Long-anticipated sweeping changes and updates to the Missouri Criminal Code recently went into effect on Jan. 1, marking the culmination of 10 years of vetting and careful legislative planning. The updated code has been the point of both contention and cooperation across many sectors of the criminal justice system, hopefully in the spirit of creating a more just system in Missouri. How well justice will be granted is still to be seen.
Much of the new legal architecture focuses on creating a more granular approach to charges and sentencing. The range of charges has been increased up to five felony classes, while other areas of the law provide more nuanced ways of defining charges, while attempting to eliminate redundant or unnecessarily harsh crime definitions and recommended remedies. Under the new laws, defendants will face more incremental increases in sentencing for a variety of crimes and instances of repeated crimes.