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St. Louis Criminal Defense Legal Blog

MO sex offender registration: it’s not just about abstract stats

Sex offender-linked numbers and statistics in Missouri can seem a bit muddied and impersonal, with human stories sometimes being muted (victims’ tales, of course, but sometimes those of convicted offenders as well) in lieu of an emphasis on reams of numerical data.

Missouri has always been a state where criminal law powers have come down hard on offenders, even in some instances where crimes were not even remotely linked with sexual conduct.

Missouri drug court bill heads to governor’s desk

It passed through the Missouri Senate recently with unanimous agreement. State legislators now want to see Gov. Mike Parson affix his signature to a new would-be law that seeks to expand Missouri’s already successful drug courts program. A media article spotlighting the seminal legislation states that the state’s chief executive “is expected to sign the bill any day now.”

Legions of criminal law reformers across the state will roundly endorse that development, given drug court proponents’ already enthusiastic embrace of a proven prison-alternative sentencing outcome for individuals with demonstrated drug problems.

Understanding the reasons teens commit crimes

Teenage crime is a reality you've been aware of since your child became a teenager, something you have always worried about. You understand that one mistake at such a young age can alter someone's life forever. It could make it impossible to go to school and start a productive career. You do not want to see your child's life plans derailed over one decision made on an evening during these turbulent years.

It may help to understand some of the reasons why teens turn to criminal activity. A few common themes include:

Spotlight on marijuana arrests, enforcement

Many people across Missouri can likely hold their breath for 48 seconds. That is also about the time it takes for a stellar athlete to turn in a competitive 400-meter time.

Notably, it is also a barometer for something a bit less obvious, yet nonetheless relevant. Reportedly, and as noted in a recent article citing FBI data, “There is now an average of one marijuana bust roughly every 48 seconds” somewhere in the United States.

Criminal history data subject of recent college application change

Just imagine the sinking feeling and even sheer anxiety you would experience as a Missouri parent upon seeing your child tick the “yes” box indicating a criminal history on a college application form.

You would hope for the best, but fear for the worst, wouldn’t you? Clearly, many hopeful applicants are routinely turned down by school officials who are negatively influenced by some past transgression.

Considerations relevant to white collar representation, sentencing

The complexities surrounding an incident in which a confirmed violent person sticks a gun in a bank teller’s face in front of a crowd and demands money might be, well, absent.

That certainty attached to behavior and a criminal offense is not similarly apparent concerning many so-called white collar crimes.

Did police even remotely have probable cause in this case?

A prosecutorial team might be wishing in hindsight that it never followed through with a criminal case that is now being held up to some ridicule in the national press. Although that matter relates to an Ohio traffic stop and drug arrest, we spotlight its main details here for Missouri readers to underscore instructive points it makes concerning the important criminal law principle of probable cause.

Here is its bottom line: They stopped the car because it was allegedly dirty.

Just imagine the fullest application of this search/seizure ruling

As an intelligent Missouri resident, would you be bothered by an apparent police ability to summarily enter an apartment complex with a pack of dogs and have them engage in warrantless drug-focused sniffs at every doorway?

We think we know our readers’ answer to that query.

New sex offender registry offers hope, not just harsh outcomes

Current Missouri law potentially provides for the outcome that both a rapist and a person charged with public urination while intoxicated be placed on the state’s Sex Offender Registry for life. The registry does not distinguish between such persons regarding the law’s onerous reporting requirements. Both of them have the same duty to visit a police station four times annually.

That will change tomorrow.

Is it self-defense if you accept a challenge to fight?

While out at a local sports bar, friction starts with another patron. It begins when he bumps into you on the way into the bar, and the two of you exchange a look. After a few drinks, you repay the favor. That leads to a verbal confrontation.

You know you will get thrown out of the bar for fighting. So, the other person challenges you to a fight, telling you to step outside. You're slightly drunk and riled up, so you accept the fight.

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