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What is “three strikes” in Missouri?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

A career criminal is someone who is not only currently convicted of a crime but who also was previously convicted of a crime. One of any court’s biggest challenges is combatting these habitual offenders by encouraging rehabilitation and reintroduction to society, and discouraging a return to criminal activity.

In an attempt to deter repeat offenders, many states have laws that target them. One such law is the three-strikes rule, and Missouri is a state that employs this technique.

What does three strikes mean?

Under the three-strikes law, people convicted of a serious crime accrue a strike. Accumulating these strikes will affect sentencing in any future criminal convictions. In Missouri, “prior and persistent offenders” are defendants who already have two convictions of three strikes crimes.

What crimes fall under the three strikes law?

Serious crimes that can create a strike on your record include:

  • KIdnapping
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Murder
  • Sex crimes
  • Violent crimes or crimes using a weapon

What penalties do defendants face under the three strikes law?

If a defendant is a “prior and persistent offender” under the three-strikes law in Missouri, the penalty is a more severe sentence. The Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission recommends a sentence increase of one or two felony classes higher than the statutorily defined felony class for the convicted crime. This means a third conviction brings longer sentences and longer mandatory jail time before parole eligibility.

Being classified as a “prior and persistent offender” in the Missouri legal system can have dire repercussions. Keeping strikes off your record is an important goal in any criminal case.