Some Missouri Prosecutors Decline to Prosecute Most Marijuana Offenses

Missouri joined a majority of other states in legalizing medical marijuana last fall. Although the recreational use of marijuana continues to remain illegal in the state of Missouri and under federal law, residents of some large cities and counties who smoke marijuana may no longer have to worry about being prosecuted for it. In recent months, prosecutors in the city of St. Louis, Jackson County, and St. Louis County all have announced that they no longer will prosecute most low-level marijuana possession cases. Prosecutors have adopted similar policies in various cities and counties nationwide, including in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The St. Louis County prosecutor has declined to charge people who possess less than 100 grams of marijuana. The amount of marijuana that a person possesses is typically indicative of whether the person has the drug for his or her personal usage or whether the persons intends to sell or distribute it. In making the policy change, this prosecutor also removed a positive test for marijuana as an independent grounds for a violation of probation, recalled warrants related to failure to appear in court on marijuana possession matters, and instructed associate prosecutors to abandon currently pending marijuana possession cases, even those in which prosecutors already had reached a plea bargain.

Generally, the only exceptions to these policies are for individuals who are selling or distributing marijuana, or for those accused of driving while impaired by marijuana. The move is expected to leave overburdened prosecutors free to focus on serious and violent crimes that threaten the safety of Missouri residents. For residents in these areas, they will receive referrals to treatment if needed, and avoid losing their jobs due to incarceration on a marijuana possession charge. Nonetheless, some Missouri lawmakers have been critical of the move, stating that it is for the legislature to make laws and prosecutors to enforce them, rather than prosecutors simply choosing to not prosecute some laws. The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center is dedicated to offering you client-focused legal representation and advice throughout your criminal proceedings. When you need help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, at (816) 322-8008 or fill out the online information form located here.

New Study Names Missouri Third-Worst State for Driver Safety Laws

According to a recent article in the Insurance Journal, the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety has released a new report ranking the states based on how many of them have passed 16 key safety laws that they have identified. The state of Missouri has landed near the bottom of their list, as the third worst state in terms of having driver safety laws on the books.

Missouri currently has only four of the 16 recommended safety laws in place. South Dakota was last on the list, with only two such laws in place, and Rhode Island topped the list with 12 laws in place.

Missouri does not currently have laws addressing some of the following driver safety concerns, including primary seat belt enforcement, laws on child car seats, open container laws, and a complete ban on texting while driving. These are the main areas that earned the state a low score in the recent report.

The report also estimated Missouri’s annual economic losses from motor vehicle crashes to be over $5.5 billion. State transportation officials again reported over 900 fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2018.

Despite prior failed attempts to the legislation, state lawmakers recently have introduced bills for this legislative session prohibiting usage of hand-held wireless devices by all drivers and banning cell phone use in school zones. Missouri’s current law only bans texting for drivers who are under the age of 21 and drivers of commercial motor vehicles. It remains one of a very few states that have not passed a full ban on texting and driving. Some municipalities in Missouri, however, have enacted city ordinances that ban texting while driving for all age groups. At Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, we pride ourselves on helping our clients with personal injury claims resulting from all types of accidents, as well as with their legal difficulties related to traffic violations, DWI, general criminal offenses, and expungement of criminal records. Call our office today at (816) 322-8008 and learn what we can do to help.

What Are Some Common Types of Cybercrime?

As technology has exploded in recent years, so has criminal activity utilizing the Internet and other electronic modes of communication. This has led to both state and federal laws prohibiting cybercrimes or crimes that involve email, cell phones, text messages, social media messaging, websites, and similar means to carry out crimes. Depending on the type of crime involved, the consequences for a cybercrimes conviction can be severe.

One common type of cybercrime is computer hacking, usually to commit identity theft or other Internet-related offenses in order to get credit, loans, or other financial benefits. In many situation, federal courts take jurisdiction over cybercrimes, based on the theory that the activity occurs across state lines. Nonetheless, there are state laws that also address these types of crimes, as well.

There also has been in increase in cyberstalking crimes, in which individuals use the Internet and electronic communication devices in order to harass, threaten, and otherwise invade the privacy of others. Cyberbullying is an outgrowth of cyberstalking; school districts have adopted anti-bullying policies that often specifically address cyberbullying as a method of bullying. Plus, the state of Missouri has a separate cyberbullying statute in place, like many other states.

Other common type of cybercrime involves child pornography. Federal and state laws both make it illegal to possess digital images of child pornography or distribute, publish, sell, share, or otherwise make these images available online. Cybercrimes also involve other crimes against children, such as human trafficking, child exploitation, enticement of children, and terroristic threats, such as plots to commit violent acts at schools. The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center has the reputation and skills that you want and need when defending yourself against criminal charges related to DWI, cybercrimes, traffic violations, and other matters. Our goal is to assist you in building the strongest defense available in your case. We also can assist you with the expungement process, which can help improve your future by sealing your previous criminal records. Do not hesitate to contact Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, at (816) 322-8008 or fill out the online information form located here.