As of January 1, 2017, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri is punishable by a $500 fine but no jail time.
New Missouri Law Eliminates Jail Time For Possession of Small Amount of Marijuana by First-Time Offenders
According to Missouri’s new marijuana law, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana by a first-time offender (with no prior convictions for drug possession) is a Class D misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 but no possibility of jail time.
In the past, there was no separate misdemeanor class for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, so it was considered a Class A misdemeanor.
Pleading Guilty to Possession of 10 Grams or Less of Marijuana Will Show Up As a Drug Conviction On Your Criminal Record
Many people think this new Missouri law “decriminalizes” possession of a small amount of pot, but that’s not true. Others say getting charged with marijuana possession is now like getting a speeding ticket, but that’s also not true.
If you plead guilty to possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri, you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record. The only difference is that the new marijuana law eliminates the possibility of jail time for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana for first-time offenders.
You Can Be Arrested For Possession of 10 Grams or Less of Marijuana
Even though you can’t be sent to jail for possession of 10 grams or less of weed under Missouri’s new marijuana law if you are a first-time offender, you can still be arrested, and the record of that arrest will show up on your criminal record.
New Missouri Marijuana Law Applies to First-Time Offenders Only
If you are a first-time offender and you plead guilty to possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri, there is no possibility of jail time, but you can be fined up to $500 and you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record.
Keep in mind that having a drug conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, getting federal student loans for college, etc.
Higher Fine For Repeat Offenders Caught With 10 Grams or Less of Weed
The new Missouri marijuana law applies to first-time offenders only. If you have prior convictions, that means you are not a first-time offender, so if you are caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana, you will be charged with Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Fine Increases for Possession of More Than 10 Grams But Less Than 35 Grams of Marijuana in Missouri
The fine amount for possession of more than 10 grams but 35 grams or less of marijuana has increased. The previous law allowed a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine for possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana. The new law increases the fine to $2,000 but the maximum potential jail time remains 1 year.
Hire an Attorney To Get Your Marijuana Charges Dismissed or Reduced to a Lesser Offense
If you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you, it’s very likely they can get your marijuana case dismissed or amended to a lesser offense. The outcome of your case depends on several things:
- How old are you?
- Do you have any prior convictions?
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
- Were you polite and respectful to the police officer?
- Does your attorney have experience handling marijuana cases?
No matter what, don’t just plead guilty to possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana in Missouri. It may seem like a minor offense, but it’s not. An experienced attorney can help keep this off your permanent criminal record.
For information about how to avoid getting charged with marijuana possession, see my previous post “Best & Worst Places to Smoke Weed in Missouri.”
Call St. Louis marijuana attorney Andrea Storey Rogers if you want to get your marijuana charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. Call Andrea at (314) 724-5059 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation and a price quote for legal representation.
If you complete the Missouri Driver Improvement Program traffic school within 60 days of pleading guilty to a speeding ticket, the points associated with that ticket will be removed from your driving record.
What is the Missouri Driver Improvement Program (DIP)?
The Missouri Driver Improvement Program (DIP) is traffic school that you can take to remove points from your driving record. Here are a few important facts about the Missouri DIP class:
- You must take the Missouri DIP class within 60 days after you plead guilty to a speeding ticket.
- If you have taken the Missouri DIP class within the past 3 years, you are not eligible.
- You must get the court’s approval before taking the DIP class.
- You must fax proof of completion of the DIP class to the Missouri Dept. of Revenue.
Many courts automatically give defendants their approval to take the DIP driving school, but some courts require you to go to court and ask the judge for permission. If you don’t want to go to court yourself, you can hire an attorney to go to court for you and ask for permission to take the DIP class.
If you don’t have the court’s approval to take the Missouri DIP class, the Missouri Dept. of Revenue will not accept your proof of completion of the class.
Take the DIP Traffic School if You Can’t Get Your Ticket Reduced to a Non-Moving Violation
The courts in most Missouri counties allow speeding tickets to be reduced to non-moving, no-point violations in exchange for paying a higher fine plus court costs. In those counties, drivers can hire a traffic ticket lawyer to get their speeding ticket amended to “Illegal Parking” or some other non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect their driving record or insurance rates.
Unfortunately, some courts in Missouri refuse to reduce speeding tickets to non-moving violations. In that case, the driver’s only option is to either hire a traffic law attorney to negotiate a plea bargain deal that includes probation, or just plead guilty on your own without an attorney representing you.
If you decide to plead guilty to a Missouri speeding ticket, points will be added to your driving record and your car insurance rates may increase. The DIP program allows drivers to get the points removed from their driving record after pleading guilty.
The Missouri DIP Driver Improvement Program Will Not Keep the Ticket Off Your Driving Record
PLEASE NOTE: If you take the Missouri DIP driving school class, points will be removed from your driving record. However, taking the DIP class does not prevent the ticket from showing up on your driving record and possibly causing your car insurance rates to increase.
Therefore, if at all possible, I strongly recommend hiring a traffic ticket lawyer to get your ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect your driving record or car insurance rates.
Speeding Tickets Cause Points to be Added to Your Driving Record
In Missouri (and many other states), points are added to your driving record when you plead guilty or are convicted of a traffic violation, such as speeding, driving without insurance, driving without a license, driving while suspended, leaving the scene of an accident, careless & imprudent driving, running a stop sign, etc.
Most standard speeding tickets issued by Missouri municipal police officers are 2-point tickets, and most speeding tickets issued by Missouri State Highway Patrol officers are 3-point tickets.
If you accumulate 8 points within 18 months, your Missouri driver’s license will be suspended. Your license will be revoked for 1 year if you accumulate 12 points within 12 months.
Speeding Tickets Can Cause Your Car Insurance Rates to Increase
It is common knowledge that a speeding ticket conviction on your driving record can cause your car insurance rates to increase.
If you are having a hard time deciding whether to hire a traffic law attorney to represent you or just plead guilty, you can call your insurance agent and ask how much your car insurance rates will increase if you plead guilty to the speeding ticket. Then you can compare that amount with the price of hiring a traffic ticket lawyer to get your ticket “fixed” (reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation).
How to Withdraw Your Guilty Plea
In many cases, you can change your mind after pleading guilty to a traffic ticket or other criminal offense.
If you did not have an attorney representing you, and not much time has passed since you pleaded guilty, you may be able to withdraw your plea and get the ticket reduced to a non-moving violation, or get the criminal charge reduced to a lesser offense.
Consult an attorney to get an estimate of the probable outcome of your case.
For more information about the Missouri Driver Improvement Program, read my previous blog post “DIP Class Won’t Keep Tickets Off Driving Record.”
To get your Missouri speeding ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect your driving record or insurance rates, call St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a price quote and estimate of your fine and court costs. Or email Andrea at email@example.com
If you get caught shoplifting items worth under $500 in Missouri, the potential punishment is 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you hire an experienced attorney to represent you, it is very likely that your shoplifting charge will be dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, such as “Littering.”
Will You Go to Jail For Shoplifting in Missouri?
As noted above, the judge has the power to send you to jail for up to 1 year for misdemeanor stealing (under $500). However, if you have no prior convictions for stealing, theft, petty larceny, or shoplifting and you have an attorney representing you, there is very little chance you will go to jail.
How Can an Attorney Help With Your Shoplifting Case?
In most Missouri municipal courts, an experienced attorney can negotiate a plea bargain deal with the Prosecuting Attorney so that a misdemeanor shoplifting charge is either:
- Dismissed completely,
- Reduced to a lesser offense, such as “Littering,” or
- Dismissed after a period of probation
In a typical shoplifting case in a Missouri municipal court in which the defendant has hired an attorney to work out a deal with the Prosecutor, the defendant will very likely be required to do one or all of the following:
- Pay a fine
- Pay court costs
- Complete the “Theft Offender” class
- Do a few hours of community service
- Serve a period of 1 to 2 years on probation
PLEASE NOTE: In some courts in Missouri, the Prosecutor will not dismiss or reduce shoplifting charges, even if the defendant has no prior convictions.
How Much Are the Fines & Court Costs You Pay to the Court For a Shoplifting Case?
The amount of the fine you will pay for shoplifting could be anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on which court your case is in, your criminal history, and other details of your case. The amount of the court costs vary by court and can range from $25 to $65.
The “Theft Offender” class that the court will require a shoplifter to attend can be completed in one day and usually costs around $50 to $75.
The community service hours can usually be completed at any non-profit charitable organization, and the court usually gives defendants 2-3 months to complete the hours. The number of community service hours usually range from 10 to 25 hours, depending on the court and the details of your case.
Probation periods range from 6 months to 2 years, and can be either court-supervised or unsupervised “bench” probation.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney For Your Shoplifting Case?
Most criminal defense attorneys charge a one-time flat-fee price to represent a defendant charged with misdemeanor (under $500) shoplifting, stealing, theft, or petty larceny. The amount the attorney charges depends on the following:
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in? (Court name & address are listed on your ticket or summons.)
- Do you have any prior convictions on your criminal record?
- How old are you?
- What did you steal?
- What was the value of the items you stole?
- Were the items you stole returned to the store undamaged?
- Were you polite and respectful to the police officer?
What Will Happen If You Plead Guilty to Shoplifting With No Attorney Representing You?
Most attorneys advise defendants to not go to court without a lawyer or plead guilty to a charge of shoplifting, stealing, theft, or petty larceny in Missouri.
It will cost you less money up front if you plead guilty to shoplifting without having an attorney representing you. But in the long run it will cost you much more because having a shoplifting conviction on your permanent criminal record will prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or obtaining a loan.
For more information about fighting a shoplifting/stealing charge in Missouri, read my previous blog post “What is the Punishment for Shoplifting/Stealing in Missouri?”
If you have been charged with shoplifting, stealing, petty larceny, or petty theft in Missouri, call St. Louis Shoplifting Lawyer Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a price quote for legal representation.
Get your warrant cancelled for $10 at the 2016 St. Louis warrant amnesty event on August 6, 11 & 13, 2016 at St. Louis Community College.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Warrant Lifted at the Warrant Amnesty Event?
For a $10 fee, people with outstanding warrants for old traffic tickets, misdemeanors, and child support cases can get their warrants lifted and obtain a new court date.
When is the 2016 St. Louis Amnesty Event?
The warrant amnesty program is sponsored by St. Louis Community College and Better Family Life. The warrant amnesty event will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the following dates:
St. Louis Community College – Meramec Campus – Saturday, August 6, 2016
St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley Campus – Thursday, August 11, 2016
St. Louis Community College – Forest Park Campus – Saturday, August 13, 2016
Warrant Amnesty Lifts Your Warrant But Does Not Dismiss the Charges
The warrant amnesty program does not dismiss your tickets, misdemeanor charges, or child support cases, but it does allow you to get your warrant cancelled and obtain a new court date. At that point, you can either hire an attorney to represent you in court or go to court on your own and represent yourself.
If you were making payments on outstanding ticket fines and missed a payment, resulting in a warrant being issued, this warrant amnesty program will allow you to pay $10 to get your warrant lifted. Then you can go to court and ask the judge to put your case back on the payment docket so you can continue to make payments for the unpaid fines.
Not All St. Louis Courts Are Participating in the 2016 Warrant Amnesty
Before attending the warrant amnesty event, you should call the court that issued your warrant to confirm that they are participating in the warrant amnesty, since not all courts in the St. Louis area are taking part in this amnesty event.
Click here to read a recent news article about the St. Louis warrant amnesty program.
For more information about the 2016 St. Louis Warrant Amnesty Program, you can contact Better Family Life (314) 367-3440.
If you have a warrant in a Missouri court that is not participating in the 2016 St. Louis warrant amnesty event, you can call St. Louis attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a price quote to get your warrant lifted and get legal representation for your case. Or email her at email@example.com
Possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana in Illinois is now punishable by just a citation and a fine of $100 to $200, but no jail time.
Penalty for Possession of Marijuana in Illinois
In the past, possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana in Illinois was a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,500 and up to 6 months in jail.
Expungement of Illinois Marijuana Possession Tickets
If you plead guilty to an Illinois pot possession ticket, you will have a drug-related conviction on your criminal record, which can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, and obtaining federal student loans for college.
However, Illinois will automatically expunge pot possession tickets twice a year, on January 1st and again on July 1st.
New Illinois Marijuana Law Reduces Possibility of Getting DUI After Smoking Weed
In the past, if you were caught driving in Illinois with even a trace of marijuana in your blood, you could be charged with a DUI, regardless of whether or not your driving skills were impaired.
Under the new Illinois law, if you are caught driving while under the influence of marijuana, police won’t charge you with a DUI unless 5 nanograms or more of THC in your blood (or 10 nanograms or more in your saliva) is detected.
Illinois Municipalities Can Increase the Penalty for Marijuana Possession
Cities and towns throughout Illinois can increase the fine amounts for marijuana possession, or they can add additional penalties, such as a requirement that defendants complete a drug education class in addition to paying the fine.
For more information, click here to read a recent Chicago Tribune article about the new Illinois marijuana law.
If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in MISSOURI and would like to get the charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, call MISSOURI marijuana attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.