Being accused of committing a crime in Cass County, Missouri, can be scary for anyone, but especially if it is your first offense. If convicted, it may not only mean potential jail or prison time but steep fines and other penalties, like community service or mandatory treatment classes. It also means you end up with a criminal record.
For some of you, you may later be eligible for expungement or sealing of the record, in which case no one – for the most part – will know about the conviction. For others of you, you will not be eligible. Ineligibility means a permanent record, and a permanent criminal record means longstanding collateral consequences well after you paid your debt to society. These consequences are things like:
- Difficulty obtaining a job due to background checks;
- Difficulty maintaining or obtaining a professional license (e.g., medical, nursing, pilot, real estate, CPA, teaching);
- Difficulty obtaining loans (e.g., educational, personal, mortgage loans);
- Difficulty securing housing; and, among other consequences,
- Child custody problems.
Further, if you are convicted of a felony, you can lose your right to vote or your right to own and use a firearm.
As you see, a conviction of a crime means more than the penalties doled out by a sentencing judge. It means a negative impact on the quality of your life outside the penalties. This is why it is so important to fight any criminal charge.
At The Joshua Wilson Law Firm, we are committed to your defense. We understand what a conviction can do to a person. Guilty or not, we defend you so you have a fighting chance for a second chance. Contact Cass County criminal defense attorney Joshua Wilson today to learn more.
What criminal cases do we take in Cass County, Missouri?
At The Joshua Wilson Law Firm, we help our clients with traffic violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. Some of the most common cases we take are below-listed, but we have the knowledge and resources to help with other crimes not listed. Call our office for a free initial consultation, and we will review your case and provide you with your options.
Missouri Traffic Violations
Traffic violations may seem minor and unnecessary to contact an attorney to defend you before a judge. But if you do not want the point to add up on your record, it can be beneficial to have a traffic lawyer represent you. Here's a list of traffic violations we cover:
- Aggravated Endanger Highway Worker
- Aggravated Endanger Emergency Respond
- Assist/Obtain License by Misrepresentation
- Excessive Speeding
- Failure to Produce Insurance ID
- Failure to Reveal ID
- Failure to Stop & Render Aid
- No Driver License
- Aggressive Driving
- Disobey Traffic Officer
- Violation of Restricted License
- Violation of Ignition Interlock
- Present Another's License as Own
- Wrong Direction--Divided Street
- Wrong Direction--One Way Street
- Increased Speed when Passed
All of the above and more can be serious traffic violations. Some can even be accompanied by a criminal charge -- either a misdemeanor or felony.
Missouri Misdemeanor Crimes
Misdemeanor crimes in Missouri are less serious than felonies but all the same serious to you and your future. The first misdemeanor on your record sets the stage for enhanced penalties if you are charged and convicted of another crime in the future. Getting the charge dismissed or reduced is your best option. Here are examples of misdemeanor crimes we cover:
- Possession of marijuana
- False imprisonment
- Assault in the fourth degree
- Domestic assault in the third or fourth degree and is a first offense
- Shoplifting (value of less than $500)
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) (first and second convictions)
- First-degree trespassing
- Harassment in the second degree
- Kidnapping in the third degree
- Interference with custody
- Stalking in the second degree for a first offense
- Sexual misconduct
- Sexual abuse in the second degree
- Arson in the third degree
- Passing a bad check
- Fraudulent use of a credit/debit device
- Identity theft or attempt.
Many of these crimes can also be felonies, depending on the degree of the offense or the number of times convicted.
Missouri Felony Crimes
Felony crimes are the most serious crimes in Missouri. If convicted, prison time and fines will be much steeper than a conviction of a misdemeanor. It also means you could lose voting rights and firearm rights. At The Joshua Wilson Law Firm, some examples of felonies we represent include:
- Assault in the first degree
- Domestic Assault in the first degree
- Kidnapping in the first degree
- Arson in the first degree
- Robbery in the first degree
- DWI - habitual - second or subsequent violation
- DWI causing death
- Boating while intoxicated (BWI) - habitual - second or subsequent violation
- BWI causing death
- Distribution of a controlled substance
- Manufacture of a controlled substance
- Trafficking drugs.
Should you plead guilty or not guilty in Cass County, Missouri?
Many people after being charged with a crime get scared and think they'll lose their case, that the odds are against them. As such, they think they should just go ahead and plead guilty at the arraignment with the logic that the sooner they plead guilty, the sooner they get the matter done with. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case.
It may very well be true that the odds are stacked against you -- depending on the alleged crime and evidence -- but pleading guilty immediately means two things:
- You lose the ability to defend yourself; and
- You may end up with a harsher sentence than if you had fought the charges.
Admitting guilt immediately does not give you any kind of reduction in sentencing. In fact, as mentioned, it may be the other way around. The judge doesn't know you, doesn't know if there were any mitigating factors, doesn't know if you may actually have been innocent and that it was all just a big misunderstanding but for your fear of the system, you pleaded guilty.
It is always in your best interest to plead not guilty at the arraignment. Later, you may have an opportunity to accept a plea deal that works in your favor or you may qualify for programs like deferred disposition or diversion. But you may also be able to successfully defend yourself and get the charges dismissed before trial or get an acquittal at trial. It all depends on your unique situation and circumstances and the attorney you retain.
Who do you contact in Raymore, Missouri, for a smart, aggressive defense?
If you have been charged with a crime in Raymore, Missouri, or any of the surrounding areas, then you want to contact Joshua Wilson. He is committed to your defense. He is smart. He has the resources. And he knows the system. He will guide you through the process and inform you of all your options so you make decisions based on information and not fear. If you are worried about a criminal charge and about your future, contact The Joshua Wilson Law Firm today.