West County

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Be careful if you're out and about this evening in West St. Louis County. From the County PD's Facebook page: "The St. Louis County Police Department Highway Safety Unit, along with the Chesterfield Police Department, will be checking motorists in an effort to reduce the number of drunk drivers on our streets and highways. Specially trained officers will be conducting DWI Enforcement on Friday, November 13, 2015, in the City of Chesterfield, the City of Clarkson Valley, and in unincorporated St. Louis County. Inconvenience to motorists will be minimal." That last sentence isn't necessarily true, ESPECIALLY if you're caught drinking [...]

1111, 2015

Happy Veterans Day!

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Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served in our armed forces. Military friends, family, and clients: thank you for all you have done and all that you continue to do!

2808, 2015

DUI Checkpoint in Creve Coeur Tonight (8/28)

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The Creve Coeur Police Department has announced that they will conduct a sobriety checkpoint at an undisclosed location in the city tonight (8/28) between 10pm and 3am. From my experience living in Creve Coeur for several years, these checkpoints were almost exclusively conducted on Olive within a mile of either side of Highway 270, but Creve Coeur is a rather large municipality and tonight's checkpoint could be conducted anywhere. So be alert if you're in the area this evening.

1908, 2015

What the Missouri Supreme Court’s Red-Light Camera Ruling Means for You

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Yesterday the Missouri Supreme Court released its long-awaited opinions regarding red light camera ordinances in our state. The court ruled that the St. Louis red-light camera ordinance violates the constitution because it more or less forces a defendant to actually prove that he was not the one driving the car through a red light. The court also said that St. Peters' law - which treats these violations as "moving violations" but issues no points to their driver's record - violates state law and is thus void. A similar ordinance enacted in Moline Acres was also struck down by the court. [...]

1507, 2015

Senate Bill 5 (Municipal Court Reform) Breakdown

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Governor Nixon signed Senate Bill 5 into law last week. As I discussed in May, this Bill will have huge implications on municipal courts in this state, especially in St. Louis County. These reforms are long overdue. On St. Louis Public Radio yesterday, Glendale/Kirkwood State Senator Eric Schmitt provides a thorough breakdown of Senate Bill 5. You can listen to this interesting interview here, and you can read the full text of the bill here.

607, 2015

“Wake Up”: A Documentary To Honor a Life and Eradicate Suicide

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Please take a moment to check out the trailer for the upcoming documentary Wake Up, featuring intern Alex Lindley. Alex came up with the idea to create a documentary about suicide awareness after he and his group of friends lost two close friends to suicide while at Mizzou. The documentary aims to get the conversation of the topic of suicide started, and ending the taboos and stigmas that often prevent those suffering from mental illness to reach out for support. Check out their story on their webpage, watch the trailer for their film on YouTube, and consider making a donation, [...]

207, 2015

STL City Municipal Court Recalls All Payment Warrants

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Nearly 30,000 people have active warrants from the St. Louis City Municipal Court for failure to pay. Yesterday it was announced that all of these people will have their warrants recalled, and they will receive an opportunity to appear in court and explain their current financial situation. If you are one of the nearly 30,000 people who had a failure-to-pay warrant in the City, you should expect to receive a letter that explains the process for obtaining a new court date. If you have moved since the offense that led to your warrant, you will need to contact the Municipal [...]

1905, 2015

A Closer Look at Senate Bill 5

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It's rare to see a bill receive any type of bipartisan support in Jefferson City, but that is what happened earlier this month with the passage of Senate Bill 5. This is good news for all citizens of this state, especially those in St. Louis County who have been brutally ripped off for years by greedy municipalities trying to meet their bottom lines. Senate Bill 5 was signed by Governor Nixon last week, and while the bill has a lengthy list of reforms, the key points you should know include: - The amount of traffic-related revenue collected by local governments [...]

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