Last week the Supreme Court of Missouri handed down a ruling that affects many felony theft cases all over the state. The Supreme Court analyzed section 570.030 of the Missouri Criminal Code in State v. Bazell. In State v. Bazell, a woman was convicted of stealing a .40 caliber pistol, a .22 caliber rifle, a laptop, a suitcase, jewelry valued at $8,000 and two pairs of tennis shoes. The Supreme Court wrestled with the Missouri criminal code defining the definition of stealing. The issue in particular has to deal with two subparagraphs in the section defining criminal theft, RSMo 570.030. The first paragraph of the section, describes the definition of stealing in that “Stealing is appropriating ‘property or services of another with the purpose to deprive him or her thereof, either without his consent of by means of deceit or coercion’”. See RSMo 570.030.1. In 2002 the legislature adjusted the criminal code wherein RSMo 570.030.03 states that “any offense in which the value of property or service is an element” can be bumped up to a Class C Felony. The Court ultimately decided that these two subparagraphs are in contradiction of each other. In addition, the Court stated that the definition of stealing in 570.030.1 is clear and unambiguous and that no phrase is present that would indicate that the value of property or services appropriated is an element of the offense. Therefore, the Court decided that Bazell’s offenses must be classified as misdemeanors.
The law however is going to change January 1, 2017 wherein the revisions of the criminal code will resolve this issue with the definition of stealing. But if you are within the timeframe of 2002 but before 2017, there may be some reprieve. If you’re charged with a theft case, it should not be taken lightly. As with many theft cases, the evidence tends to favor the State’s position, the evidence is usually extensive, and the resultant criminal charges. That is why having the right representation is critical to the entire process of a criminal case. If you want successful representation, the attorney you choose must be one that is familiar and practices in court on a regular basis. If you have been charged with a felony theft case recently, you should contact The Law Offices of John M. Lynch in order to help deal with the recent changes handed down by the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Law Offices of John M. Lynch, LLC., provides legal services all across the country for individuals that have been charged with crimes in state and federal. Attorney John M. Lynch and his defense team have the knowledge, experience, and resources to effectively defend one charged in