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Missouri Sentencing Laws

The following references are made to statutes that define either the sentence disposition, the range within which an authorized sentence can be set or the incarceration time. The Revised Missouri Statutes are available online. Reference also can be made to the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole booklet about Procedures Governing the Granting of Paroles and Conditional Release.

Authorized dispositions for felony convictions include a term of imprisonment, a fine (if the offense is a Class C or D felony, Section 560.111, RSMo) and a period of probation. In addition, the execution of the sentence may be suspended and the person placed on probation or the imposition of the sentence may be suspended, with or without placing the person on probation (Section 557.011, RSMo).

The Missouri statutes have provisions for enhanced sentencing when an offender is deemed to be a prior and persistent recidivist, and for a minimum prison time when the offender is deemed to be a recidivist or has been convicted of a dangerous felony. Unless specifically excluded by statute, felony convictions can be sentenced to either probation or to a prison sentence (Section 559.012, RSMo). In Missouri, a probation term is often accompanied with a suspended prison sentence. When probation is revoked, the prison sentence can be imposed or the offender can be sentenced under the 120-day statutes.

Recidivists
The recommended sentence for an offender sentenced as a persistent offender (Section 558.016, RSMo) is the recommended sentence for the same offense group one or two felony class higher than the statutory defined felony class. The same offense group and level of severity applies. If the offense is Class A then the offense severity is increased by one level, unless the offense is High severity. The offense group DWI has recommended sentences for persistent offenders because there are no Class C DWI offenses upon which to calculate average sentences.

Attempt, Accessory or Conspiracy to Commit an Offense (inchoate)
Offenders convicted of the attempt or conspiracy are sentenced in accordance with Sections 564.011 and 564.016, RSMo. The exception is when the attempt to commit a crime is specified by statute to be sentenced at the same as the commission of the offense. The sentencing recommendations include sentences at one felony class lower than the commitment of the offense for the same offense group and level of severity.

Sentencing Statutes

Section 558.011, RSMo. Authorized terms of imprisonment including conditional release:
Felony Class A 10 to 30 years or life
Felony Class B 5 to 15 years
Felony Class C Not to exceed 7 years
Felony Class D Not to exceed 4 years

The probation term for a felony conviction is from one to five years (Section 559.016, RSMo).

In cases of Class C and D felonies, the court shall have discretion to imprison for a special term not to exceed one year in the county jail or other authorized penal institution. If the court imposes a sentence of imprisonment for a term longer than one year upon a person convicted of a Class C or D felony, it shall commit the person to the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term of years not less than two years and not exceeding the maximum authorized term.

Section 558.016, RSMo. Extended Terms for Persistent Offenders (guilty of two or more felonies committed at different times) and dangerous offenders (guilty of a prior Class A or B felony and knowingly murdered or endangered the life or inflicted serious physical injury on another person):

Class A felony: any sentence authorized for a Class A felony
Class B felony: any sentence authorized for a Class A felony
Class C felony: any sentence authorized for a Class B felony
Class D felony: any sentence authorized for a Class C felony

Prior offender pursuant to Section 588.016 is an aggravating factor in sentencing but is not an enhanced sentence.

Section 558.018, RSMo. Persistent Sexual Offender. A person guilty of forcible rape, statutory rape 1st degree, forcible sodomy, statutory sodomy 1st, or an attempt of any of the designated offenses shall be sentenced to life without probation or parole if the defendant has a prior finding of guilt for forcible rape, rape, statutory rape 1st degree, forcible sodomy, sodomy, or statutory sodomy 1st degree.

Section 558.018, RSMo. Predatory Sexual Offender. A person guilty of forcible rape, statutory rape 1st degree, forcible sodomy, statutory sodomy 1st or an attempt of any of the above designated offenses or child molestation 1st degree, Class A felony or sexual abuse, Class B and (1) who has a prior finding of guilt of one of the designated offenses or (2) has committed such an offense whether or not there was a conviction or (3) has committed the acts against multiple victims whether or not the defendant was charged is so designated. A predatory sex offender shall be sentenced for life with eligibility for parole. The sentence shall not be discharged.  The minimum prison term, to be set by the courts, is 30 years, except when the defendant has previously pleaded guilty to child molestation 1st or sexual abuse when the minimum prison term is 15 years. Defendants without a prior finding of guilt for the designated offenses shall serve any authorized sentence if the defendant had not been sentenced as a predatory sexual offender.

Section 558.019, RSMo. Minimum Prison Terms for persons with prior prison commitments by the Department of Corrections {excluding regimented discipline (Section 217.378, RSMo), 120-day programs (Section 559.115, RSMo) or the long-term drug program (Section 217.362, RSMo)} and serving a sentence other than in Chapter 195, RSMo (drug offenses) are:

• One prior commitment ? 40% of sentence (or until the age of 70 with 30% of the sentence served);
• Two prior commitments ? 50% of sentence (or until the age of 70 with 40% of the sentence served);
• Three or more prior commitments ? 80% of sentence (or until the age of 70 with 40% of the sentence served);
• Guilty of a dangerous felony ? 85% of sentence.

In addition, there are enhanced sentences and minimum prison terms for persistent and predatory sexual offenders (Section 558.018, RSMo), prior and persistent domestic violence offenders (Section 565.063, RSMo) and prior and persistent drug offenders (Sections 195.285 to 195.296, RSMo).

Parole Restrictions
Armed Criminal Action (Section 571.015, RSMo). For the first conviction, the minimum period is three years; for a second conviction, the minimum period is five years and for the third conviction, the minimum period is ten years.
Aggravated and Chronic DWI Offenders (Section 577.023, RSMo). Aggravated offenders must serve at least 60 days and chronic offenders at least two years before probation or parole.
Capital Murder (Section 565.001, RSMo). The minimum term is 50 years.
Enticement of a Child less than 15 (Section 566.151, RSMo). Requires offenders to serve five years before parole.
Failure to register as a sex offender, 3rd offense (Section 589.425, RSMo).  Offenders must serve two years before probation or parole.
Forcible Rape (Section 566.030, RSMo) and Forcible Sodomy (Section 566.060, RSMo).  When the victim is under 12 the offenders must serve 30 years before parole.
High School Diploma/GED (Section 217.690, RSMo). The Board shall not order a parole unless the offender has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent unless the offender has made a good-faith effort.
Involuntary Manslaughter in the first degree (Section 565.024, RSMo) requires 85% of sentence to be served before parole.
Pharmacy Robbery in the first degree (Section 569.025, RSMo). The minimum period is 10 years.
Pharmacy Robbery in the second degree (Section 569.03,5 RSMo). The minimum period is five years.
Prior or Persistent Domestic Violence Offender (Section 565.063, RSMo) shall serve a minimum of six months before probation or parole.
Sexual Trafficking of a child less than 12 (Section 566.213, RSMo) requires offenders to serve 25 years before parole.
Sex offenses (Section 589.040, RSMo). Offenders imprisoned for sex offenses shall complete the Missouri Sex Offender Program before release to parole.
Discharge a Firearm (Section 558.016, RSMo). Prior offenders shall serve at least ten years (Section 571.030, RSMo).

Non-Parole Offenses
Child Molestation in the first degree when the victim is under 12 and there was serious physical violence or the offender was a repeat sex offender (Section 566.067, RSMo).
Domestic Assault in the first degree persistent domestic violence offender (Section 565.072, RSMo).
Drug Trafficking Offenses (Sections 195.222, 195.223, 195.291, 195.292, 195.295, 195.296, RSMo).
Murder First Degree (Section 565.020, RSMo).
Persistent Sexual Offender (Section.558.018, RSMo).
Tampering with Victim/ Witness (Section 575.270, RSMo).
Discharge a Firearm (Section 558.016, RSMo).
Persistent offenders are not eligible for probation, parole or conditional release (Section 571.030, RSMo).  

Dangerous Felonies (Section 556.061, RSMo)
The list of offenses defined as dangerous felonies on June 30, 2009, are:

• Forcible Rape
• Forcible Sodomy
• Robbery 1st
• Murder 2nd
• Kidnapping
• Child Kidnapping
• Parental Kidnapping by detain/conceal childs whereabouts of >119 days
• Arson 1st
• Assault 1st
• Attempted Forcible Rape with physical injury
• Attempted Forcible Sodomy with physical injury
• Assault of a Law Officer 1st
• Domestic Assault 1st
• Elder Abuse 1st
• Statutory Rape when the victim was less than 12
• Statutory Sodomy when the victim was less than 12
• Abuse of a child if the offense results in the death of the child

Alternative Sentences
The expression "SHK/TRT" in the sentencing grids means any shock time, assessment or treatment, 120-day or long-term drug program as specified in statute (Sections 559.115, 217.362, 217.785, RSMo).

Eligibility for Shock or Treatment Programs (Section 559.115.8, RSMo)
Excluded are persons who have been convicted of:

• Murder in the second degree pursuant to Section 565.021, RSMo.
• Forcible rape pursuant to Section 566.030, RSMo.
• Forcible sodomy pursuant to Section 566.060, RSMo.
• Statutory rape in the first degree pursuant to Section 566.032, RSMo.
• Statutory sodomy in the first degree pursuant to Section 566.062, RSMo.
• Child molestation in the first degree pursuant to Section 566.067, RSMo, when classified as a Class A felony.
• Abuse of a child pursuant to Section 568.060, RSMo, when classified as a Class A felony.
• An offender who has been found to be a predatory sexual offender pursuant to Section 558.018, RSMo.
• Or any offense in which there exists a statutory prohibition against either probation or parole.

If the recommended sentence is an institutional shock or treatment program and the offender is ineligible or the offender has already been placed in a similar program within the last three years, then the recommended sentence shall be either a longer or a more intensive treatment program or a prison sentence. The recommended term sentence will normally be the minimum authorized sentence.

Time Limitations (Section 556.036, RSMo)
1. A prosecution for murder, forcible rape, attempted forcible rape, forcible sodomy, attempted forcible sodomy, or any class A felony may be commenced at any time.
2. Except as otherwise provided in this section, prosecutions for other felony offenses must be commenced within three years.

Time limitations for prosecutions for sexual offenses involving a person under eighteen (Section 556.037, RSMo): Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 556.036, prosecutions for unlawful sexual offenses involving a person 18 years of age or under must be commenced within 20 years after the victim reaches the age of 18 unless the prosecutions are for forcible rape, attempted forcible rape, forcible sodomy, kidnapping, or attempted forcible sodomy in which case such prosecutions may be commenced at any time.

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