n Missouri, someone commits the offense of stealing if he appropriates the property or services of another with the intent to deprive him or her thereof, which can occur either without consent or by means of deceit or coercion. Someone can also be convicted if, for the purpose of depriving the lawful owner its’ possession, they receive property knowing or believing it to be stolen. RSMo §570.030 sets forth the penalties for theft offenses committed in Missouri, for which punishment correlates with the value of the stolen goods. Generally, if the value of the property is less than $750, stealing is a Class D Misdemeanor. However, irrespective of value, stealing an animal or a catalytic converter is a Class E Felony, as is a fourth offense in under ten years. If the value of the stolen property exceeds $750, it will be treated at minimum as a Class D Felony. Stealing certain property such as firearms, livestock, credit cards, vehicles, and legal documents may be treated as a Class D Felony irrespective of value. Theft exceeding $25,000 is a Class C Felony, and if there are certain circumstances present, stealing may even be treated as a Class A or B Felony.
n Missouri, it is a crime to knowingly damage the property of another, or to damage their own property for the purpose of defrauding an insurer. As with the theft of property, the penalties for criminal damage to property are enhanced in accord with the value of the damage costs. Generally, if the value of the property is less than $750, property damage in the second degree is treated as a Class B Misdemeanor. If someone intentionally targets and damages the property of a member of law enforcement or one of their close relatives, they could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Property damage in the first degree exceeding $750 is charged as a Class E Felony, unless law enforcement or their family was targeted, in which case it would be a Class D Felony. Irrespective of value, damage to a vehicle during an auto burglary or actual car theft is considered property damage in the first degree which is charged as a Class D Felony. Subsequent offenses of the latter offense are Class B Felony charges.
A person commits trespass in the first degree if they enter unlawfully or knowingly remains unlawfully upon real property or in a building or inhabitable structure. Despite this broad language, the legislature has recognized that someone should not be convicted of trespassing on real property unless the property is fenced in or otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders, or notice is given against trespass. Notice can be either an actual communication to the trespasser, or the posting of a “no trespassing” sign in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of potential trespassers. In Missouri, trespassing is generally prosecuted as a Class B Misdemeanor, unless the property is part of a nuclear power plant, in which case trespassing is a Class E Felony. Another distinction, as seen above, is made when the victim (of the trespass) is intentionally targeted because they are a law enforcement officer, or a close relative as defined in the statute. This type of trespassing, usually done in some form of protest or similar circumstance, is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor.
If you have been charged with a person crime in Missouri, it is important to invoke your 5th amendment rights to counsel and remain silent. If the charges result from an illegal stop or search, they may be subject to dismissal for violating the 4th amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. It is important to consult with an attorney before accepting a plea or admitting guilt in any way.