Every criminal charge must be taken seriously—even if you don’t have a prior record or you believe the situation is just a simple misunderstanding. Without a plan to proactively address the charges, you risk having your future jeopardized by fines, jail time, and the negative personal and professional consequences of a criminal record.
At Layton & Southard, we’ve seen firsthand what can happen when defendants simply hope for the best instead of actively building a defense. When you work with our criminal defense team, we’ll investigate all available options to develop the strongest possible defense and minimize any potential negative outcomes. Your future is at stake, and you can’t afford to settle for anything less than the best.
Cases We Handle
Our knowledgeable and experienced criminal trial attorneys are equipped to handle a wide range of misdemeanor and felony criminal charges within Missouri. For example:
- Speeding and traffic violations. In some cases, speeding and traffic violations are considered criminal offenses. Fighting the charge or negotiating a plea for a moving violation would prevent you from having a criminal record.
- DWI & DUI. Driving while intoxicated carries stiff penalties—especially if you are a minor, a commercial driver, or have a previous conviction on your record. However, these charges can sometimes be bargained down to a lesser, non-alcohol-related driving offense. This is referred to as a “wet reckless” plea.
- Other vehicular crimes. Driving is considered a privilege, not a right, under Missouri law. As such, drivers who fail to obey regulations can be charged with a wide range of vehicular crimes. This includes offenses such as driving without a valid license, hit and run, vehicular manslaughter, or careless and imprudent driving.
- Probation violations. Every probation comes with specific terms and conditions. Two of the most common probation violation offenses are being charged with a new crime or stopping contact with the assigned probation officer. One important thing to keep in mind for these offenses is that the criteria for conviction is not “proof beyond reasonable doubt” but only whether the Judge is reasonably convinced that the violation has been committed.
- Assault. There are four different potential assault charges under Missouri law. The most serious is assault in the first degree, which requires a person to attempt to kill or knowingly cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury to another person. This is a Class B felony but can become a Class A felony if it is defined as a special victim crime.
- Theft. Missouri law allows for a theft charge when property or services are taken without consent. It can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of what is taken and the circumstances of the crime.
- Robbery. While both theft and robbery involve taking property that is not yours, a robbery charge requires the use of force during the crime. Robbery is a Class B felony but can become a Class A felony if a deadly weapon is involved or the victim is seriously injured.
- Burglary. A burglary charge requires you to enter a building with the intention of committing a crime—even if you don’t successfully complete the crime once you are inside the building or commit a crime other than theft. It is generally a Class D felony but can be a Class B felony if someone is seriously injured or threatened.
- Drug crimes. Under Missouri law, even simple drug possession charges can be felony-level crimes. We handle a wide range of drug-related charges, including possession, possession with intent, distribution, illegal use of a prescription drug, and sale of a controlled substance.
- Violent crimes. Homicide, murder, rape, and sodomy are just a few of the many different violent crimes covered under Missouri law. These felonies can lead to substantial prison time, so it’s essential that you work with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
- Weapon charges. Missouri has some of the most permissive gun laws in the country. However, it’s a Class D felony to have a weapon in your possession if you are a felon or otherwise restricted from owning a gun, a Class E felony to give or sell a gun to someone who can’t legally own a firearm, and a Class A misdemeanor to give or sell a firearm to someone under 18 without parental consent or to a person of any age who is intoxicated. There are also broader federal prohibitions on gun possession that may apply beyond any state weapons charges.
- Domestic violence. Missouri law considers domestic assault any action that knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury to a member of your family or household. The offense most often involves a spouse or romantic partner, but could also involve actions taken against a former partner with whom you share a child or any person related to you by blood or marriage. Domestic violence charges may be accompanied by related charges for offenses such as stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, rape, sexual abuse, or elder abuse.
Contact Our Criminal Law Attorneys Today
From our Cape Girardeau and Perryville offices, the team at Layton & Southard serves clients throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Please contact us online or call our Cape Girardeau office directly at 573.335.3359 to schedule your initial consultation.