Missouri Sentencing Ranges, Minimum Terms, and Enhancement

Sentencing Authority

The court’s authority for sentencing is found in 557.011 RSMo. Most commonly this includes a fine, a term of imprisonment, or some combination thereof. No Missouri court may impose sentence other than those authorized by statute. The court’s authority includes any of the following sentences:

  1. Sentencing the defendant to a term of jail/imprisonment pursuant to Chapter 558 RSMo;
  2. Sentencing the defendant to pay a fine pursuant to Chapter 558 RSMo.;
  3. Suspend imposition of sentence, with or without placing the defendant on probation;
  4. Suspending execution of sentence, and placing the defendant on probation; or
  5. Order a period of shock detention, and place the defendant on probation;

Classification of Felonies and Misdemeanors

Under Missouri law offense are categorized as felonies, misdemeanors, or infractions. The range of punishment for each offense is as follows:

Felonies:

Class A:   10 to 30 years  | fines are not authorized
Class B:   5 to 15 years  | fines are not authorized
Class C:   3 to 10 years  | fines up to $10,000.00
Class D:   1 to 7 years  | fines up to $10,000.00
Class E:   1 to 4 years  | fines up to $10,000.00

 

Misdemeanors:

Class A:   Up to 1 year  | fines up to $2,000.00
Class B:   Up to 6 months  | fines up to $1,000.00
Class C:   Up to 15 days  | fines up to $750.00
Class D:   N/A  | fines up to $500

 

Infractions: fines up to $400.00

Some offenses are not denominated by a letter classification. If a Felony is not classified as A, B, C, D, or E then its sentencing range is specified in the relevant statute. If a misdemeanor is not classified as A, B, C, or D then it carries the same range of punishment as a Class “A” misdemeanor, unless a different range is specified in the relevant statute.

Sentence Enhancement and Persistent Offenders

Missouri law provides for additional enhanced punishments for defendants who have committed prior felonies, or certain violent/dangerous offenses. Defendant’s meeting the following classifications generally are subject to enhanced (lengthened) sentences:

  • Persistent Felony Offender:  A Persistent Felony Offender is person who has been found guilty of two or more felonies committed at different times. Persistent Felony Offender Status must be alleged in the charging document of an offense and must be pleaded and proved to the court. The Department of Corrections cannot independently determine that a person is a Persistent Felony Offender.

The effect of a finding that a defendant is a persistent felony offender is that such defendant will be subject to the range of punishment one (1) classification higher for any newly charged offense. For example if a prior and persistent offender is charged with a new class “C” felony, such defendant will be subject to the enhanced class “B” range of punishment of 5 to 15 years instead of the standard class “C” range of 3 to 10 years.

  • Dangerous Felony Offender: Is a person being sentenced for a felony during the commission of which he knowingly murdered or endangered or threatened the life of another person or knowingly inflicted or attempted or threatened to inflict serious physical injury on another person; and has been found guilty of a class A or B felony or a dangerous felony.

A “dangerous felony” is any of the following:

  1. Abuse of a Child if child dies
  2. Arson – First Degree
  3. Assault – First Degree
  4. Assault – Second Degree (if special victim)
  5. Assault of Law Enforcement Officers – First Degree
  6. Attempted Forcible Rape (if physical injury)
  7. Attempted Forcible Sodomy (if physical injury)
  8. Child Abuse/Kidnapping (detaining child at least 120 days)
  9. Child Molestation – First Degree or Second Degree
  10. Domestic Assault – First Degree
  11. DWI Habitual Offender
  12. Elder Abuse – First Degree
  13. Forcible Rape
  14. Forcible Sodomy
  15. Kidnapping
  16. Murder – Second Degree
  17. Robbery – First Degree
  18. Statutory Rape – First Degree (child less than 12)
  19. Statutory Sodomy (child less than 12)

The effect of a finding that a defendant is a  dangerous felony offender is that such defendant will be subject to the range of punishment one (1) classification higher for any newly charged offense. For example if a offender is charged with a new class “C” felony, such defendant will be subject to the enhanced class “B” range of punishment of 5 to 15 years instead of the standard class “C” range of 3 to 10 years. For Dangerous Felony Offenders, the Defendant must also serve 85% of his or her sentence prior to being eligible for parole.

In addition to the standard enhancements stated above, many offenses contain their own enhancement provisions for repeated violations of the same offense. Some common (though not exhaustive) examples include:

First Offense Third Offense
Domestic Assault 3rd Degree Class “A” Misdemeanor Class “E” Felony
DWI Class “B” Misdemeanor Class “E” Felony
Stealing (less than $750) Class “A” Misdemeanor Class “E” Felony

 

Missouri’s enhancement statutes are ever changing, and it is crucial to consult with an attorney to determine whether sentence enhancement applies to the facts of a specific case.

Minimum Terms of Imprisonment

In addition to sentence length enhancement in the case of certain prior offenders, Missouri law provides for minimum terms for certain defendants. If a minimum term applies the defendant may not be paroled until serving the minimum term in custody. Such determination is made by the Department of Corrections and/or Probation an Parole and is not determined by the sentencing court.

Unlike sentence enhancement, minimum terms of imprisonment are not based on the prior number of pleas and/or convictions. Instead, minimum terms of imprisonment are applicable when a defendant has had a prior “commitment” to the Missouri Department of Corrections. A prior commitment is a prior sentence which was actually served in the Department of Corrections. Prior commitments do not include convictions which resulted in confinement in the county jail, probation or suspended execution of a prison sentence, first time 120 shock programs, or long term drug treatment programs.

In 2019, the prior commitments law was changed. It now only applies to new convictions for the following offenses:

  • Murder – Second Degree – 565.021
  • Voluntary Manslaughter – 565.023
  • Involuntary Manslaughter – First Degree – 565.024
  • Involuntary Manslaughter – Second Degree – 565.027
  • Assault – First Degree – 565.050
  • Assault – Second Degree – 565.052
  • Assault – Third Degree – 565.054
  • Domestic Assault – First Degree – 565.072
  • Domestic Assault – Second Degree – 565.073
  • Domestic Assault – Third Degree – 565.074
  • Harassment – First Degree – 565.090
  • Kidnapping – First Degree – 565.110
  • Child Kidnapping – 565.115
  • Kidnapping – Second Degree – 565.120
  • Parental Kidnapping – 565.153
  • Child Abduction – 565.156
  • Stalking – First Degree 565.225
  • Infanticide – 565.300
  • Rape – First Degree – 566.030
  • Rape – Second Degree – 566.031
  • Statutory Rape – First Degree – 566.032
  • Statutory Rape – Second Degree – 566.034
  • Sodomy – First Degree – 566.060
  • Sodomy – Second Degree – 566.061
  • Statutory Sodomy – First Degree – 566.062
  • Statutory Sodomy – Second Degree- 566.064
  • Child Molestation – First Degree – 566.067
  • Child Molestation – Second Degree – 566.068
  • Child Molestation – Third Degree – 566.069
  • Child Molestation – Fourth Degree – 566.071
  • Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child – 566.083
  • Sexual Contact with a Student – 566.086
  • Sexual Abuse – First Degree – 566.100
  • Sexual Abuse – Second Degree – 566.101
  • Promoting Online Sexual Solicitation – 566.103
  • Sex with Animals – 566.111
  • Sexual Conduct with Nursing Facility Resident – 566.115
  • Sexual Conduct in Course of Public Duty – 566.145
  • Enticement of Child – 566.151
  • Age Misrepresentation With Intent Solicit Minor – 566.153
  • Abusing Individual Through Forced Labor – 566.203
  • Trafficking for the Purpose of Slavery – 566.206
  • Trafficking for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation – 566.209
  • Sexual Trafficking of Child – First Degree – 566.210
  • Sexual Trafficking of a Child – Second Degree – 566.211
  • Contribution to Human Trafficking – 566.215
  • Abandonment of Child – First Degree – 568.030
  • Endangering Welfare Child – First Degree – 568.045
  • Abuse or Neglect of Child – 568.060
  • Genital Mutilation – 568.065
  • Trafficking in Children – 568.175
  • Arson – First Degree – 569.040
  • Burglary – First Degree – 569.160
  • Robbery – First Degree – 570.023
  • Robbery – Second Degree – 570.025
  • Stealing (A,B, C Felonies only) – 570.030
  • Financial Exploitation of Elderly (A, B Felonies only) – 570.145
  • Identity Theft (B, C Felonies only) – 570.223
  • Possession, Manufacture, Transfer Certain Weapons – 571.020
  • Unlawful Use of a Weapon – 571.030
  • Unlawful Possession Firearm – 571.070
  • Sexual Exploitation of Minors – 573.023
  • Promoting Child Pornography – First Degree – 573.025
  • Promoting Child Pornography – Second Degree – 573.035
  • Possession Child Pornography – 573.037
  • Child Used in Sexual Performance – 573.200
  • Promoting Sexual Performance by Child – 573.205
  • Promoting Civil Disorder – First Degree – 574.070
  • Causing Catastrophe – 574.080
  • Making a Terrorist Threat – First Degree – 574.115
  • Hindering Prosecution – 575.030
  • Resisting or Interfering with Arrest – 575.150
  • Disarming a Peace Officer – 575.153
  • Endangering Corrections Employee – 575.155
  • Endangering Mental Health Employee – 575.157
  • Escape or Attempt Escape from Custody (A Felony only) – 575.200
  • Escape or Attempt Escape from Confinement – 575.210
  • Aiding Escape of a Prisoner (B felony only) – 575.230
  • Permitting Escape (B felony only) – 575.240
  • Treason – 576.070
  • Supporting Terrorism – 576.080
  • DWI – 577.010
  • Boating While Intoxicated – 577.013
  • Water Contamination – 577.078
  • Bus Hijacking – 577.703
  • Planting Explosive Near Bus Terminal – 577.706
  • Trafficking Drugs – First Degree – 579.065
  • Trafficking Drugs – Second Degree (A, B Felony only) – 579.068

If your offenses is not included in the above list, then the following minimum time served provisions do not apply. If your present offense is included in this list, then the minimum terms of imprisonment before parole are as follows:

  • 1 Prior Commitment: Must serve minimum of 40% of sentence
  • 2 Prior Commitments: Must serve minimum of 50% of sentence
  • 3 Prior Commitments: Must serve minimum of 80% of sentence
  • Dangerous Felony: Must serve minimum 85% of sentence

Sentencing Alternatives

It is important to consult with an attorney to determine whether you may be eligible for an alternative to imprisonment or fines. Courts often have wide discretion to grant probation in lieu of prison time. Additionally, many courts in Missouri now include rehabilitative programs such as DWI court, drug court, and mental health court. Certain offenders may be eligible for such rehabilitative programs in lieu of a prison sentence. It is crucial to speak early and often with your attorney to determine whether such program is a possibility under the specific facts of your case.

Attorneys at Cline, Braddock & Basinger are ready to assist you. It is our hope that you find these materials useful. When you are ready contact our offices to schedule a free consultation.

Information provided on this page is for educational use only. Accessing this page does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship, and the information provided should not be regarded as legal advice. Laws of the State of Missouri are subject to change, and there is no warranty, express or implied, that the information included on this page is still accurate at the time of access. Please consult a licensed Attorney to discuss the specifics of any legal matter. Attorneys at Cline, Braddock & Basinger can be reached at (573) 443-6244

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