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Kansas City Criminal Defense Law Blog

Weapons charges: What you need to know

Many people do not realize the devastating effect being charged with a weapons crime can have on their futures, but at Kelly, Symonds & Reed, we know what's at stake and put all of our resources toward helping you fight the charges you are facing. We are familiar with the laws governing weapons offenses, as well as the possible penalties in the case of a conviction, and work hard to help you understand all of your options.

While more people may be familiar with the charges of use of a weapon while committing a crime or brandishing or discharging a firearm, there are actually many different types of weapons charges to be aware of. These charges can involve not only guns but also other items classified as weapons, such as brass knuckles and knives.

Wedding party assault added to Kansas City man's murder charge

Being arrested isn't the same as being found guilty of committing a crime. However, arrests are kept on record no matter how a criminal case turns out.

A Kansas City man was arrested, charged with murder for a 2012 shooting in a Jackson County home and was later released when authorities failed to collect sufficient evidence to prosecute him. The 31-year-old man was later charged with the alleged shooting murder of an Independence man, who burned body was found in a Cass County field in November.

Why did the officer pull me over?

Police officers are trained on what to look for when deciding whether to pull you over for suspected drunk driving, and understanding why the officer stopped you can help you be better prepared to make decisions about your defense strategy. Officers usually suspect a driver of operating under the influence based on observations while the vehicle is moving.

Reckless driving is one indicator of an impaired driver, as alcohol and other substances can alter your ability to make good decisions while driving. Drivers may speed up or slow down quickly or without apparent reason, drive to close to the car in front of them or turn without signaling or slowing down. In extreme cases, the driver may even be driving on the wrong side of the road.

Statutory rape and what it means

Statutory rape is arguably one of the most misunderstood charges in the sex crimes category, but it's important for those charged to understand exactly what the laws say and the possible penalties.

According to Missouri law, statutory rape charges can come into play if someone engages in sexual intercourse with another party who is under 14. Depending on the circumstances, the defendant may be charged with first-degree statutory rape, which is a felony charge. The penalties for a conviction of this charge range from 5 years to life in prison, depending on how many people were involved, whether there were any weapons used and if the other party was younger than 12.

A DUI conviction will change your life

There is only one way to guarantee you are never pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving in Missouri: never get behind the wheel if you have consumed an alcoholic beverage.

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you can expect an automatic license suspension, a fine, a permanent mark on your record and potential jail time.

A breakdown of arrests for drug charges

A quick look at the amount of people who are in jail in Missouri shows that many have been incarcerated for drug crimes, but the FBI also keeps track of arrest statistics. It can be interesting to look at the overall total and then to note the percentage of arrests made in relation to drugs.

First of all, the data from 2012 shows that 12,196,959 people were arrested across the United States. Some of the highlights included drug abuse cases, which resulted in approximately 1,552,432 arrests, and for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which resulted in approximately 1,282,957 arrests.

What happens if I'm convicted of a DUI?

In the state of Missouri, what happens when a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol depends on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Whether it is the driver's first offense and the blood-alcohol level can make a difference in what penalties are applied.

If it is your first DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for 90 days. If the DUI was while driving a commercial vehicle, the penalties are increased. In this case, a blood-alcohol level of higher than .039 percent means the driver will have two points on his driver's license and be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for a year. It may be possible for some first-time, noncommercial offenders to be awarded some driving ability under the Restricted Driving Privilege program, but this is not a guarantee.

I've been charged with assault. What now?

Whether you are at a concert with friends or at a bar relaxing after work, a disagreement can escalate quickly and turn physical. Unfortunately, that one lapse in judgment can affect the rest of your life, and while nothing can be done to turn back time and make different decisions, it is possible to present a solid defense to charges of violent crimes and make the best out of a difficult situation.

The category of violent crimes can include many different charges from simple assault to murder. The exact charges will depend on the events before, during and after the incident as well as physical evidence present — such as visual indications of an assault — and witness statements.

Teenagers and sexting

While many parents may not want to think about their teens taking or sending sexually explicit photos from their cellphones, the reality is that it does happen. If the person is underage, however, this behavior can be deemed a sex crime and come with lifelong consequences, including being labeled as a sex offender for life.

A survey of 1,280 teenagers and young adults by the American National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that one in five teenagers admitted to sending nude or semi-nude pictures. While most of those who admitted to sending the pictures said they sent them to a boyfriend or girlfriend, 39 percent of boys and 21 percent of girls ages 13 to 19 said they sent the pictures to people they were interested in "hooking up" with.

Fully understanding a drug case in Missouri

If you are facing drug charges in Missouri, it is very important to understand every aspect of the case. While some of this may seem rather straightforward, no detail is too small to ignore.

First, you need to know exactly what the charges against you look like. All cases are not the same -- not by any means -- and the charges can change depending on what type of drug you had, how much of it you had and what you intended to do with it.

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